TB Carnell Williams

2002 Statistics

Coach: Tommy Tuberville
30-19, 4 years
2002 Record: 9-4
at Southern Cal LOST 17-24
at Mississippi State WON 42-14
at Florida LOST 23-30 (OT)
at Mississippi WON 31-24
at Alabama WON 17-7
Penn State WON 13-9

2002 Final Rankings
AP-14, Coaches-16, BCS-UR

2003 Outlook

Auburn will return 22 players who started at least three 2002 games and are one of our preseason favorites in the SEC West. Even with a Citrus Bowl victory over Penn State, Tommy Tuberville's squad has pressing questions that must be answered.

Jason Campbell must continue developing behind center, and at least two members of the receiving corps must step up, a secondary stretcher and a go-to type. Defensively, the Tigers will get more pass rush up front, allowing the youthful secondary to develop as the season goes on. Every aspect of special teams must be considerably better than in 2002, especially punt and kickoff coverage. As all these marginally progress, the Tigers will get that look in their eye. Possible early losses will not affect their final destiny.

Most importantly, Auburn must stay healthy. Injuries would derail a promising season.

Finally, the Tigers must be mentally ready for the pressures of a lofty preseason ranking. The last two seasons, Tuberville has had success with underappreciated teams which fed off slights and doubts - real and perceived. This year, success will be expected, and therefore, character measured early and often. How Tuberville handles the team will determine if his perennially hot seat can cool down a notch.

Games at LSU and Georgia look winnable, and their home-opener with USC bookends their ending rivalry with 'bama. Tennessee will give them trouble, too. These problems notwithstanding, expect Auburn to live up to the hype. The Tigers will be the team to beat in a markedly different SEC Western Division. For the first time in years, the SEC East is expected to lack a dominant team, making Auburn the favorite to celebrate a conference title on the Georgia Dome floor in December. Be careful… high expectations often lead to high disappointment.

Projected 2003 record: 10-2
DE Reggie Torbor
RB Brandon Jacobs
LB Travis Williams
FS Will Herring
WR Courtney Taylor
QB - 3 DL - 4.5
RB - 5 LB - 5
WR - 4 DB - 4
OL - 5 ..

Passing: Jason Campbell, 149-94-5, 1215 yds., 11 TD's

Rushing: Ronnie Brown, 175 att., 1008 yds., 13 TD's

Receiving: Devin Aromashodu, 18 rec., 304 yds., 1 TD

Scoring: Ronnie Brown, 14 TD's, 84 pts.

Punting: Philip Yost, 1 punt, 7.0 avg.

Kicking: Philip Yost, 1-3 FG, 7-7 PAT, 10 pts.

Tackles: Dontarrious Thomas, 91 tot., 37 solo

Sacks: Karlos Dansby, 4 sacks

Interceptions: Carlos Rogers, 4 for 48 yds.

Kickoff returns: Tre Smith, 11 ret., 14.8 avg.

Punt returns: Tre Smith, 6 ret., 10.2 avg.


LB Karlos Dansby


LB LaMarcus Rowell has been suspended from the team for off-the-field issues. There is a chance he could be transferring. Dontarrious Thomas has moved over into his MLB slot.

OFFENSE: Daniel Cobb-QB, Marcel Willis-WR, Ben Nowland-C, Damon Duval-K/P, Robert Johnson-TE (NFL)
DEFENSE: Mark Brown-LB, Roderick Hood-CB, Horace Willis-CB, Tavaris Robinson-S

written by Collin Mickle

Auburn will head into 2003 with its third offensive coordinator in three years. New coordinator Hugh Nall will revamp Bobby Petrino's offense, but the main element will be the same - the running game, anchored by junior tailbacks Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown.

Williams, who suffered a broken left fibula in Auburn's Oct. 19 loss to Florida, may not be entirely healthy for Auburn's season-opener. Tiger fans and coaches need not worry, however - Brown made the most of his opportunities, finishing with 1,008 yards despite only six games as the number one rushing option.

Auburn also improved its already-excellent depth at the position with the addition of junior college tailback Brandon Jacobs, a 2001 Auburn signee who failed to qualify out of high school. Jacobs, who many services rank as the nation's top junior college player, is listed at 6-4, 257 and ran for more than 1,600 yards as a sophomore at Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College.

