Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Chizik talks about Wednesday practice

Auburn practiced Wednesday night. Here's what Auburn coach Gene Chizik had to say following the workout:

“I thought we had a good practice tonight. Again, we went full pads and worked a good bit of us, again. Worked a little bit of Utah State, again just kind of introducing both sides of the ball. But I thought it was a productive day. I thought that the practice tempo early was a little bit slow, but we really picked it up and finished well. Overall, very productive and we’ve got to continue to get better every day, but we’re starting to narrow the reps and narrow the plan, so I think it’s going to get increasingly easy in terms of game plan and reps. Overall, a very good day.

Has Mike Dyer continued to get better physically?

“He has. He’s healthy. Again, it was at a point in camp where everybody was beat up. Again, there are several other guys who are kind of bouncing back from the same thing, just some bumps and bruises, but yeah, he’s doing well.”

Have you settled on a third tailback yet?

“You know, we’re at a lot of positions right now we’re still rotating a lot of people. One thing that we know that there are just positions on our team where we’re going to have to use a lot of people. So we’re rotating Anthony Morgan in there. Of course Onterio plays it. Michael Dyer plays it. Tre Mason in there as well. We’ve got some guys who can carry the football. Again, the challenge with the young guys is the protection and making sure they are really up on the protections and things of that nature. We’ll continue to work and we feel confident with a few different guys back there.”

You have a lot of former high school quarterbacks (10) on your team. Is there a benefit to that?

“I think so. When you talk about quarterbacks in high school, the one thing they bring to the table, they see a little more of the big picture, depending on what you’re asking them to do. But I think quarterbacks have that kind of full field vision, being able to see a lot of things. I think that again, schematically, they understand the big picture a little bit better than some guys, especially a young guy who played it in high school. So we do have quite a few guys on our team who were former quarterbacks and the thing is we like recruiting those type of guys. It’s different guys at different positions, but the reality of it is they usually have a pretty good grasp of what’s going on, even if the guy ends up being a defensive player. He understands offensively what is happening to him, so those guys, they do they bring a lot to the table.”

Is Jamar Travis starting come on?

“Well, we’re hoping he can help us. He’s still a work in progress and every day we’re trying to push him to be able to play a role with our defense. At our defensive line specifically, that inside position losing all the guys that we did, and a lot of really, really great players there as we know, that strained us a little bit defensively, so that inside defensive tackle position may be a bit of a position by committee. A guy like Jamar Travis, he’s got an opportunity in front of him. He’s gotten better, no question and he’s got to continue to work in that direction, but again he’s fighting every day for a role on our team. I’m proud of what he’s done and he has come on, but he’s got a ways to go.”

Is Jabrien Niles in position to play?

“Right now, possibly. We’re not ruling anybody out. Especially as physical as we know this league is. And as the season wears on and you get into games seven and eight and it becomes such a physically daunting task for those guys in there with all the double teams, they’ve got 600 to 700 pounds on them every snap, so we’re talking a guy who can play anywhere from 10 snaps to 50 snaps. But we’re going to have to get some guys in there who are fresh.”

How are Jeffrey Whitaker and Kenneth Carter?

“Those salty old veterans that we have who have played half a year? It matters and they are the veterans of the bunch I guess. Here’s the thing: There’s no substitution for the experience they got. Regardless how many plays they did or did not play, they played last year and they pretty much played the whole year. So just understanding the length of the season, the physicality of the game, having to spell some of our guys from last year definitely helped them. I think also from a confidence level as well.”

You got a bit thin at corner last year. More depth this year?

“We did. We got thin in the national championship game. Chris Davis went down on the opening kickoff, so your nickel and dime situations become a challenge, but we’re trying to develop a lot of young guys. There are some young guys who are coming on, but again they don’t have a lot of experience so their experience is game by game. but I think they have made some strides. Chris Davis has really come on as a corner for us. We’re expecting him to play well. He got a lot of experience last year. he has really had a great camp. He has worked extremely hard to be better at this trade. Of course T-Bell, we saw him come on last year and he certainly has not arrived but he has certainly made a lot of strides at that position and knowing we can move him into some nickel and dime situations as well. But the fact of the matter is there are a bunch of freshmen that are going to have to help us out there, so they’re working to get better every day as well, but they’re going to have to play.”

How is Jonathan Mincy coming along?

“Too much inconsistency. There are times where he plays OK. There are times where he plays like a freshman. So he has certainly done some things that look like that’s the way they ought to be done within the structure of the defense and other times he’s out of position and things of that nature. But he’s got to continue to grow up and he’s got to continue to work.”

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