Now, those wounds will sideline two of the unit’s key pieces for the season opener against Washington State. Ellis Johnson confirmed both starting left defensive end Dee Ford and cornerback Jonathan Jones won’t play when the Tigers take the field Aug. 31.
“I don’t know how long Dee is out, but he’s certainly out for an extended time,” the defensive coordinator said following the team’s practice on Monday. “Jonathan Jones had an accident off the playing field. That was a heartbreaker because he was doing such a good job and was going to see a lot of playing time. That was a critical loss to us.”
Ford was injured during Auburn’s second scrimmage of the spring, Johnson recalled.
“First series, freak thing,” he said. “Someone’s leg swung around and hit him in the side. Not real, real bad. No surgery required.”
When asked to specify what knee ligament Ford hurt, Johnson wasn’t sure.
“It’s one of those CLs,” he said. “ACL? One of those CLs.”
GARRETT STILL OUT: Hybrid safety/linebacker Justin Garrett hasn’t practiced in the last week after suffering what Johnson termed a “foot sprain.” Unlike Jones and Ford, there are no worries about him sitting out against the Cougars, though.
“We’re going to err on the side of caution,” Johnson said. “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. For our football team, it probably puts us into a herky-jerky process. 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.”
TACKLING THE TACKLE SPOT: Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said the team hasn’t settled on its starting right tackle. Patrick Miller has worked there the last few practices, but Avery Young is still in the mix as well.
“We haven’t decided anything yet,” Lashlee said, “but we think we’re getting pretty close.”