Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Players report

Guess what: The players are excited for practice to start. Apparently they're excited about the new coaching staff. Hard to believe, I know.

That's what you get when veterans are made available the day before practice opens. They have already talked to you all summer about the important things and you have already asked them all the pre-two-a-days questions you have. Good times.

As you might imagine, not a whole lot came out of Tuesday's reporting day. Here's what you should know:

  • Gene Chizik confirmed that OL Aubrey Phillips would participate in practice tomorrow. Though Phillips never signed with Auburn, he is with the program. He has not gotten a waiver yet, but still cold. Chizik offered no clarity on the situation. To be fair, he probably has no way to know whether or not the NCAA will give Phillips the waiver until it rules.
  • JUCO transfer Demond Washington was cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse. Washington will play cornerback. AuburnSports.com reported that S Daren Bates should be cleared by the end of the week.
  • Chizik said every veteran reported on time. Here's an almost-complete list of the players made available to the media on Tuesday: QB Neil Caudle, RB Ben Tate, WR Terrell Zachery and Tommy Trott, OLs Andrew McCain, Ryan Pugh and Lee Ziemba, DEs Antonio Coleman and Michael Goggans, DL Jake Ricks, LBs Craig Stevens and Josh Bynes, CB Walt McFadden and S Zac Etheridge. I might be missing one or two. Is the fact that Caudle was invited and Kodi Burns and Chris Todd were not included a big deal? I don't think so, but you're welcome to draw your own conclusions.
  • The players loved two major decisions Chizik made. 1) Scheduling most of the practices in the late afternoon/evening. 2) Moving them from the intramural fields to the practice fields. The second of the two is a huge deal because the intramural fields are terrible. Since most of the questions were about how happy players were to get away from the intramural fields, I switched it up and asked Coleman what he would miss most. His response shows how unpopular the fields were.
"I hope we're still going to have that watermelon, man. That's great, man. That was probably the only thing great about the intramural fields when you walk off the field and get that watermelon. Hopefuly we'll still have that, but I don't miss too much about the intramural fields. The ants, the little ant piles. Hot, no trees, no shade. It's just great to come over here and practice at our own facility and not the intramural fields."

The watermelon to which Coleman is referring? One day in two-a-days every summer, Tommy Tuberville would bring watermelon to the field to treat the players after a practice. That's what Coleman will miss most about the field -- something that could feasibly be at the practice field.

I don't know where to go from here. Do I ask why this move didn't happen sooner or do I ask why they ever practiced on the intramural fields?
  • The most interesting quote of the day: McFadden talking about why tensions ran high last year during preseason camp. Here's what he said: "Last year they were looking for leaders. People were trying to step up in the type kinds of ways, coming at the other players and people were not accepting that. This year, the leaders we have, they have respect. Somebody can talk to them and the younger guys will listen. “Last year was kind of a battlefield in that no one wants to listen because, ‘Who are you?’ This year we’ve got, ‘OK, that’s Antonio Coleman. He’s a guy that’s proved something here so I can follow him. Maybe I can be better than him.’ That’s what we’ve got going with this team.”
I'll meet you back here tomorrow when there is actual news to report from an actual practice.

No comments: