Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Moseley ready for backup role

By Charles Bennett

AUBURN – Auburn quarterback Clint Moseley said he has bounced back from the disappointment of losing the starting job to Barrett Trotter.

Moseley was involved in a battle with Trotter that lasted all through spring and most of fall camp before the Tigers named Trotter the starter on Aug. 18.

“I was just kind of blank for two days,” Moseley said. “I wouldn’t say I was upset or mad. I was just like … here. I didn’t know what to think. I couldn’t grasp anything. I was just really confused, really just blank.”

Moseley said he eventually accepted the decision and is now trying “to be the best backup in America.”

He and Trotter, who have been best friends, are on good terms again.

“Our relationship was real tough for two days,” Moseley said. “Because what do you say to me if you’re Barrett? He didn’t know what to say? I called up Barrett, told him I’d accept it. He is my best friend no matter what. We’re great. Nothing’s really changed … off the field.”

More situations work

Auburn practiced Wednesday night in preparation for Saturday’s season-opener against Utah State, and coach Gene Chizik liked what he saw.

“I thought tonight was a really crisp practice,” Chizik said. “There was a lot of high energy as you would expect getting close to game time. We worked a lot of situations, which we’ve been spending a lot of time on lately. But overall, focus was really good. And I think we’re getting close to being ready to play.”

Niles won’t play

Auburn defensive line coach Mike Pelton says the Tigers will rotate a lot of players up front in Saturday’s opener, but freshman Jabrien Niles won’t be one of them.
Pelton didn’t give a specific reason, but stated that Niles won’t dress for Saturday’s game.

“Right now, Jabrien Niles is not on our dress squad,” Pelton said. “He’s not dressing for this game. Coach Chizik hasn’t decided what we’re going to do with him yet, but right now he’s not in our rotation. Jabrien is a great kid. He’s going to be a good player at auburn. I saw some great things from him this fall, but right now he’s just not ready to get in there.”

First and second is clear

After ongoing battles at different positions, offensive line coach Jeff Grimes said he’s satisfied he’ll have his best five players on the field on Saturday

“There was enough separation that we didn't have to flip a coin for it,” he said.
“The five guys who earned that job earned them. The five guys who are starting clearly deserve to be our five starters right now. That doesn't mean it can't change at some point. I've been in a lot of seasons where a guy isn't performing well and another guy, maybe a young guy, comes on and beats the guy out and starts Game 4 or Game 5. That could still happen. At this point, I feel very confident that we've got the right five on the field.”

Grimes said Blake Burgess, who lost the starting center job to Reese Dismukes, will be first off the bench at the three interior line positions.

“He'd probably be the first guy in the game right now,” Grimes said.
“That's an important role. It takes a special type of person to be able
to do more than one thing like that. He's smart enough conscientious
enough and reliable enough that I'm completely confident in him
handling that.”

About openers

Auburn is riding a 15-game-winning streak heading into Saturday’s season-opening game against Utah State.
The Tigers are 91-25-2 in season-opening games. Auburn’s 91 season-opening victories is one behind Alabama’s for most in the SEC.

Attacking the WAC

Auburn is 15-0-1 against teams from the Western Athletic Conference. The Tigers have never played Utah State.

Auburn announces basketball schedule

AUBURN - Auburn announced the men's basketball schedule for the coming season, which is highlighted by participation in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Class and the Big East-SEC Challenge

Auburn has the possibility of playing 19 games against 2011 postseason tournament teams, including nine who played in the NCAA Tournament and 10 in the NIT.

The Tigers have back-to-back games against Big East Conference teams at Seton Hall in Newark’s (N.J.) Prudential Center in the Big East-SEC Challenge on Dec. 2 and vs. South Florida in Auburn Arena on Dec. 14.

Auburn closes out its non-conference schedule on Jan. 4 at Florida State, a NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 participant last season that Auburn defeated 65-60 in Auburn Arena.

Auburn will play seven 2011 postseason opponents at Auburn Arena against NCAA teams Kentucky on Jan. 11 and Georgia on Feb. 1 and NIT teams in McNeese State in the season opener on Nov. 11, Alabama on Feb. 7, Mississippi State on Feb. 18, Ole Miss on Jan. 14 and Bethune-Cookman on Jan. 2.

“Like I said last year, you have to build your schedule to where you think your team or program is in its building stage,” said Auburn coach Tony Barbee. “Obviously last year, we had some contests against some higher quality teams but not an abundance of them. This year, I think you see the natural progression of the team which leads to the natural progression of the schedule. We have a renewed series with Florida State that we start down there. They are a team that should have been in last year’s Final Four, a team that was a Sweet 16 team and has a lot of talented players coming back.

During a one-week span in early January, Auburn plays three straight games against 2011 NCAA Tournament teams at Florida State on Jan. 4, at Vanderbilt in the SEC opener on Jan. 7 and vs. Kentucky in the Tigers’ league home opener on Jan. 11.

Auburn’s other road games against last season’s NCAA Tournament teams are Tennessee on Jan. 28 and Florida on Feb. 21 while the Tigers have the possibility of playing NCAA teams Xavier, Kansas State and Clemson and NIT teams Long Beach State and UTEP in the three-game Diamond Head Classic Dec. 22-25 that is televised by ESPN2 and ESPNU. Auburn also plays at NIT teams in Alabama on Feb. 29 and Ole Miss on Feb. 11.

