The highly anticipated meeting between Auburn coach Gene Chizik and DE Antonio Coleman has apparently reached an anticlimactic conclusion.
Chizik confirmed during his weekly Tuesday press conference that the two, indeed, met. They spoke mostly about Coleman’s role, which has produced zero tackles in the last two games.
Coleman, an all-SEC player before the season started, has been hampered by a wrist injury that has required a cast. He said a knee has also bothered him.
“Him and I had a great conversation the other day just about him personally, production, and things of that nature,” Chizik said. “I am really proud of him for playing through all of the issues that he has had to play through. He has had to play with that cast on his hand, and that limits what he can do with his thumb, and for a defensive lineman, that’s something you need to have.”
Neither Coleman nor Chizik went into the specifics of what they discussed. However, Coleman said he was pleased with the sit down.
“It went great. I went up and talked about the defense,” Coleman said. “He’s a very understanding guy. We sat down, had words, nothing serious. It was a great chat. I chatted with him about all the small things that caused us to lose, the things we have to correct.”
Coleman didn’t say what those “small things” were.
Chizik also defended what appears to be Coleman’s lack of production.
“He is doing what we are asking him to do within the defense,” Chizik said. “Don’t look or read into whether he had a sack or he didn’t. We have to play within the structure of the defense and that’s what we tell the guys and he is doing what we are asking him to do and he has been the ultimate teammate.”
STATUS UPDATES: CB Walt McFadden is awaiting medical examinations that will likely determine whether he will play Saturday against Kentucky.
The senior injured his right knee during his second-quarter interception during Saturday’s loss to Arkansas. He limped off the field and did not return to the game.
“I’m going to get it cleared up by Wednesday hopefully,” McFadden said. “I’m trying to run on my own, trying to do a couple of things, but I really don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Chizik said Tuesday that it might be a game time decision and “our hopes are he’ll play.”
LB Eltoro Freeman is also in the day-to-day category, but not for injury reasons. He did not travel with the team to Arkansas last week. Chizik said he stayed behind for personal reasons.
Chizik would not say if Freeman had returned to practice, only offering that the JUCO transfer is “still working through personal issues – we are.”
Freeman was not made available to the media on Tuesday.
NEW WILDCAT: Since Wildcat triggerman Kodi Burns got hurt during Auburn’s win over Ball State, the Tigers have largely gone away from the formation.
That move has surprised RB Onterio McCalebb, who often motions behind the triggerman as the option back in the backfield. He does think Auburn will return to the package against Kentucky.
McCalebb also said that if Burns couldn’t play, the Tigers would likely turn to H-back Mario Fannin.
“Mario backs him up some of the plays in the Wildcat,” McCalebb said. “This Saturday, we’re going to be at full speed. Everybody’s going to be healthy and ready to go.”
GAMETIME DECISION: Kentucky coach Rich Brooks decided he wouldn’t make an announcement on who will start at quarterback until the Wildcats first take the field against Auburn on Saturday.
Starter Mike Hartline sustained an MCL injury last week against South Carolina and will not play this week. Brooks will turn to either junior Will Fidler or true freshman Morgan Newton.
Brooks also elected against making either candidate available to the media.
“Because I don’t think they need the distraction of all the stuff that’s going on,” Brooks said to Kentucky reporters on Tuesday. “Besides, that gives you (media) guys more stuff to write about and have fun with and do your polls on who should start. This is more fun for you than if I say ‘So-and-so is starting.’ I’m giving you some cannon fodder.”