Finally, sophomore Tre Smith performed well when given the opportunity as a true freshman in 2002. Smith filled in for an injured Brown against Alabama and finished with 126 rushing yards against the Crimson Tide's excellent rush defense. Smith should share some time at fullback, where incumbent starter Brandon Johnson will be back for his senior year. Johnson is a physical lead blocker, but a non-factor as a runner or receiver. SPRING UPDATE: Tre Smith just won't go away. With a full stable of talented RBs on Auburns depth chart for the fall, Smith found ample carries through out the spring due to injuries and has made a strong case for serious playing time. The junior was named the spring game's MVP and has his stock has sky rocketed.

Nall, who spent his previous four seasons on the Plains coaching Auburn's offensive linemen, will have a solid, veteran group in the trenches. Auburn returns six players who started at least three games up front, headlined by versatile junior Danny Lindsey. He'll will replace All-SEC selection Ben Nowland at center. Tackles Mark Pera, a senior, and Marcus McNeill, a sophomore, are capable bookends on the weak and strong side, respectively. Senior Morenko Crittenden will be a three-year starter at strongside guard, while sophomore Troy Reddick will enter spring practice as the starter at weakside guard. All have the ability to pull when needed, and their 21 sacks-allowed total will only go lower with maturity and the mobility of QB Jason Campbell. And give these trench-workers much credit for the 2002 team's 4.7 yards per carry average.

The expected strong running game will help the continuing development of junior quarterback Jason Campbell. The former Parade All-American struggled early in his career, splitting time with veteran Daniel Cobb. However, Campbell took over the starting job for good midway through the season, leading Auburn to a 5-1 record highlighted by a Citrus Bowl defeat of then-No. 10 Penn State. Campbell is a capable athlete with a rapidly improving grasp of the offense. He is also one of the team's leaders, despite his youth. His ability to make plays with his arm and his legs helps to diversify the Auburn offense. Campbell's health will be the factor that makes a great offense outstanding.

The only real glaring question mark for the Tigers is in the receiving corps, which has a plentiful supply of youth and talent but a major lack of experience. With the departure of senior Marcel Willis, the team's leading receiver in 2002, at least one of a group of young players will be expected to make strides. Sophomores Devin Aromashadu and Ben Obamanu were inconsistent in their debut season, but will enter this season as the likely starters. Junior Silas Daniels and senior Jeris McIntyre will also see action. Look for at least one of these guys to develop into the Tiger's go-to receiver, or else. They have to be able to stretch defenses, something yet to be seen from any of them with regularity. If not able to keep secondaries honest, extra men in the box might (and will in SEC games) take the entire offense down a notch. SPRING UPDATE: Two stars in the making fans will want to keep an eye on include TE Anthony Mix and WR Courtney Watson. A part of what many experts considered the nation's top class of receivers, Taylor has been drawing nothing but praise from the coaches and media after leading the team in receptions through the first two scrimmages of spring. Judging by the number of fans crowding him for autographs during a signing session, Taylor is about to make serious strides. Sophomore WR Anthony Mix can expect to see plenty of playing time this fall even if it means moving him from his new position as tight end. Some have made references to the fact that he resembles Shannon Sharpe at TE.

Sophomore TE Cooper Wallace - an All-SEC Freshman team selection - has the physical tools to fill departed Robert Johnson's huge shoes, but is unproven (eight catches as a redshirt freshman). And will he affect the running game, if not up to Johnson's par? As far as team impact, he will be a step down, regardless. But look for him to ultimately forge his own identity at the position. He is a variable that needs to develop both aspects of the position - blocking and catching - to understand the complexities a tight end has to have mastered to not exploit his offense. A work in progress that could surprise.

The receiving corps will have to make major strides if Campbell is to continue his development and Auburn's offense is to live up to its high potential.