“I’m excited about the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii with an outstanding field of multiple NCAA Tournament teams in the field with Clemson, Xavier and Kansas State,” said Barbee. “You are talking multiple NCAA Tournament teams which is something we aspire to be. To get there, you have to play teams like that so you know where you stand and hopefully come out on top in more than your fair share of them.”

Auburn plays its first four games at home beginning with McNeese State in the season opener on Nov. 11. After the SEC opener at Vanderbilt, the Tigers play three of four games at home in Kentucky, Ole Miss, at LSU and South Carolina.

Auburn is then on the road for three of the next four beginning at Arkansas on Jan. 25, at Tennessee, Georgia and at Mississippi State. The Tigers finish the season alternating home and away games vs. Alabama, at Ole Miss, vs. Mississippi State, at Florida, vs. Arkansas, at Alabama and vs. LSU on CBS in the regular season finale on March 3.

The SEC Tournament is in the New Orleans (La.) Arena March 8-11. At least 21 of Auburn’s game will be televised.

2011-12 AUBURN BASKETBALL SCHEDULE (all times Central)

Nov. 11 McNeese State, 7 pm

Nov. 14 Kennesaw State, 7 pm

Nov. 25 Nicholls State, 7 pm

Nov. 28 Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 7 pm

Dec. 2 (1) at Seton Hall (ESPNU), 8 pm

Dec. 14 South Florida, 8 pm

Dec. 17 North Florida, 7 pm

Dec. 19 Florida A&M, 7 pm

Dec. 22 (2) at Hawaii (ESPNU), tba

Dec. 23 (2) Xavier/Long Beach State (ESPN2/ESPNU), 11 pm/1:30 am

Dec. 25 (2) Kansas State/Clemson/UTEP/Southern Illinois (ESPN2/ESPNU), tba

Dec. 30 Georgia Southern, 7 pm

Jan. 2 Bethune-Cookman, 7 pm

Jan. 4 at Florida State, 6 pm

Jan. 7 at Vanderbilt (SECN), 12:30 pm

Jan. 11 Kentucky (SECN), 7 pm

Jan. 14 Ole Miss (SECN), 12:30 pm

Jan. 17 at LSU (ESPNU), 6 pm

Jan. 21 South Carolina (SECN), 12:30 pm

Jan. 25 at Arkansas (CSS), 8 pm

Jan. 28 at Tennessee (ESPN2), tba

Feb. 1 Georgia (SECN), 7 pm

Feb. 4 at Mississippi State (SECN), 3 pm

Feb. 7 Alabama (ESPNU), 8 pm

Feb. 11 at Ole Miss (FSN), 6 pm

Feb. 18 Mississippi State (FSN), 7 pm

Feb. 21 at Florida (ESPNU), 6 pm

Feb. 25 Arkansas (SECN), 3 pm

Feb. 29 at Alabama (SECN), 7 pm

Mar. 3 LSU (CBS), 1 pm

Mar. 8-11 (3) SEC Tournament (SEC Net/ABC), tba

(1) Big East-SEC Challenge (Newark, NJ – Prudential Center)

(2) Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu, HI – Stan Sheriff Center)

(3) SEC Tournament (New Orleans, LA – New Orleans Arena)

* All Times Central

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Malzahn says offense ready for opener

AUBURN - Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn met with the media following Tuesday night's practice. Here's what he had to say:

How is the offense heading into the opening game?

“It’s been good since we narrowed some things down, started game planning, started getting specific about personnel on certain plays, certain personnel groups. So it has been good."

How much does it help to get the depth chart out there?

“We’ve pretty much known for a awhile about a certain depth chart, but we’re very specific with personnel by formations and things like that. Anytime you start preparing for the first game and narrowing things down it definitely helps. The unique thing about a first game is you’ve got to be ready to make adjustments because you think you have an idea of what you’re going to get, but until you actually get there, usually well into the first quarter, you’ve got to be able to adjust too.”

Talk about Tre Mason as the third tailback

“Well, he made some plays with the ball in his hands early on. Showed that he does have some speed and can make people miss in open spaces. He’s been fairly tough too, for a true freshman. He’ll have a chance to help us this year.”

In an 80-play game, how many times might he tote it?

“Well, he’s behind Michael Dyer and Onterrio McCalebb and those two will definitely get their carries, so it’s hard to say.”

Would you like to see the carries between Dyer and Mccalebb carries even out?

“Well, it just depends on what the defense is giving us and what week it is. The thing about McCalebb, we’ve tried to make him more of an every down back and he has gotten better in every aspect and he’s a veteran guy. He’s got two years under his belt. At the same time, we’re going to ask Mike to do some more things too.”

Those are two of the more veteran guys on the offense. How comfortable are you going into the season with those two backs?

“I think as the offensive coordinator you’re comfiortable with the guys you have information on, that you know how they’re going to react, whether good, bad or inbetween. Those two running backs, Philip Lutzenkirchen, Brandon Moseley, those type guys we know what we’re going to get. So that’s the comfort. The anxiety you have as offensive coordinator is we think we have an idea about the other guys but until you get into those certain situations to know how they’re going to react, that’s the question that’s going through my mind right now.”

