Auburn banged up at receiver

Auburn's leading receiver Emory Blake, could miss this weeks Arkansas game after getting hurt at S. Carolina

No. 15 Auburn could be without two of its leading receivers when it faces No. 10 Arkansas this week.

Head coach Gene Chizik said redshirt freshman Trovon Reed will miss his second straight game with a shoulder injury and junior Emory Blake is “day-by-day” after injuring his right ankle in the third quarter against South Carolina on Saturday.

Chizik didn’t have a definite timetable for the return of Reed, who hurt his shoulder on a punt return in the fourth quarter of the Florida Atlantic game.

Reed caught 13 passes for 91 yards in the season’s first four games, also returning eight punts for 42 yards.

Blake injured his right foot on a 2nd-and-13 pass play at the end of the third quarter Saturday, in which he was hit by a Gamecock defensive back and had his ankle rolled up underneath a defender.

Blake returned later in the game, but was not in on the Tigers’ game-winning drive and wore a boot on his foot after the game.

The junior’s streak of consecutive games with a touchdown catch ended at seven Saturday. He leads the Tigers with 19 catches for 333 yards and four touchdowns.

Chizik said players like DeAngelo Benton – who had a 15-yard reception on third down on the Tigers’ last drive – Quan Bray or Jaylon Denson could fill in for Blake if he is unable to go.

The Tigers’ head coach also said the playing status of cornerback Chris Davis – who has missed the past two games with an ankle injury – is still in doubt.

Chizik anticipated Davis could play against South Carolina, but the coach said the cornerback was not recovered enough to make the trip.

“By the time we tested him near the end of the week, there was no way he could have played,” Chizik said. “I don’t know if Chris will be ready this week or not.”

Frazier ‘getting more confidence’
Chizik said quarterback Kiehl Frazier is “getting more confidence” as he gets more playing time, but he’s not sure the freshman could run the Tigers’ whole offense if called upon at this point.

“I don’t think that he’s there, no,” Chizik said. “In our opinion, we’re going to give him the things to do that we feel like he can succeed at.  We won’t give him any more than that.”

Frazier took 10 snaps against South Carolina – the most action he’s seen this season – running nine times for 48 yards.

Chizik anticipates Frazier’s role in the offense will continue to grow, as long as he keeps showing poise and a grasp of the formations in which he’s included.

“I talked to him during the week and made it very clear, that when you get in the game, you just need to be you,” Chizik said. “Don’t be tight. Just relax and go out there and play.”

Running the ‘Cheetah’
Auburn flashed a new look on its defensive front on South Carolina’s final drive Saturday, with defensive ends Nosa Eguae and Craig Sanders playing on the interior and Corey Lemonier and LaDarius Owens playing the outside slots.

Owens said the package is called the “Cheetah.” And it’s all about speed-rushing the quarterback.

“We just put our pass rushers out there and we have a niche for what each other’s good at and we just feel off each other based on what one person does,” Owens said.

Lemonier recorded three quarterback hurries on the drive, and South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia completed 2-of-8 passes for 31 yards.

Sanders got flagged for roughing the passer, but defensive coordinator Ted Roof said you take the bad with the good.

“What we’re trying to do in pass rush situations is to get our most athletic and our speed out there,” Roof said. “I think we got good pressure with that group last night.”

Career day for Clark
Punter Steven Clark repeatedly backed the Gamecocks up against their goal line Saturday, downing five of his seven punts inside the 20.

One, in particular, caught his fancy: the one in the second quarter that safety Neiko Thorpe downed at the 1-yard line.

“I swore I hit that sucker too hard. I thought it was going to be another touchback,” Clark said. “I was just hoping that sucker would come down.

“I was trying to give (Thorpe) a big ol’ hug afterwards, because I was excited for him. But he had to get out there on defense.”

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