TB Ronnie Brown


Returning Starters in bold
QB Jason Campbell-Jr (6-4, 223) Josh Sullivan-Fr (6-4, 201)
FB Brandon Johnson-Sr (6-1, 234) Jake Slaughter-So (6-2, 240)
TB Carnell Williams-Jr (5-11, 204) Ronnie Brown-Jr (6-1, 223)
WR Ben Obomanu-So (6-1, 192) Silas Daniels-Jr (6-0, 187)
WR Devin Aromashodu-So (6-2, 196) Courtney Taylor-So (6-2, 192)
TE Cooper Wallace-So (6-4, 252) Anthony Mix-So (6-5, 234)
OT Mark Pera-Sr (6-6, 312) Steven Ross-So (6-6, 282)
OG Troy Reddick-So (6-5, 297) Jonathan Palmer-Fr (6-5, 298)
C Danny Lindsey-Jr (6-2, 300) Jeremy Ingle-Jr (6-1, 272)
OG Monreko Crittenden-Sr (6-5, 350) Thomas Anderson-Jr (6-7, 320)
OT Marcus McNeill-So (6-9, 329) Taylor Bourgeois-So (6-5, 305)
K Philip Yost-Jr (6-2, 187) John Vaughn-Fr (6-1, 175)



written by Collin Mickle

Even with an amply talented offense, defense will be Auburn's strong suit. The Tigers' D is led by linebackers Dontarrious Thomas and Karlos Dansby, who turned down chances at NFL riches to return. Thomas, a ferocious hitter, mans the weakside of the Auburn defense and contributes as a spot blitzer. Despite being slowed by injuries all 2002, Thomas finished with 84 tackles, including 10 for loss.

Dansby, the strongside 'backer, led the team in tackles for loss (13) and sacks (4) en route to All-SEC honors. Dansby also added three interceptions - proof of his overall prowess and keen senses to not be play-action(ed) or draw(n) into the wrong chase.

Parade All-American Lemarcus Rowell has the talent to be a major contributor. Rowell had 21 tackles last season despite a limited role as back-up. Alternately, Thomas could move inside and Rowell could replace him on the weakside. This position question should be settled early on in spring practice. Regardless, this speaks volumes for the entire crew's versatility, the quality that will ultimately hold this defense together.

Their front will be the SEC's measuring stick for 2003, with four returning starters, including three seniors. Noseguard Demarco McNeil is a 300-pound run-stuffer who is extremely difficult to dislodge from a gap as he garners double-teams often. DT Spencer Johnson is a two-gap player with a good motor. Junior DE Jay Ratliff also continually comes up big against the run. The most talented player on this unit is senior defensive end Reggie Torbor, a speedy edge rusher. At 6-3, 242, he is a lightning bolt off the edge. Despite playing in only 10 of Auburn's 13 games, Torbor had 7 TFLs and 3.5 sacks, as well as a team-best 12 quarterback hurries. He will have an even better 2003 as he bolsters his NFL stock by going to the next level.

Strong run-stopping will be key to helping the newbies get settled in the secondary. Team play should cut their 3.9 yards per rush-against average down.

Reggie Torbor is the only natural pass-rusher on the Auburn defensive line. Dansby and Thomas are talented blitzers, and defensive coordinator Gene Chizik is not afraid to bring a variety of creative blitz packages - 12 different players contributed to the team's total of 29 sacks. However, the talent and experience up front mandates a better performance from the DL in the pass rush department. The lack of a proven pass rush may be a persistent Achilles' heel for the Tigers, given their youth and inexperience in the secondary.

The departure of cornerbacks Roderick Hood, Horace Willis, and Rashaud Walker, along with first-team All-SEC safety Tavaris Robinson, leaves only three defensive backs with significant playing experience. Cornerback Carlos Rogers and strong safety Junior Rosegreen are certain to start. Sophomore Donnay Young is the likely choice to replace Robinson at the free safety spot, although senior reserve Roshard Gilyard is a possibility. Inexperienced sophomores Lamel Ages or Dee Durham will battle in the spring for the remaining cornerback job. SPRING UPDATE: The biggest jump may have come from redshirt freshman Will Herring who was named defensive MVP in Auburn's spring game. Will is still making the adjustment to defensive back after playing QB in high school. Coaches were aware of his potential, but after seeing him get some much needed reps, it appears they are extremely positive about his progress.

