Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wednesday notes: Rollison's status unclear

QB Tyrik Rollison was nowhere to be seen on Auburn’s practice field or on the spring roster when the Tigers opened spring practice Wednesday.

That, coach Gene Chizik said, is not an indication that he is done with Auburn.

“He's still on our football team and he's still in school,” Chizik said. “As the end of the semester unfolds, obviously we'll know more but academically, that's the nature of our focus right now.”

Chizik said Rollison is academically eligible, but will not participate in spring practice.

Rollison created a stir in February by posting on Facebook that he was leaving Auburn. His father, Michael Kelly, told a few reporters that Rollison planned to transfer to Sam Houston State.

Reached later in the day by The Star, Kelly said he didn’t want to talk “until things blow over.” He also said, “I’ve got to talk to Ty,” and did not confirm the reports.

Auburn had not acknowledged the reports that Rollison would transfer until Wednesday.

“We're going to play it by ear,” Chizik said. “I don't pay any attention to any of the external hearsay. He's in school at Auburn, he's focusing on his academics, and that's what I know.”

OUT THE DOOR: While Rollison’s status remains unclear, five Auburn players are no longer with the program.

FB John Douglas and TE Bailey Woods elected to transfer – Woods to Georgia State and Douglas to a school to be determined. Darrell Roseman, a career reserve offensive lineman, chose to pursue his career rather than a redshirt senior season.

Walk-on H-back Jason King “is no longer on our football team,” Chizik said.

Chizik also said walk-on K Morgan Hull decided to leave the team.

INJURY UPDATE: A few players were held out or limited in practice on Wednesday.

Among them was starting G Mike Berry, who Chizik said was one of several players “somewhat limited” this spring.

Zac Etheridge, Daren Bates and Harris Gaston are the other players not expected to fully participate this spring.

Safeties Aairon Savage and Mike McNeil are also coming back from injuries, but were in white jerseys instead of the orange non-contact jerseys Wednesday.

Chizik still didn’t want to commit to them in a full-contact capacity.

“I think they fall into the category that we've got to be smart with them as we go along,” Chizik said. “To say that they were full-speed right now, I don't think that's necessarily accurate, but they've come a long way.”

ARMS RACE: Offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn is no stranger to quarterback competitions at this point in his career.

Whoever gets the starting nod at Auburn this season will be Malzahn’s fifth starter in five years as a college coach.

For that reason, Malzahn knows the timeline he wants to follow in accepting a starter.

“I told our guys, we're rotating four guys. You can't do that long,” he said. “Hopefully we'll in a short period of time be able to narrow it down to possibly three and then two.”

Malzahn said the ultimate goal is to determine a starter by the end of spring, but said he wanted to be “110 percent positive” before doing so.

Junior-college transfer Cam Newton, senior Neil Caudle, sophomore Barrett Trotter and redshirt freshman Clint Moseley are currently competing for the starting spot.

QUICK OUTS: Chizik confirmed Wednesday that Bates has moved from safety to linebacker. He said Bates’ position change is part of Auburn’s effort to get more speed on the field. Bates started all 13 games last year at safety… Anthony Gulley legally changed his name during the offseason to Anthony Morgan. He is listed on the roster as a receiver but worked at cornerback on Wednesday.

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