How are the running backs coming along as receivers? Progress?

“I think Onterio did, and Michael Dyer, we made a conscious effort in the spring to get better at throwing him the football too. Tre Mason has good hands and then you can throw Gully (Morgan) in there. He catches the football too.”

Tough to watch A.J. Greene with the ankle?

“He’s not 100 percent but you see him getting better and better. He’s going to be a factor. There’s no doubt. We’re going to need his help before the year is out. He’s got three games starting experience too and we felt like he played well in those three games. So he’s one of those guys who is right there. If needed he can be called upon.”

How is Barrett handling game week?

“Well, the first day, I think he handled it very well. He was very attentive. Barrett is a very attentive person anyway. He doesn’t change much, doesn’t get too high or too low. He’s just trying to prepare himself for every situation, asking the questions, watching extra film, which is very comforting for me.”

How do you get young guys ready or do they just have to experience it?

“Yeah, they have to buckle up. They just have to get it done. We recruited those guys and we told them we were willing to play true freshmen, and those guys have to be ready. We’re going to throw them in there and see what happens and we’ll stick with the ones that have the right attitude and handle the right situations and try to get better. They have to be ready.”

Is the excitement level high for you?

“I’m curious how some of them are going to react, there’s no doubt.”

Blakely's appeal denied

AUBURN - Freshman running back Mike Blakely, a transfer from Florida, has had his appeal for immediate eligibility denied by the NCAA.

Auburn coach Gene Chizik said Tuesday that Blakely will redshirt and participate on the scout team.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Auburn releases depth chart

AUBURN - Auburn has released its depth chart for Saturday's season-opening game against Utah State:



14 Barrett Trotter (6-2/207/Jr./Birmingham, Ala.)

15 Clint Moseley (6-4/223/So./Leroy, Ala.)

10 Kiehl Frazier (6-2/220/Fr./Springdale, Ark.)


23 Onterio McCalebb (5-11/174/Jr./Fort Meade, Ga.)

5 Michael Dyer (5-9/210/So./Little Rock, Ark.)

21 Tre Mason (5-10/190/Fr./Lake Worth, Fla.)


43 Philip Lutzenkirchen (6-5/250/Jr./Marietta, Ga.)

11 Brandon Fulse (6-4/238/Fr./Fort Meade, Fla.)

37 Ladarious Phillips (6-0/291/RFr./Roanoke, Ala.)

Wide Receiver

80 Emory Blake (6-2/197/Jr./Austin, Texas)

3 DeAngelo Benton (6-2/203/Jr./Bastrop, La.)

Wide Receiver

9 Quindarius Carr (6-1/185/Sr./Huntsville, Ala.)

1 Trovon Reed (6-0/183/RFr./Thibodaux, La.)

4 Quan Bray (5-10/185/Fr./LaGrange, Ga.)

Wide Receiver

85 Travante Stallworth (5-9/190/Jr./Leesville, La.)

81 C.J. Uzomah (6-4/236/Fr./Suwanee, Ga.)

89 Jaylon Denson (6-3/197/Fr./Hoover, Ala.)

Left Tackle

75 Brandon Mosley (6-6/310/Sr./Jefferson, Ga.)

73 Greg Robinson (6-5/315/Fr./Thibodaux, La.)

Left Guard

79 Jared Cooper (6-4/296/Sr./Brewton, Ala.)

57 Christian Westerman (6-3/280/Fr./Chandler, Ariz.)


50 Reese Dismukes (6-3/300/Fr./Spanish Fort, Ala.)

63 Blake Burgess (6-2/285/So./Vestavia Hills, Ala.)

65 Tunde Fariyike (6-2/290/RFr./Thomaston, Ga.)

Right Guard

71 John Sullen (6-5/333/Jr./Auburn, Ala.)

60 Eric Mack (6-3/315/RFr./St. Matthews. S.C.)

Right Tackle

62 Chad Slade (6-5/308/RFr./Moody, Ala.)

77 A.J. Greene (6-5/295/Sr./Madison, Tenn.)


Left End

55 Corey Lemonier (6-4/240/So./Hialeah, Fla.)

95 Dee Ford (6-2/245/Jr./Odenville, Ala.)

10 LaDarius Owens (6-2/237/RFr./Bessemer, Ala.)

Tackle (NG)

