Wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor won’t wait for him to heal
By ANDY BITTER
AUBURN, Ala. — Wide receiver DeAngelo Benton sat out Auburn’s practice Thursday, his right hand in a plaster cast and arm in a sling after jamming his fingers a day earlier.
“I don’t know how long he’s going to be out,” said Auburn head coach Gene Chizik, who didn’t go into specifics of the injury.
Benton, a 6-foot-2, 201-pound sophomore, had a temporary cast on his hand Wednesday night but switched to a more permanent one Thursday, with the pinky and ring fingers on his right hand immobilized.
“He jammed it with a football,” wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor said. “It’s going to happen. You’ve got a guy like Cam (Newton) throwing you the ball, good luck to you. That’s why we crank the JUGS machine up.”
Benton caught only six passes for 88 yards last year but was expected to be one of the leading contenders to get more playing time this year.
His timetable to return is uncertain. Taylor, however, isn’t going to wait around for him to heal up.
“We don’t have time for that,” Taylor said. “Like I told him, it’s not personal, but we’re not going to wait around. They’re not going to cancel the season.
“He feels the pressure from me. You’ve got 10 fingers. How many do you need to catch a ball? Get ready to go. I don’t have time for the injuries. I have time to coach the guys that are in there.”
Worth a shot
When the quarterbacks took the field Thursday, there was an unfamiliar player wearing an orange non-contact jersey: freshman Ryan White.
The 5-foot-10, 186-pound White, who was expected to play defensive back, will get his shot at quarterback, something the coaches promised when he signed.
“That’s where my heart is,” said White, who played quarterback at Lincoln High in Tallahassee, Fla. “I’ve been playing it my whole life. To change over from something you’ve been doing your whole life would be hard. If they ask, I’ll do it for the team.”
White worked alongside Newton and Barrett Trotter during a few quarterback drills Thursday.
Tigers get DE commitment
Auburn got its 15th commitment for 2011 when Keymiya Harrell, a defensive end from Plantersville, Ala., said he will sign with the Tigers in February.
The 6-foot-5, 235-pound Harrell chose the Tigers over Tennessee and Mississippi State. Scout.com ranks Harrell as a three-star recruit, the No. 50 defensive end in the nation. Rivals.com does not have him ranked.
Harrell made 75 tackles and nine sacks as a junior for Dallas County High, according to Scout.
He is the third defensive lineman in the class, joining end JaBrian Niles of Mobile, Ala., and tackle Angelo Blackson of Bear, Del.
Sophomore offensive lineman John Sullen said he weighs 305 pounds, down from 357 when he first reported last summer. … BothTravante Stallworth and Philip Pierre-Louis appear to be at full speed coming off ACL injuries. Stallworth injured himself last fall; Pierre-Louis last spring. Both are wearing knee braces. … Auburn moved its practice back to 8 p.m. today, hoping to avoid the heat.