AU Football Roundup: Bell out for season

T’Sharvan Bell is out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury

Junior cornerback T’Sharvan Bell is out for the rest of the year with a knee injury he suffered in the third quarter against Georgia, head coach Gene Chizik said Sunday.

Bell, who started the first 10 games for the Tigers, will have surgery on his left knee later this week, Chizik said.

The junior went down after a 9-yard run by Georgia’s Carlton Thomas near the end of the third quarter and lay on the field as Auburn trainers attended to him.

He was helped off the field by two trainers and could not put much pressure on his left leg, then was on crutches with a brace on his knee after the game.

Bell recorded 45 tackles and intercepted two passes on the year.

“It’s big in terms of leadership,” Chizik said. “I think his game over the last three weeks has improved, no question about it, but the level of leadership that he gives, that’s probably one of the bigger hits we’re going to take on the deal.”

Chizik mentioned true freshmen Jermaine Whitehead and Robenson Therezie and redshirt freshman Jonathon Mincy as possible replacements for Bell.

Defensive coordinator Ted Roof also mentioned sophomore Ryan White as a candidate.

Whitehead has played the most extensively of the four, rotating between the nickelback and cornerback spots and tallying 23 tackles to go along with an interception returned for a touchdown.

Tigers fall in BCS

Auburn dropped four spots in the BCS rankings to No. 24 after its 45-7 loss to then-No. 15 Georgia on Saturday.

The Tigers remained in the BCS standings exclusively on their composite computer ranking — No. 21 — as they fell out of both the USA Today Coaches’ and Harris Interactive polls.

Auburn also fell out of the Associated Press top 25.

The Tigers have the worst overall record of BCS-ranked teams, but their ranking benefits from their tough schedule.

Their losses have come to No. 1 LSU, No. 6 Arkansas, No. 7 Clemson and No. 14 Georgia.

Auburn is the last of six SEC teams in the poll, after LSU, No. 3 Alabama, Arkansas, No. 12 South Carolina and Georgia.

Safety shuffle

Chizik called sophomores Ryan Smith and Demetruce McNeal “co-starters” at the safety position after Smith started his first career game Saturday.

McNeal started the first nine games for the Tigers.

“We just felt like the week before Ryan did some nice things, and it was a good opportunity for him to start the game,” Chizik said. “I think that’s a great competition there at that position.”

Smith said coaches let him know going into the bye week that he’d be the starter and “that’s all (he) needed to hear.”

McNeal said he thinks the demotion — even though he played about as much as Smith on Saturday — was about humbling him after some mistakes he’s made in the past couple of weeks.

He expects to start the rest of the year.

“I guess they wanted to try something new. They wanted to see where we were as a defense,” McNeal said. “They put him in front of me for this game, trying to see where he was and trying to see where my head was. They wanted to see if I’d play better or play worse.

“In my eyes, I had the better game.”

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