54 Jeffrey Whitaker (6-2/312/So./Warner Robins, Ga.)

98 Angelo Blackson (6-4/325/Fr./Bear, Del.) --OR--

74 Jamar Travis (6-0/294/Jr./Brewton, Ala.)


92 Kenneth Carter (6-4/290/So./Greenville, Ala.)

96 Devaunte Sigler (6-4/275/Fr./Mobile, Ala.) --OR--

90 Gabe Wright (6-3/316/Fr./Columbus, Ga.)

Right End

94 Nosa Eguae (6-3/258/So./Mansfield, Texas)

13 Craig Sanders (6-4/260/So./Clio, Ala.)

52 Justin Delaine (6-5/238/RFr./Linden, Ala.)


35 Jonathan Evans (5-11/225/Jr./Prichard, Ala.)

26 Justin Garrett (6-1/205/Fr./Tucker, Ga.)


5 Jake Holland (6-1/235/So./Pelham, Ala.)

21 Eltoro Freeman (5-11/228/Sr./Alexander City, Ala.)


25 Daren Bates (5-11/205/Jr./Memphis, Tenn.)

58 Harris Gaston (6-2/236/So./Bessemer, Ala.)

Left Cornerback

11 Chris Davis (5-11/188/So./Birmingham, Ala.)

6 Jonathan Mincy (5-10/180/RFr./Decatur, Ga.) --OR--

27 Robernson Therezie (5-9/192/Fr./Miami, Fla.)


15 Neiko Thorpe (6-3/195/Sr./Tucker, Ga.)

14 Erique Florence (6-1/187/Fr./Valley, Ala.)

20 Drew Cole (5-11/190/Sr./Picayune, Miss.)


12 Demetruce McNeal (6-2/193/So./College Park, Ga.)

24 Ryan Smith (6-2/208/So./Cordova, Ala.) --OR--

16 Ikeem Means (6-0/205/Jr./Wetumpka, Ala.)

Right Cornerback

22 T’Sharvan Bell (6-0/185/Jr./Kissimmee, Fla.)

19 Ryan White (5-11/192/So./Tallahassee, Fla.)

28 Jonathan Rose (6-2/185/Fr./Leeds, Ala.)


22 T’Sharvan Bell (6-0/185/Jr./Kissimmee, Fla.)

3 Jermaine Whitehead (5-11/183/Fr./Greenwood, Miss.)

31 Trent Fisher (6-1/186/RFr./Nashville, Tenn.)



36 Cody Parkey (6-0/190/So./Jupiter, Fla.)

29 Chris Brooks (6-1/173/Sr./Huntsville, Ala.)


30 Steven Clark (6-5/226/So./Kansas City, Mo.)

29 Chris Brooks (6-1/173/Sr./Huntsville, Ala.)

Deep Snapper

61 Josh Harris (6-1/230/Jr./Carrollton, Ga.)

65 Jake Lembke (6-0/234/RFr./New Lenox, Ill.)


19 Ryan White (5-11/192/So./Tallahassee, Fla.)

29 Chris Brooks (6-1/173/Sr./Huntsville, Ala.)

Punt Returner

1 Trovon Reed (6-0/183/RFr./Thibodaux, La.) --OR--

4 Quan Bray (5-10/185/Fr./LaGrange, Ga.)

Kick Returner

4 Quan Bray (5-10/185/Fr./LaGrange, Ga.) &

23 Onterio McCalebb (5-11/174/Jr./Fort Meade, Ga.)

21 Tre Mason (5-10/190/Fr./Lake Worth, Fla.)

Auburn announces baseball schedule

Courtesy of Auburn sports information

AUBURN – Auburn announced its baseball schedule on Monday, and the Tigers will play a total of 32 games against teams that advanced to the 2011 NCAA Tournament during the upcoming season.

Of the 32 games against NCAA Tournament participants, 16 will come at Plainsman Park while 21 of them will be played from April 1 through May 19.

“We are anxious to get started and meet the challenge that our 2012 schedule presents,” said Auburn coach John Pawlowski. “We play 34 home games and we face schools from 10 different conferences. This will test our club and the 17 new faces that will be in an Auburn Tiger uniform this year.”

Auburn kicks off the 2012 season on Friday, Feb. 17, when it plays host to Missouri of the Big XII in a three-game series. That is the first of eight home weekend series for Auburn, which includes its tournament from March 2-4 which brings Purdue, Charleston Southern and Southern Miss to Plainsman Park.

Auburn’s other non-conference home weekend brings Belmont, the 2011 A-Sun Tournament champion, in for three games from March 9-11.

The Tigers will travel to Arizona of the Pac-12 for three games in February, playing a single game on Friday, Feb. 24 and a doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 25, with all three games being played at Hi Corbett Field, the former spring training facility of the Colorado Rockies.

The fourth annual Capital City Classic takes place on Tuesday, March 6 at 7 p.m. at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery. Auburn has won the three previous meetings with in-state rival Alabama in the non-conference matchup.

Auburn’s home SEC slate will bring LSU (March 23-25), Mississippi State (March 30-Apr. 1), two-time defending National Champion South Carolina (Apr. 20-22), Tennessee (Apr. 27-29) and 2011 national runner-up Florida (May 17-19) to Plainsman Park.

Auburn will travel to Ole Miss (March 16-18), Alabama (Apr. 6-8), Vanderbilt (Apr. 13-15), Georgia (May 4-6) and Arkansas (May 11-13) in the SEC.

Pawlowski is going into his fourth season at Auburn and has guided the program to a SEC Western Division Championship, back-to-back appearances in the SEC Tournament and a 103-75 (.579) overall record. The program’s 34 SEC wins over the last two seasons are the most over a two-year period for the program since it won 35 in 1999 and 2000, coach Hal Baird’s final two seasons at Auburn.

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.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Malzahn talks about Thursday practice

Auburn offensive coordinator spoke with the media following Thursday's practice. Here's what he had to say.

How is the progress going into game week?

“Well, we had a really attention day in practice. You can tell the urgency. Every day they can tell it’s getting closer to game week. The attitude has been good. We’re rotating the young guys in and trying to get some depth. We’re game planning half the time and half the time worrying about ourself.”

How is the offensive line coming along?

