Saturday, August 8, 2009

Saturday's notes after practice

Freshman offensive lineman Aubrey Phillips is out for an undetermined amount of time following a health scare on Friday.

Auburn coach Gene Chizik said after Saturday’s practice that Phillips “appears to have a non-football related episode of some things medically we’re testing through.”

Chizik confirmed that Phillips did not work with the team on Saturday. He did not provide a timetable for Phillips to return.

Phillips transferred from Florida State to Auburn after he and offensive line coach Rick Trickett had a falling out. Trickett didn’t like that Phillips reported to school weighing 30 pounds more than he did in high school.

Phillips said Thursday that he was in “pretty good shape.”

QB RACE: Chizik said Chris Todd, Kodi Burns and Neil Caudle took most of the snaps during team drills with freshman Tyrik Rollison occasionally cycling in for snaps.

That means the other freshman, Clint Moseley, has likely fallen behind in the competition.

Moseley said he hasn’t talked with Chizik or offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn yet about redshirting, but thinks it’s a viable option.

“Being realistic, I’m pretty sure I’m going to redshirt,” Moseley said. “I need to put on a lot of pounds and learn the offense and just get a year of experience under my belt.”

Malzahn has said more than once that he wants the competition whittled down to two quarterbacks as soon as possible.

Chizik said he and Malzahn are in constant communication about the situation.

“That’s an everyday discussion,” Chizik said. “So, we’re assessing them together daily.”

BENTON HURT: Freshman receiver DeAngelo "Voodoo" Benton was sporting a brace on his right hand and wrist when he met with reporters on Saturday.

Benton said he did not practice Saturday, but planned to return on Sunday. He did not say how he hurt his hand.

GETTING HAIRY: Senior cornerback Walt McFadden said on reporting day that he planned to take on a leadership role this season.

Part of that, apparently, includes convincing his fellow defensive backs to grow – or in some cases, try to grow – goatees.

McFadden got the inspiration from his brother, Bryant McFadden. Walt McFadden said the Steelers have previously done that as a bonding ritual.

Not all of the backs have been able to make it work. McFadden singled out walk-on Rodney Cofield as someone having trouble.

“He’s just got a baby face,” McFadden said. “We’re trying to get him to grow something. We just told him we’re going to have to pace him.”

Now that the defensive backs have bought in, McFadden and safety Zac Etheridge are trying to convince the rest of the defense.

So far the linebackers are following suit. The defensive linemen, though, have other ideas.

“They say they’re already big so they can’t do that,” McFadden said. “I don’t know what they’re going to do, but we’re trying to do something as a defense just to let people know we’re a team and we’re sticking together.”

Cornerbacks coach Phillip Lolley isn’t following suit either. McFadden said Lolley’s wife isn’t allowing him to grow out the goatee. Next on the list, McFadden said, is Chizik.

“We don’t know how long we can do this but we’re trying,” McFadden said.

COMING TOGETHER: Auburn practiced the entire team together in shells on Saturday.

Chizik said he and the rest of the coaching staff wanted to see some of the younger guys with the veterans. He still plans to implement both strategies over the remainder of fall camp.

“We’ll go back and forth – just whatever we feel like is the best way to assess our players and be able to give them enough reps to assess them,” Chizik said.

Chizik said he’s yet to determine whether the team would practice at in pads today.

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