Bryan Harsin and his team are back to work after a much-needed open date. Auburn (3-4, 1-3 SEC) host Arkansas (11 am CT SEC Network), hoping to stop a three-game losing skid.
The Tigers practiced last Tuesday and Wednesday with the weekend off to engage in healing and restoration. Harsin led practice on Sunday that he told reporters was a productive day. Auburn watched film on Monday morning before Harsin met with journalists in advance of the game against the Razorbacks.
Harsin discussed the value of getting a week off after playing seven consecutive games.
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“Overall, we’ll get some guys back that we didn’t have, which will be good. We’ll get those guys back in the mix, and we need that for depth,” Harsin said. “The one thing about injuries, we only look at it as the players in the game, how it impacts the game. But it really impacts practice. If a guy has to take the two reps and doesn’t have somebody to back him up and he’s getting double reps, pretty soon he fatigues, and that’s going to cause injury down the road. Getting these guys back and utilizing that bye week, I think it came at a perfect time for us because we had some guys that were banged up.”
Linebacker Owen Pappoe returned to his hometown in Atlanta after Wednesday’s practice. He posted 16 tackles against Ole Miss and became the 17th player at Auburn since 2000 with more than 200 career tackles after posting eight against Georgia. He’s one of the most active players for the Tigers, and the break came at an excellent time for him.
“Me, shoot, I’m a rehab addict,” Pappoe said. “So I’ve got people back at the crib I go see from a massage therapist to doing hyperbaric chambers, cryotherapy, different stuff, needling. Really, just everything to get back as close to 100 percent as I can. Midway through the season, nobody’s gonna be 100, for real. It’s like a race to every Saturday feeling as close as you can to 100 percent.”
Edge rusher Derick Hall has 40 tackles, 7.0 tackles for loss, 4.0 sacks, and an interception through seven games this season. He’s battled through various injuries. Getting some time to rest was necessary for Hall.
“The bye week was beneficial for us after playing seven weeks of ball,” Hall said. “Recovery was huge; we think Coach Harsin did a great job making sure this team recovers and gets back healthy, which will benefit us. Obviously coming up for us this weekend, coming off a week where we got a chance to relax and rest. I think the bye week is very beneficial.”
John Samuel Shenker passed Cooper Wallace for the all-time Auburn record for catches by a tight end after the Georgia game. His 33 catches last season set a single-season record for the Tigers. He combined relaxation with his recovery plans on the farm.
“I went out to the farm and just relaxed and didn’t have a worry which is what I advised a lot of the guys to do. Just step away, you don’t have to do a lot,” Shenker said. “Because it wears on you week by week when you do certain things and the monotony of the season. Just the trajectory of the season where it was going, if you don’t step away and try and refocus to doing things the right way.”