“I think pretty good. Inexperienced. We’re trying to give them a lot of different looks. We’re trying to fine tune. Coach Grimes has really been coaching in detail on the different things. First game, you’re not really sure what you’re going to get, so we’ve got to be prepared for a lot of different things. We’ve really been focused on preparation for a lot of different looks and trying to properly execute.”

Have the quarterbacks settled into their roles?

“They’ve really responded well. Barrett has really taken the leadership role. Clint Moseley is really preparing like he’s the starter too. Great attitude, really attentive. Kiehl Frazier the same way. In meetings, on the field, they’re paying attention. I’ve been very pleased with their effort mentally and physically.”
Emory was saying yesterday that he really thinks pace is going to be a weapon for you guys. Is that something he’s feeling or something you really are pushing?
“I think so. After we get an initial first down, that was been one of our positives and we’re trying to build upon that. There will be definitely times this year when we’ll need to be able to play fast.”

Do you still have a stated number of plays you want to run?

“Yeah, that won’t change. We always want to win the game or run 80. There are certain times the game dictates you can’t run 80. But that’s still our goal as far as our pace goes and number of snaps.”

What are you trying to polish up the last week or so?

“Just trying to get depth. There are going to be young guys on the field. We can’t tell you how many are going to start right now but there are going to be young guys playing. That’s my anxiety, hold onto the football, execution, penalties, the thing that happen from inexperienced teams. That’s my anxiety, but we’re working very hard to be disciplined and to overcome that.”

What's going to be the role of Ladarius Phillips?

“He’ll play some of that H-back. I think he’s improved, much improved from the spring. He’ll have a role and we’ll give him a shot and see what he can do.”

Hard to get a read on Utah State with a change in their defensive format?

“Yes, but like I said, it doesn’t make any difference. The first game of the year, you’re liable to get anything. We do know that they’re very well coached on defense. They’ve got some very good defensive coaches along with their head coach. They’ll have a plan and we’ll have to be able to adjust.”

Almost all the wideouts who played quarterback in high school, was that part of the plan?

“Me and coach Troop, when we first got here, we asked our wide receivers to do a lot of different things, and we believe if you’ve been a quarterback, you understand the game, you understand the coverages, you’re able to adjust. At the same time, we like to have other different people throw the football too. Anytime you have a versatile guy it does nothing but help our offense.”

Do you still show cut ups of (former Tulsa quarterback) Dave Johnson?

“He was very, very coachable and he was machine like in some ways. So at times we use cut ups of him just for teaching.”

Are you still kind of evolving as an offensive coordinator?

“I don’t know. I think that was the second year, so we had a pretty good foundation of what we were doing.”

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.”

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tigers start perparation for Utah State

After a two-day break, Auburn resumed practice on Tuesday. Here's what Auburn coach Gene Chizik had to say following the workout.

“Today I thought we had a good practice. Went full gear and did some good work against each other. Also worked some Utah State for the first time. So we had a good balance in there. Overall, I thought we had a good tempo today. Worked some special teams. Overall, it was a good day.”

How did the guys respond after having a couple of days off?

“It was good. Again, some of the guys were kind of nicked up, bumped and bruised, I thought they were running around a little bit better today. So I think a couple days off helped for sure, but overall there was a little extra pep in their step, so it was a good day.”

Introducing some work on the opponent make it sink in that game is approaching?

“I think it does. I think the reality sets in that, wow, we’re finally after all this three weeks of camp, I think it finally dawns on them that we’re getting ready for a game. Again, as we expected the focus was certainly there tonight. I think the reality has set in. I think a lot of the younger guys are still trying to figure out how to prepare and how the flow of practice goes now when you’re starting to zero in on an opponent. But again, they’re learning and every day we’ll get a little smoother as we go.”

Got your two-deep nailed down?

“We’re getting close. We feel really good by the weekend we will have a really good idea which direction we’re heading. We’re paring it down right now and it’s getting close.”

Did you work scout teams?

“We did.”

How is Craig Sanders coming along?

“Craig is doing really good. He’s one of those guys who just works every day. He really, really wants to be, not just a great player, but a great teammate. Whatever he can do for the team. Special teams, whatever he can do at defensive end. He’s one of those guys you never have to worry about him. He’s always out there working. And he’s gotten better. I’m really proud of the direction he’s going and I think his best days are still ahead of him.”

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Reading the tea leaves from Auburn scrimmage

By Charles Bennett

AUBURN - It is Auburn coach Gene Chizik’s preference to speak in generalities and avoid specifics when discussing his football team, particularly in the preseason.

Auburn held its final scrimmage of fall camp on Saturday, and while generalities were abundant and specifics harder to find, careful reading of the tea leaves unearthed small nuggets of information.

Chizik was asked following the scrimmage(which was closed to the public and to the media) to elaborate on the search for a third tailback to go with regulars Mike Dyer and Onterio McCalebb.

“Everybody that’s eligible to play is in the mix at tailback,” Chizik said. “So we’re counting on all of them to have a role.”

Later in the questioning, Chizik was asked specifically about freshman tailback Tre Mason

Chizik hemmed and hawed a bit before saying: “Most of the guys who we know are going to play, they didn’t get a lot of reps in the scrimmage.”

Tea leaves 1, Chizik 0.

