October 17, 2007

Better days ahead for Blackmon

Tray Blackmon never shies away from contact and has always prided himself on playing through pain.

That's why an innocuous ankle sprain, that kept him out of four of Auburn's first six games this season, turned into such a frustrating injury for the sophomore linebacker.

Blackmon would get treatment, have his ankle heavily wrapped, but could never quite get back to 100 percent. It wasn't the pain that stopped him. But the lack of strength in his ankle took away one of the defining parts of his game - that explosive speed and quickness that's helped him earn his hard-hitting reputation.

After missing three straight games, Blackmon was finally ready to step back into the starting lineup against Florida. But he managed just three tackles against the Gators.

"I didn't feel like myself (against Florida)," said Blackmon. "I wasn't able to go 100 percent. The things I do best are running around and hustling and getting to the ball. It took a lot away from my game."

And after the game, Blackmon's ankle was sore again, so much so that he missed the following week's game against Vanderbilt

It was a frustrating period for Blackmon who leaned on his family, friends and teammates to keep him on track.

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