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Auburn notebook: Justin Garrett returns to practice - Dothan Eagle: Sports

Auburn notebook: Justin Garrett returns to practice

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Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2013 9:41 pm

AUBURN - After missing 12 consecutive practices with injury, Justin Garrett was back on the field practicing Thursday.

Garrett, who is expected to be the starter at the Star position in defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson’s 4-2-5 scheme, sprained his left foot during a scrimmage earlier in preseason camp and has been held out of practice as a precaution.

Thursday, just nine days before the season opener against Washington State, the 6-foot-1, 220-pound junior was back at it and “moved around well,” head coach Gus Malzahn said.

Earlier this week, Johnson talked about easing Garrett back into full-speed reps, not wanting to take any chances but understanding he needs to be game-ready.

“We’re going to err on the side of caution,” the defensive coordinator said Monday night. “We’re going to make sure he gets a full week of practice. He could have come back a day or two ago, but it’s still a little tender. Missing a few days right now, for his sake, is the best thing.

“We want to make sure when he does come back that he's full speed and there’s no threat of recurrence on that thing.”

The timeframe for Jonathan Jones’ return was not as promising.

“That’s a good question,” Malzahn said Thursday night when asked when Jones might return after breaking a bone in his foot after slipping on some wet steps last weekend. “It’ll be a while.”

 Six Tigers make coaches All-SEC preseason team: Auburn running back Tre Mason and center Reese Dismukes highlight a list of six Tigers who were voted onto the All-SEC Preseason team by the league’s coaches Thursday morning.

Mason and Dismukes were named second-teamers, as were placekicker Cody Parkey and punter Steven Clark. Tight end CJ Uzomah and defensive end Dee Ford were voted onto the third team.

Mason is coming off a sophomore season where he rushed for more than 1,000 yards, no small chore in the Tigers’ struggling offense. Mason also scored eight touchdowns.

Dismukes has been a mainstay on the Tigers’ offensive line since he arrived in 2011, starting 23 games in his first two seasons.

Parkey was 11-for-14 on field-goal attempts last season, including making nine in a row, while Clark averaged 39.8 yards per punt in 2012. In 2011, Clark was named a Ray Guy Finalist for the nation’s top punter.

Uzomah had seven catches for 136 yards and a touchdown last season, but his role is expected to increase this season, playing all over Gus Malzahn’s offense.

Ford is Auburn’s leading returning pass rusher, totaling six sacks last season. Ford, however, is expected to miss at least the first game, according to defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson, with a knee injury.

McNeal officially enrolls at West Alabama: Former Auburn safety Demetruce McNeal officially enrolled at the University of West Alabama on Thursday morning and will begin practicing with the football team this afternoon, according to the school.

McNeal was dismissed from the Auburn football team Saturday after being arrested for second-degree marijuana possession. McNeal was AU’s leading returning tackler and was entering his senior season. Now, he’ll finish his collegiate career at West Alabama.

"We are excited to be adding Demetruce to our football team," West Alabama head coach Will Hall said in a university press release. "Obviously, he has been a great player at Auburn, but the second thing is, in talking to a lot of people about him from his family, to his high school coaches and some of his coaches at Auburn, we believe he is going to be a good person here.

"He is excited about coming here and excited about becoming a UWA Tiger, becoming part of a program that has a chance to win a national championship. He understands that he will have to become us and we will not become him."

West Alabama is ranked No. 16 in the Division II preseason poll.

Six Tigers make coaches All-SEC preseason team: Auburn running back Tre Mason and center Reese Dismukes highlight a list of six Tigers who were voted onto the All-SEC Preseason team by the league’s coaches Thursday morning. Mason and Dismukes were named second-teamers, as were placekicker Cody Parkey and punter Steven Clark. Tight end CJ Uzomah and defensive end Dee Ford were voted onto the third team.

Mason is coming off a sophomore season where he rushed for more than 1,000 yards, no small chore in the Tigers’ struggling offense. Mason also scored eight touchdowns.

Dismukes has been a mainstay on the Tigers’ offensive line since he arrived in 2011, starting 23 games in his first two seasons.

Parkey was 11-for-14 on field-goal attempts last season, including making nine in a row, while Clark averaged 39.8 yards per punt in 2012. In 2011, Clark was named a Ray Guy Finalist for the nation’s top punter.

Uzomah had seven catches for 136 yards and a touchdown last season, but his role is expected to increase this season, playing all over Gus Malzahn’s offense.

Ford is Auburn’s leading returning pass rusher, totaling six sacks last season. Ford, however, is expected to miss at least the first game, according to defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson, with a knee injury.

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