Chizik quickly evened the score, and when it was all said and done, very little hard information about the makeup of this year’s Auburn football team was divulged, even though the Tigers clearly know more than they’re letting on about their two-deep heading into the Sept. 3 season-opener against Utah State.

On a more experienced team, the tea leaves would be easier to read, but the Tigers lost 24 seniors off last year’s national championship team, and there are 54 freshmen or redshirt freshmen on this year’s 105-man fall camp roster.

Of the players who were in the starting lineup for Auburn’s season-opening game last year against Arkansas State, tackle A.J. Greene and tailback Onterio McCalebb return on offense, while defensive back Neiko Thorpe and linebackers Daren Bates and Eltoro Freeman return on defense.

The coaches don’t offer much in the way of helping the media fill out a depth chart, and the players are instructed to follow their lead.

Jeffrey Whitaker, a projected starter at defensive tackle, was asked who stood out among the younger players on the defensive front in Saturday’s scrimmage.

In textbook coach-speak, Whitaker said: “I’d hate to single anybody out, but I think we’re going to be OK up front.”

Still the occasional tea leaves’ moment does occur.

It doesn’t exactly come as a shock, but sophomore Demetruce McNeal, who played in a backup role last season, confirmed that he’ll be a starter at one of the safety positions.

“Right now I'm in the starting role,” McNeal said, in explaining why he didn’t play in Saturday’s scrimmage. “They're trying not to get anybody hurt on the first team and focus on Utah State. They were seeing what the backups could bring to the table for the first game. We were on the sidelines and just coached them a little
bit. We're just trying to make them play better and play faster. That's what it was all about today.”

And if McNeal’s comments about freshman wide receiver Quan Bray are any indication, expect Bray to be a factor for the Tigers this season.

“What I'll say about that kid is that he's electric,” McNeal said. “He's quick. He's
fast. On the offensive side of the ball, he's great. You saw what he can do when he catches the ball. He knows where to go. His eyes are on the end zone every time he touches the ball. You saw it in the scrimmage. You saw how fast he is when he breaks out. He's hard to tackle because he's so quick. He's a great addition to the offense.”

Meanwhile, Chad Slade, a redshirt freshman offensive lineman, sounds hopeful he’ll be in the starting lineup at right tackle when the Tigers open the season.

“I’ve been working with the ones a lot,” said Slade.

Since when?

“Since the start of fall camp,” he said.

Are you a starter?

“I hope so,” Slade said.

At Auburn that’s as close to real as it gets.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Auburn back to business after naming Trotter starter

By Charles Bennett

AUBURN – A day after Auburn picked Barrett Trotter as the Tigers’ starting quarterback, ending a battle between he and Clint Moseley that began in the spring, it was business as usual at practice.

“Yeah, it has been normal,” said Auburn coach Gene Chizik following Friday’s practice. “I think it was business as usual yesterday and today.”

Trotter said he has felt a little more responsibility since being named the starter.

“I feel more responsible out there when things go wrong,” Trotter said. “I put it on my shoulders. Rather than before, maybe not so much because I wasn’t the starter or whatever the case may be. But definitely just a feeling of more determination and really readiness and preparedness that I’m going to have to have.”

Moseley was visibly upset when speaking with the media Thursday night. Trotter, who is Moseley’s best friend, said the two visited later Thursday night.

“I went to his house last night and talked to him and just hung out for a little bit,” Trotter said. “But I know he’s really disappointed. He competed hard and they kind of drug it out until the last minute, and I know that’s tough for whoever it was going to be that didn’t get the spot. So I know he’s still disappointed, but at the same time, hopefully he can come out of it and do all right.”

Meanwhile, freshman Kiehl Frazier, who was also involved in the competition, is waiting to see what his role on this year’s team will be.

“The coaches haven’t really defined my role yet,” Frazier said. “I don’t know exactly what their plans are for me this year, so I’m just going to go out
there and play every week like I’m the starter, too.”

Tigers will scrimmage today

Auburn will hold its final scrimmage of fall camp today at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

“The gist of tomorrow’s scrimmage is again just to try and get some younger guys in there, some guys we feel like still need those live reps,” Chizik said. “There’s no substitute for doing it. We’re going to scrimmage until we feel like they’ve got enough reps to continue to get better at their trade and so don’t know exactly how long it will go, but mainly it’s about trying to get some young guys some more reps.”

Chizik said the Tigers will shift their focus in practice next week to the players who are likely to play in the Sept. 3 season-opener against Utah State.

“Well, there’s no question certainly next week we’re going to start paring things down and giving the reps to the guys who need to be game ready,” Chizik said. “Again, to a certain degree we’re still looking at some guys coming down to the end here. But there also are guys who are going to be playing that we know have to help us and they’ve just got to have reps.”

Burgess getting snaps at guard

Blake Burgess, who is competing with Reese Dismukes for the starting center job, is also getting work at guard.

“That happens, even last year, we had guys that moved from guard to tackle, or we’ll have a new guy come in and so the guards have to move around,” Burgess said. “Coach (Jeff) Grimes always talks about he wants his five starters and a sixth man. And that sixth man has to be able to go in at several different positions so he can move the line around and have his best overall five up next in case somebody gets hurt.”

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Trotter, Moseley, Chizik discuss Auburn's QB decision

By Charles Bennett
AUBURN – Cam Newton’s successor as Auburn’s starting quarterback has been chosen.

