TUSCALOOSA — Freshman receiver Chris Black rejoined practice last week after hurting his shoulder in the preseason, but Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said no decision has been made about allowing him to play in games this year.
Black required surgery for the injury, which happened in August. When he returned to practice, he wore a black non-contact jersey.
“He’s cleared for activity, but he’s not cleared for contact,” Saban said. “He really is not cleared to play yet; he’s just out there doing drills. Maybe in another month or so, he would be cleared for contact, then we could make some decision.”
Saban said Monday that cornerback John Fulton is the only player questionable to play Saturday against Western Carolina because of injury.
“John Fulton has turf toe, a pretty good one,” he said. “And he actually finished the game with it. It really swelled up quite a bit and all that.”
Running back Eddie Lacy came out of Saturday’s loss to Texas A&M after getting hit in the head, but returned to the game.
Alabama freshman running back T.J. Yeldon has suffered a critical fumble in each of the past two games, but Saban said he has confidence in him.
“I think it comes down to the same thing — carrying the ball correctly,” he said. “In one case, he didn’t get the hand-off correctly, and in the other case, he was carrying the ball kind of low in his belly and got popped. I think the confidence should come in doing it correctly. We have every faith, trust and confidence in him that when he does it correctly, he’s not going to fumble.”
Lacy said Yeldon shouldn’t focus on the fumbles.
“It’s football,” he said. “Bad plays are going to happen. You’re going to make a lot of good plays as well. You just have to get the rest of those out of your mind.”
By James Crepea
For the TimesDaily
AUBURN — True freshman quarterback Jonathan Wallace was one of the few positives in Auburn’s 38-0 shutout loss to rival No. 5 Georgia on Saturday night. In his second career start, Wallace went 15-for-22 for 181 yards with an interception and had 11 carries for nine yards.
Auburn coach Gene Chizik said Wallace has done a good job in a “tough situation.”
“He played against a very effective defense, a very good, very aggressive defense,” Chizik said. “I’ve just got to give the kid a lot of credit, because he stands up in there, and takes some hits and makes some plays with his feet. He makes some things happen. He also missed some things that young guys miss.”
Chizik said the timing of injuries to his team has been “unique.”
“It has been a little bit unique, especially the timing of some of them. They all weren’t necessarily game-related,” Chizik said. “You had guys that were a little bit banged up, but they were trying to push through. If you take Philip (Lutzenkirchen) for instance, he was really hobbling, but trying to push through and pressing through during the season, but a Wednesday night at practice was kind of the last straw scenario. That has happened with us several different times.”
For most of the first half, Auburn had few injuries but the Tigers have suffered season-ending injuries to right tackle Avery Young (left arm), tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen (left hip). There have also been prolonged absences of defensive tackle Jeffrey Whitaker (back), cornerback Chris Davis (concussion), defensive end Dee Ford (abdominal), as well as more recent losses of tight end C.J. Uzomah (right hand), middle linebacker Jake Holland (right ankle) and quarterback Clint Moseley (left ankle).
Davis and Holland were dressed for Saturday’s game but did not play.
Chizik said Davis was not cleared until Friday and would have played only in an emergency but should be back this week. Holland is “touch and go.”
Whitaker returned after missing three games and made four tackles with half a sack, Ford returned to the starting lineup and made six tackles with a sack and Uzomah played.
Quick hits: Cornerback Joshua Holsey suffered a quad injury, which is not considered serious. Wide receiver Ricardo Louis also should be able to play after an undisclosed injury.
James Crepea, Montgomery Advertiser