Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wednesday night notes

Gene Chizik said TE Tommy Trott is making progress as Saturday draws nearer, but S Drew Cole is out.

Chizik did not say whether he expects Trott to play, but said Tuesday that true freshman TE Philip Lutzenkirchen would take on an extended role this week.

Cole appeared to injure his left ankle during the first quarter. Trott hurt his knee shortly before halftime.

Meanwhile, WR Tim Hawthorne is nearing a return to practice. Receivers coach Trooper Taylor said Hawthorne is working at specific times at practice. Hawthorne is not expected to play this week and he has not yet had contact since breaking his foot over the summer.

“Tim’s come on more in the last three or four days,” Chizik said. “We don’t know exactly where he’ll fit in the whole plan but we’re hoping to get him slowly but surely ready to play.”

Chizik described S Mike McNeil, who’s recovering from a broken leg suffered during the spring, as “kind of a work in progress still.”

PLAYING IN THE RAIN: With a looming 60 percent chance of rain forecast for Saturday night, Chizik said he didn’t mind working in the rain during practice this week.

He said it has been good to work on concentrating despite the weather.

“I think it was good that we were able to do that two days in a row – ball handling and ball security issues,” Chizik said. “Then when you’re out here and it’s raining, you’ve got to focus.”

SHARING SPOTLIGHT: After the first two games, the Auburn defense is getting adjusted to an unfamiliar feeling – getting overshadowed by the offense.

Not that the defenders are minding the feeling.

“It’s fun to watch our offense get on the field and score so many points,” CB Walt McFadden said. “It’s good to see a different defense get tired out there, because they do it to us sometimes during practice, and the second-team just be laughing at us, but it’s good to be laughing at a different defense on the other sideline.”

McFadden said he expected at least 28 points per game from the offense this year.

“I thought that was going to be enough, because just being here before, it was all about the defense,” he said. “Now, it’s not just about the defense – it’s a new and improved offense.”

NEW APPROACH: Consider LG Mike Berry among the fans of line coach Jeff Grimes’ kinder, gentler approach.

Berry said seeing the way Grimes handles in-game situations has only furthered his appreciation for the new coach.

“He’s a real positive guy. I don’t see him get down a lot and he always tells us to get our demeanor up and never let it change,” Berry said. “He evaluates the problem more I believe. He just doesn’t get on you. He helps you see what you did wrong in a positive light. He doesn’t yell at you.”

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