Sunday, August 30, 2009

GAME WEEK: Sunday notes

Here's a sneak peak at tomorrow's story in The Anniston Star:

When freshman DeAngelo Benton bolts out of the tunnel Saturday, the receiver will take the field just minutes later as a starter.

He is one of several Auburn players that will make their debuts when the Tigers host Louisiana Tech.

Auburn coaches know depth isn’t a strength for the 2009 team. For that reason, coach Gene Chizik made no secret about the fact that every freshman would get an opportunity to compete for immediate playing time.

Chizik is no stranger to fielding young teams. Last year at Iowa State, he played 11 freshmen and a new quarterback.

The Cyclones struggled to a 2-10 record as a result and finished the season on a 10-game losing streak.

As Chizik learned last season, dealing with the unknown freshmen bring to the table isn’t a simple adjustment.

“It’s tough. You can do all you want on the practice field, and then all of a sudden you put 90,000 out there and it changes,” Chizik said. “Conventional wisdom would say it shouldn’t, but it does.”


For more, read tomorrow's Anniston Star.

On to tonight's notes:
  • Chizik said the Tigers showed new energy during Sunday's practice. "It was a good day but the thing that stood out most was I thought they had a lot of energy and again, they were excited about it finally being game week," he said.
  • Mario Fannin said he will be Auburn's primary punt returner. He's competing against Onterio McCalebb, Terrell Zachery and Harry Adams for kick return duties.
  • Both Fannin and TE Tommy Trott have little doubt this year's offense will be successful. They understand why some are skeptical after last year -- when expectations met with a complete offensive chatastrophe -- but expect this offense to have much more success.
  • Chizik said true freshman S Daren Bates will play on Saturday. It's just a matter of how much. The first-year coach said Bates has shown enough to warrant a starting position, but didn't commit to starting him. He will, however, play and could still start.
  • Auburn will release a depth chart sometime this week.
  • Chizik also said OL Aubrey Phillips is progressing and at least going through meetings with the team. Phillips has not practiced since suffering a medical episode. Chizik said the NCAA has not ruled on whether Phillips would be eligible to play for Auburn this year, after he transferred from Florida State.

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