August 16, 2006

Warren, Dodge look to be back sooner than expected

It appears that the Aggie football team dodged (no pun intended) a huge bullet yesterday, as injuries to two important defensive players appear to be less critical than had been originally reported.

\Linebackers Mark Dodge and Justin Warren were both reported to have been hurt during Tuesday's practices, with Dodge's injury feared to be the more severe of the two. After an MRI, however, it was determined that there was no structural damage to the junior college transfer's right knee and that he is expected to miss a minimal amount of playing time.

Warren's injury was less clear, but it is also expected that he will be ready for the Sept. 2 season opener against The Citadel.

The potential loss of the players expected to start at linebacker in defensive coordinator Gary Darnell's new 4-2-5 scheme rejuvinated concerns about a possible lack of depth at that position.

During his Tuesday comments, however, coach Dennis Franchione said that two players have stepped up during the first 10 practices and made a strong push for playing time.

"I think it's very clear that (Matt) Featherston and Misi Tupe are (improving)," he said. "Misi had a great interception today on the goal line. You can just see Matt take steps every practice. Every day his confidence level goes up. He's hasn't played a college football game yet. But both of those guys - you have to feel pretty good about where they are headed right now."

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