Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tuesday notebook: Todd 'is fine'

Chris Todd’s right shoulder is fine.

That’s what both Auburn coach Gene Chizik and offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn said Tuesday when asked about the Tigers’ starting quarterback.

Malzahn said any difference in Todd’s throws is natural at this time of the season.

“I think Chris Todd is fine,” Malzahn said. “I think any quarterback in the country, week 8, that's thrown a little bit is maybe going to be a little bit different than the first game and I think he's no different than anybody else.”

Malzahn also said Todd practiced and looked good during Tuesday’s session.

Todd has completed just 48 percent of his passes over the last two games, throwing for just 213 total yards in those games. Internet rumors questioned the status of Todd’s surgically repaired right shoulder.

NEVER AGAIN: After watching his offense’s meltdown Saturday night, Malzahn said Auburn would not have the same penalty problems it had against Kentucky.

Malzahn blamed a lack of discipline for the miscues. Auburn finished with a season-high 10 penalties during its 21-14 loss to the Wildcats.

“It's just discipline. That's all there is to it,” Malzahn said. “That starts with me. I've got to make sure that never happens again. We're going to do that. That was an undisciplined fourth quarter. We're going to do better, I'll tell you that.”

Penalties cut down a pair of promising Auburn offensive drives, including the Tigers’ final opportunity.

Auburn committed back-to-back procedure penalties after setting up for a third-and-1 late in the fourth quarter. A pair of incomplete passes from Todd effectively ended any hopes of an Auburn comeback.

“Obviously we made way too many in the fourth quarter that probably cost us the game,” Malzahn said. “We're just trying to correct that to where it will never happen again.”

SWINGING GATE: Out of a timeout on Auburn’s final drive, the Tigers lined up in a formation to run the swinging gate.

The trick play that puts all five linemen on one side of the ball has the quarterback toss the ball to a running back. The back then runs a sweep behind the linemen.

Before the play, though, Auburn was whistled for an illegal procedure. That took away the surprise element and the Tigers went to another play after the penalty created a third-and-11.

Malzahn said he was disappointed because “there’s no doubt” it would have worked.

GOING BACK: OT Lee Ziemba doesn’t need any help remembering what happened the last time Auburn played in Baton Rouge, La.

During that game, Ziemba, then a true freshman, and Chaz Ramsey were involved in a chop block that left LSU standout defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey injured.

Dorsey, who was selected fifth overall by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2008 NFL Draft, was widely considered the SEC’s best defensive player that season.

Both players involved as well as then-coaches Tommy Tuberville and line coach Hugh Nall all said the chop block resulted from a miscommunication.

Tiger Stadium isn’t exactly known for its friendly environment and Ziemba knows he can expect hostile treatment.

Still, he isn’t wary of returning to the LSU stadium.

“I don't dread it at all. I don't dread anything going to play anywhere,” Ziemba said. “But that was a good game my freshman year. I enjoyed playing there in that big stadium as a young'un. It was unfortunate what happened, but we have a good game plan and we want to go down there and show that we're a good team and show that not only can we compete, but we can beat these guys. We know we can beat these guys. So we have to go down there and go with that kind of mindset because it's true. It's not can we win. We have to go down there expecting to win.”

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