Monday, August 10, 2009

Early notes from Monday

Gus Malzahn is hoping to narrow down the quarterback competition soon -- perhaps as soon as he reviews the film from Tuesday's scrimmage.

As is customary for the Auburn offensive coordinator, he didn't reveal if he's leaning in any direction. He did say that four quarterbacks -- Kodi Burns, Chris Todd, Neil Caudle and Tyrik Rollison -- are still getting equal reps.

Malzahn didn't specifically say Tuesday would eliminate a quarterback or two, but it sounded like that's his goal.

RECEIVING VOTES OF CONFIDENCE: Receivers coach Trooper Taylor said if the season started today, he would feel comfortable with two receivers.

Those two: Terrell Zachery and Darvin Adams. EDIT: Montez Billings would be the other starter.

Taylor likes the progress DeAngelo "Voodoo" Benton and Emory Blake have made, but says they still have work to do and must learn how to practice at the collegiate level. He would not say if he expects Tim Hawthorne (ankle) to be back in time for the opener against Louisiana Tech.

The other player Taylor singled out for his performance: Jay Wisner, a walk-on from Bozeman, Mont. Taylor said he caught a touchdown in practice during camp, prompting the coach to learn how to pronounce his name.

COACHING 'EM UP: The Tigers resumed their special teams drills on Monday, this time with a different person taking charge of the practice.

Gene Chizik, dressed out in bright orange shirt, shorts and hat, spent the early session of the first practice giving players one-on-one instruction with a hands-on approach. Chizik watched plays and then talked to different players. Sometimes that meant getting in their faces and yelling, as he did with long snapper Josh Harris after a bad snap. Other times it meant offering them pointers, as he did when Zac Etheridge and Eltoro Freeman were working on the punt coverage team.

Chizik wasn’t the only coach taking charge. Special teams coach Jay Boulware announced his displeasure for one punting sequence by yelling, “This isn’t a freaking pillow fight out here.”

Boulware doesn't want to talk depth-chart leaders quite yet. He said the camp is still young and he wants guys competing.

Morgan Hull missed two field goals on Monday -- including a bad miss from 45 yards that wobbled well short and right of the goal posts -- a day after Byrum made seven consecutive. With Chandler Brooks out with an injury, Byrum seems to be in control.

Reporters haven't been able to see much of practice, but from what I've seen Clinton Durst is punting much better than Ryan Shoemaker early in camp.

CHANGING PLACES: Etheridge told reporters today that D'Antoine Hood has moved from cornerback to safety.

Hood played well in his lone start last year, but has seemingly been buried on the depth chart.

The Tigers now have seven safeties, though two -- Mike McNeil and T'Sharvan Bell -- are currently out of action. Auburn only has four cornerbacks.

TUBERVILLE SITING: Former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville made his way over to Mississippi State's practice on Monday, in part to visit another former AU coach, Greg Knox.

Jackson Clarion-Ledger ace MSU reporter Kyle Veazey spoke to Tuberville shortly thereafter. Read more about it here.

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