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Auburn's Starting Lineup

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Auburn's Starting Lineup

Sunday, August 27, 2006

OFFENSE -- C: Joe Cope, 6-0, 272, Sr. -- Former walk-on is now a vital presence on offensive line and must stay healthy for the full season.

-- RG: Tim Duckworth, 6-4, 318, Sr. -- All-SEC first-team selection has become vocal leader of the line.

-- LG: Ben Grubbs, 6-3, 318, Sr. -- Has started every game the past two seasons and forms reliable guard tandem with Duckworth.

-- RT: Jonathan Palmer, 6-4, 321, Sr. -- After a career as a second-stringer, Palmer finally has a starting job.

-- LT: King Dunlap, 6-8, 318, Jr. -- Mammoth lineman is called "King" for a reason; he's the only non-senior on this year's line.

-- TE: Cole Bennett, 6-4, 261, Sr. -- Long overshadowed by Cooper Wallace, Bennett now has the starting job and respect of coaches.

-- WR: Courtney Taylor, 6-2, 209, Sr. -- Trying to bounce back from injury-riddled junior season; with a slew of young receivers, Auburn needs Taylor more than ever.

-- WR: Prechae Rodriguez, 6-4, 202, Jr. -- Junior-college transfer is poised for breakout season after being eased into the rotation last year.

-- QB: Brandon Cox, 6-2, 202, Jr. -- Savvy signal-caller is light years better than he was at start of 2005; don't look for repeat of last year's disastrous opener.

-- FB: Carl Stewart, 6-2, 224, Jr. -- This non-traditional fullback has bulked up and will be a good fit when Auburn uses two-back sets.

-- RB: Kenny Irons, 5-11, 200, Sr. -- Irons has earned the preseason hype; now he needs to execute a sterling season to impress NFL executives.

-- PK: John Vaughn, 6-1, 195, Sr. -- Reliable kicker from inside 40 yards, but not much farther; deserves to be remembered for more than his bad night at LSU in 2005.

DEFENSE -- NG: Josh Thompson, 6-0, 300, Jr. -- Fiery throwback player gets first crack at replacing Tommy Jackson in the middle of the line.

-- DT: Pat Sims, 6-4, 304, So. -- Could be this season's feel-good story if he keeps his attitude positive and fends off challenges from Greg Smith and Sen'Derrick Marks.

-- DE: Marquies Gunn, 6-4, 264, Sr. -- Alexander City veteran started every game last year and was among the SEC leaders in tackles for loss.

-- DE: Quentin Groves, 6-3, 254, Jr. -- Sacked quarterbacks six times in 2005, and could add to that number with Stanley McClover gone.

-- LB: Will Herring, 6-3, 221, Sr. -- Has made seamless move to linebacker after starting 36 straight games at safety.

-- LB: Karibi Dede, 6-0, 216, Sr. -- Has moved around in camp as coaches try to find right fit for depleted unit.

-- LB: Merrill Johnson, 6-0, 201, So. -- Was expected to battle Tray Blackmon, but now has the middle linebacker job, in part because of Blackmon's suspension.

-- CB: Jonathan Wilhite, 5-11, 182, Jr. -- Steady, reliable junior college transfer may have been unsung hero of last season's secondary.

-- CB: David Irons, 5-11, 188, Sr. -- Gets an extra year of eligibility from NCAA; earned his degree this summer.

-- SS: Eric Brock, 6-1, 209, Jr. -- Heavy burden is on his shoulders with the move of Herring.

-- FS: Aairon Savage, 5-11, 170, Fr. -- Redshirt freshman looks to be leading Tristan Davis in the safety battle, but this position is flexible and subject to change.

-- P: Kody Bliss, 5-10, 173, Sr. -- Among the best punters in the country, Bliss has been booming some great kicks in August camp.

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I like the Lineup.

About Dreek Smith, I think that this, from the Mobile Register, maybe an early or not complete list. CTT plainly said that Dreek Smith was ahead of P-Rod.

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