Irregardless, the DBs will have their hands full. Opposing offensive coordinators will conclusively draw up attacks designed to exploit their inexperience (especially as a group). Look for Southern Cal and Georgia Tech to do this as both attempt to establish their passing games before conference play. Tested early, this group will take lumps but learn in time to be effective for SEC foes, a must.


LB Dontarrious Thomas


Returning Starters in bold
DE Jay Ratliff-Jr (6-5, 262) Bret Eddins-Jr (6-5, 261)
NG DeMarco McNeil-Sr (6-2, 300) Wayne Dickens-So (6-2, 290)
DT Spencer Johnson-Sr (6-3, 289) Dexter Murphy-Sr (6-2, 280)
DE Reggie Torbor-Sr (6-3, 242) Kyle Derozan-Fr (6-3, 242)
LB Karlos Dansby-Sr (6-5, 235) Mayo Sowell-Jr (6-1, 228)
LB Dontarrious Thomas-Sr (6-4, 238) Kevis Burnam-So (6-2, 246)
LB Travis Williams-So (6-1, 209) Derrick Graves-Jr (6-1, 206)
CB Lamel Ages-Jr (5-9, 187) Dee Durham-So (5-11, 193)
CB Carlos Rogers-Jr (6-1, 191) Montavis Pitts-Fr (6-1, 190)
S Donnay Young-So (6-0, 198) Will Herring-Fr (6-4, 207)
S Junior Rosegreen-Jr (6-0, 185) Roshard Gilyard-Sr (5-10, 208)
P Michael Gibson-Fr (6-1, 205) Philip Yost-Jr (6-2, 187)




Kicker/punter Damon Duval, the first player ever named first-team All-SEC at two positions, has a replacement at both positions in junior Philip Yost. Yost was less than spectacular - 1-3 FGAs, one punt for seven yards - in limited 2002 duty. Yost will have to make major strides if Auburn is to live up to high expectations in 2003. Look for sophomore Michael Gibson to push for playing time by season's start.

The Tigers struggled in special teams coverage as well, allowing opponents an average of 13 yards per punt return to cancel a quality 42.0 yards per punt average. The return game was a bit better. Tre Smith split both return jobs with the departed Roderick Hood, but Smith is not guaranteed the job. Depth in recruiting will allow special teams development in all areas, (eventually) providing a difference-making level of play that is sorely needed.


Highly touted LB Lemarcus Rowell has been suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules.

JUCO transfer Brandon Jacobs performed as well as expected during the spring game, rushing for 119 yards on 25 carries. He seemed to have the most remarkable numbers of all the backs this spring and may be considered the #1 guy. With an impressive spring game, Tre Smith sent a message to Auburn coaches that he must be involved. He may not be the best runner of the four (RBs), but he certainly is the most balanced, which might earn him some time as a slot receiver this season… Incoming freshman OL King Dunlap is a heck of a prospect who could work his way into the 2-deep when he arrives this fall. Same can be said about FB Rudy Taylor and TE Kenny Williams. Williams was a three-year at TE and led his team in receiving all three years. He is an attraction at 6'7" but will need to beef up a bit to effectively fill the role of an Auburn TE. He'll be a good one though!

Incoming freshman DE Stanley McClover will challenge for playing time this fall and will likely end up second on the depth chart behind Torbor. He is 6'4", 255 lbs and can bench press over 400 lbs. What makes him more of a promise to play is his work ethic. He arrived on campus early to get further acquainted with teammates and coaches, all while lifting weights and building strength for his freshman campaign… Along with Will Herring, redshirt freshman companion Karibi Dede has shown strides of significance in the secondary. Defensive coaches are hoping CB David Irons qualifies and will be eligible to play come August. Irons originally signed with the Tigers, but did not make the grade, so he went the junior college route. If he does rejoin the team, Gene Chizik is confident he can earn a starting spot. He is quick, covers well, and can hit.

Tuberville said this spring that he is looking for consistency in the kicking game. He may have it in freshman PK John Vaughn. Vaughn only missed 5 FGs in his high school career, and ranks fourth all-time in FGs made (39). He will give Phillip Yost a serious push for the starting spot. Yost looks the part to handle punts this year, which may give the nod to Vaughn at kicker, knowing how displeased Tuberville was at Duval's performances in both spots last season.