It’s redshirt junior Barrett Trotter, who edged out redshirt sophomore Clint Moseley and true freshman Kiehl Frazier in a decision the Tigers elected to announce in a 3:37 p.m. Thursday press release.

Chizik, Trotter and Moseley talked with the media after Thursday evening’s practice.

“As you know, we named a starting quarterback today and it’s Barrett Trotter,” Auburn coach Gene Chizik said. “That’s a tough situation because you’ve got some guys who have worked so hard. There was quite frankly some disappointment in there as you would expect. It’s exactly what you’d expect from guys who compete so hard and want to be great at what they do. But as we really evaluated the whole process and evaluated everything we named Barrett the starter because we feel like that gives us the best chance to win. It’s a great opportunity for him, to write his own story. Again, we feel very confident in his ability to keep pour standards extremely high and win.”

Chizik said Moseley would serve as the Tigers’ backup, followed by Frazier.

“We brought each guy in and told them what our plan was,” Chizik said. “Moseley is going to be the backup. Again, it was just a tight competition. There were so many good things that both of them did. It was that tight. We really had to examine everything and evaluate all the ingredients that come down to being a quarterback in this league. We did that, and we feel really good with our decision.”

Trotter, a 6-2, 206-pound junior from Birmingham, has paid his dues. He’ll make his
first career start on Sept. 3 against Utah State with his degree already in hand.

He’s also the most experienced of Auburn’s quarterbacks, even though that experience is extremely limited. He appeared in six games last season in a reserve role, completing 6-of-9 passes for 64 yards and rushing for 68 yards and one touchdown on five carries.

Trotter said he felt relief at being named the starter after a battle that began in the spring.

He and Moseley exited the spring rated even. Frazier made it a three-way battle when he joined the team for fall practice.

“I’m definitely very excited to be the starter,” Trotter said. “It comes with a lot of responsibility, which is another role I have to take on now. I’m prepared to do that. I’m glad it’s all over. I’m glad it’s behind me and I can get ready for the season. Now my mindset has got to change from trying to win the job, to really leading this team and getting in the end zone every time we get the ball.”
The day was bittersweet for Trotter. He and Moseley are best friends.

(Read the rest of the story in Friday's Anniston Star)

Trotter will start at quarterback

(Courtesy of Auburn Sports Information)

AUBURN — Auburn junior Barrett Trotter has been named the starting quarterback for the season opener on Sept. 3 against Utah State, head coach Gene Chizik announced Thursday.

“Barrett has worked extremely hard to earn the starting quarterback job at Auburn University,” Chizik said Thursday. “I’m very proud of him for the leadership and hard work he has shown not only during camp, but also during his three years at Auburn. Barrett has a great opportunity to represent and lead this football team moving forward. Barrett understands the huge responsibility that comes with being the starting quarterback at Auburn and we are confident in his ability to lead this team.

“These decisions are extremely tough when dealing with such competitive young men who have a strong desire to excel. Clint Moseley and Kiehl Frazier worked very hard and it’s been a great competition that will make our young team better. Clint and Kiehl both have a lot of ability and will continue to improve. We look forward to watching their progress as the years go on.”

A native of Birmingham, Trotter appeared in six games as a sophomore in 2010, throwing for 64 yards on 6-of-9 passing. A two-time SEC Academic Honor Roll recipient, Trotter graduated in August 2011 with a degree in communications.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Auburn practices, Dyer's back

AUBURN – Auburn practiced Wednesday night with an emphasis on goal line situations and third and long.

“I thought we had a really good up-tempo practice tonight,” said Auburn coach Gene Chizik. “Worked a lot of third and long, worked some red zone. Got some good work in those two phases of the game. But I was really pleased with the tempo and the level of focus. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but day-by-day we’re chopping wood and getting better at some things.”

Dyer back at practice

Auburn tailback Mike Dyer was back at practice Wednesday after being out for more than a week.

“It was good to have him back,” Chizik said. “He’s got to get in shape, but he practiced hard, he ran hard. I thought he practiced well.”
Next scrimmage undetermined

Auburn may scrimmage again on Saturday, but Chizik said nothing is definite at this point.

“We’re going to wait and see exactly how Saturday will unfold, based on the health of our team,” Chizik said. “We’re starting to slowly but surely get some guys back, so that will help. Again, we’ll evaluate that as we get closer.”

H-back competition stepping up

Starting tight end/H-back Philip Lutzenkirchen says it’s been interesting watching the competition behind him, both at tight end and H-back.

“They’ve been good,” Lutzenkirchen said. “Brandon’s (Fulse) head is spinning a little bit with all the stuff we’re throwing at him. He’s done a great job. He just needs to continue to make strides if he wants to get on the field. Chris Humphries, another guy who has been working hard, has been doing well. Ladarious (Phillips) has been a little banged up, but he’s back full-go now. Hopefully, he can get caught up on what we’ve been doing.”

Lutzenkirchen said Fulse has been working behind him at tight end also.

Frazier closing the gap

Auburn freshman quarterback Kiehl Frazier says he feels confident he has closed the gap on upperclassmen Barrett Trotter and Clint Moseley, whether it’s enough to win the starting job is a different story.

