AUBURN, Ala. — Eight players of Auburn’s 19-member freshman class have not yet played this season, and it’s unclear whether they will continue down a path that leads to a redshirt season.
“It’s just a long season, and we’re only going into Game 4,” Auburn coach Gene Chizik said. “One play Saturday could change all of our ides.”
The eight are running back Dontae Aycock, quarterbacks Tyrik Rollison and Clint Moseley, tight end Robert Cooper, offensive linemen Andre Harris and Aubrey Phillips and defensive linemen Nosa Eguae and Jamar Travis.
The 6-foot-2, 244-pound Eguae was expected to provide depth at defensive end but has been sidelined by a foot injury for the first three games.
Of the other seven, only Rollison and Aycock seem far enough along to play this season, although that doesn’t seem likely because the Tigers are deep at their positions.
“Obviously, as far as quarterback goes, we’ve got our guy, unless there’s an injury situation,” offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn said. “We do have some depth at running back, so we’ll keep doing what we’re doing on that deal.”
Of the players still on the roster from Auburn’s 2008 recruiting class, five redshirted last year — safety T’Sharvan Bell, defensive linemen Cam Henderson and Derrick Lykes, wide receiver Philip Pierre-Louis and quarterback Barrett Trotter. Only Bell and Lykes have played this season.
Back in action?
Chizik said he hopes defensive end Antoine Carter (knee) will finally get some action this week. Carter, who spoke casually with reporters while waiting for teammate Mike Blanc to finish his interview, said he’s prepared to play Saturday against Ball State.
Carter originally injured his knee in the spring. He practiced some during the preseason but was not cleared to play in any of Auburn’s first three games.
As Blanc was being interviewed Tuesday, Carter, recording the session with his iPhone, interjected with a question of his own: “What do you think about defensive end Antoine Carter coming back this week?”
Blanc, playing along, said, “I’m just happy to have him back. I know he just be waiting to come back. Every day I’ve been talking to him, ‘Man, I can’t wait for you to get back out there.’ I want to see if he’s still got it.”
Carter, a junior, has 32 tackles in two years, with 10.5 tackles for a loss and four sacks.
Auburn forced six turnovers last week against West Virginia, the first time the Tigers have had that many in a game since playing New Mexico State in 2007.
They didn’t force more than three turnovers in any game last season.
“I think at one point because we weren’t getting turnovers, we were counting third-down stops as turnovers,” said cornerback Walt McFadden, who had an interception last Saturday.
Auburn has forced 10 turnovers this season, tied for third most in the country. The Tigers have the second best turnover margin nationally (+2.3).
Former Auburn linebacker Quentin Riggins was named as one of 12 legends who will be honored during the SEC championship game Dec. 5 in Atlanta, the conference announced Tuesday.
Riggins was a four-year letterman for the Tigers from 1986-89, winning three SEC titles. He earned second-team All-American and first-team All-SEC honors in 1988 and 1989, finishing his career with 398 tackles, fifth on Auburn’s career list.
LB Adam Herring hadn’t seen any film on Ball State as of lunchtime Tuesday, although he planned to do so later in the afternoon. As a result, his knowledge of this week’s opponent was limited when he spoke to reporters. “All I’ve heard is that David Letterman went there,” he said. … DT Blanc said he didn’t play during the first half of the season opener because he was late to practice that Tuesday. He’s started both games since.