Sunday, August 28, 2011

Auburn works game situation in Sunday practice

By Charles Bennett

AUBURN – Auburn practiced Sunday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium with an emphasis on specific game situations as the Tigers head into game week for Saturday’s season-opening game with Utah State.

“Tonight we had a practice where we worked a lot of situational things,” Auburn coach Gene Chizik said following the workout. “I thought we were a little rusty on some situations where I hoped we’d be a little further along. Overall, mostly mentally, we were pretty good most of the night. We’ve just got to keep repeating all kinds of different situations that could come up during games. I think we’ve still got a lot of work to do there. I thought the effort was good tonight. Again, we’ve got so much polishing to do in this next week as we work on Utah State. Effort good, we just need to be a little bit sharper and I have no doubt we’ll be better Tuesday.”

Chizik said the work in the stadium was important to get the Tigers ready for the opener.

“We know what’s going to happen,” he said. “We’re going to go out there and there are going to be a lot of big eyes out there in the first game. We know that. We went out there today just to again go through the pre-game ritual and exactly who is going to be where and how it’s going to unfold and things of that nature and put them out there one more time. I think the comfort level, just being used to that environment, the more you can do it, the better.”

Expect freshmen to play early and often

Chizik was asked how many freshmen he thought would play in Saturday’s opener.
“I would say you’re going to be looking at somewhere around the neighborhood of 12 to 15 as a first guess,” he said. “I don’t think that would be uncommon at all.”

Linemen still out

Chizik said redshirt freshman offensive lineman Aubrey Phillips and freshman offensive lineman Ed Christian remain sidelined with injuries.
He offered nothing further regarding their status for the first game.

Utah State QB decision on hold

Like Auburn, Utah State has had a quarterback battle going during fall camp, but the Aggies don’t plan to announce a starter until they play Auburn on Saturday.

“The staff and our football are very comfortable with our quarterback situation,” said Utah State coach Gary Anderson. “Playing a quality opponent like Auburn we believe it is important to gain every advantage we can. Announcing a starting quarterback could possibly be a disadvantage for our football team.”

Utah State will start either junior college transfer Adam Kennedy or freshman Chuckie Keeton.

Kennedy, a 6-5, 218-pound junior, completed 64.8 percent of his passes for 1,767 yards, 15 touchdowns and eight interceptions, last season for San Joaquin Delta College.

Keeton, 6-2, 185 pounds, completed 61 percent of his passes for 2,389 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior at Cypress Creek High School in Houston. Keeton also rushed for 1,023 yards and 16 touchdowns.

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