“Yeah definitely,” Frazier said. “I think that comes with the territory of coming in and not really knowing and having a clean slate and being here as long as I’ve been here I think I’m definitely a lot closer to those guys than I was.

“I definitely feel more comfortable and it has definitely slowed down a lot just because instead of going out there and having to think about the checks and reads and stuff, I kind of already know it, already programmed. So I just go out there and play, so that helps.”

Back to class

Auburn defensive end Nosa Egua says the return to class has brought a welcome break to the football routine.
“I like the change-up,” he said. “The two weeks of straight football, football, football, just to go to class and study halls and all that type of stuff. Everybody’s back in town. I like the change up. But when you step inside this complex, it’s all football. There’s nothing changed about that.”

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

By Charles Bennett

AUBURN – Freshman Kiehl Frazier was considered a longshot to win the starting quarterback job at Auburn this season, but with each passing day, those odds seem to be getting shorter.

Frazier took all the snaps at quarterback during a 30-play scrimmage Tuesday morning at Jordan-Hare Stadium, and even though the focus was admittedly to look at younger players, his continued competition with upperclassmen Barrett Trotter and Clint Moseley appears to be anything but over.

Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn was asked if the Tigers’ three contenders at the quarterback position were making it a particularly tough decision.

“I think that’s fair to say,” he said. “Like I said before, that’s a good thing. We’ve got three quality quarterbacks, and they are making it tough. I just told coach (Gene) Chizik we want to be 100 percent sure like we’ve always done since we’ve been here. We understand the time table, we understand it’s getting down to the end. We need to try and make a decision as soon as we can, I’m sure.”


Walk-ons earn scholarships

AUBURN - Auburn has awarded scholarships to eight walk-on players.

The player are: center Blake Burgess, kicker Chris Brooks, safety Ikeem Means, running back Davis Hooper, H-back Chris Humphries, offensive lineman Aubrey Phillips, linebacker Ashton Richardson and wide receiver Nathan Taylor.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Chizik talks about Sunday practice

Auburn practiced Sunday evening, after a long afternoon of signing autographs at Fan Day. Here's what Auburn coach Gene Chizik had to say following the evening workout.

(Opening statement)

"It was a long day today. Obviously it was Fan Day, which was tremendous. Don’t know how many were there, but there were a bunch. It was just a great opportunity for us to engage with our fans. And as I’ve said before, we’ve got the greatest fans in the country and they came out today in the masses. It was good for our young guys to see the energy and the passion of our fans for this season, so that was a good thing.

Leading into practice tonight, I thought the energy level was extremely high. They were very focused and obviously we made some mistakes, as expected, but again, their effort and their energy was up there.

Going back to the scrimmage and just discussing that, after getting a chance to look at it, quarterback-wise there’s no separation. All of them did some nice things. Not much separation in the quarterback spot. Defensively, going back and looking at it, really proud of how hard they played. Had some turnovers, which is good. And offensively really got into a rhythm later in the scrimmage when we went with some pace stuff, and we did quite a bit of that and moved the ball well. And so, we’re making progress, there’s no question. I think special teams Saturday we made a lot of headway in identifying some young guys that will be able to play roles or at least we’re hoping they’re in the right direction of helping us in some way. So that was productive. But overall, back to tonight, good practice tonight and it was fun for our kids today at Fan Day."

Will you get it down to two before you name a starter at quarterback or just name one?

"That’s (just name one) what we’re going to do. We’re going to decide on who the starter is when it’s the right time. Again, we’re going to stay on the evaluation process as it is and when we’re ready to do that, we’ll do it."

What was the focus of tonight's practice?

"Going back and cleaning up a lot of things from Saturday was big. Still in the installation phase of putting in things. They can’t get enough reps of doing the same things over and over again, but correcting them and doing them better than the last time we executed the offense or defensive call. But again, very crisp, very energetic, high level of focus practice tonight."

How many starting spots are still open?

"A lot. There’s a lot. Again, that’s the great thing. I’m really enjoying watching our guys compete, because they know there’s still a lot of opportunities out there. And you can see the competition is really getting tight. We’ve got a lot of young guys that it’s about this point in time where they usually get a little better feel for what’s going on. And that was really evident Saturday as well."

How is Corey Lemonier progressing?

"Corey’s had a really great camp. He’s just really got a great first step and quickness. His pass rush has really kind of gone to the next level. At least he’s working in that direction. Got to continue to work on the running game with him and anchoring down that point on the run game, but very pleased with him.

Did you see how how (former Auburn golfer) Jason Dufner finished in the PGA?

“I did not. I did not. I’m not sure how he finished. I know he was leading.”

He lost in a playoff.

“That’s great. That’s a great Auburn guy right there. Good stuff.”

Are the defensive tackles hanging in there?

“I think that’s a good way to put it. I think they weathered it. There’s a lot of moving parts down there and, literally, step-by-step, I think they’ve gotten better. But there’s so much to learn down there. It’s so fast-moving, it’s so physical. The journey for them is long and tough. But once they get it, they’ll have it. And some of those young guys are really coming along.”

It there a harder position?

“No. In my opinion, defensively, no. That’s the hardest position to get a feel for. And the only way you can do it is getting down there and doing it. And all of a sudden you look at camp and you’ve been here 10 days and the physical part, you start getting beat up and you start taking on double teams. There’s a fine line between getting enough rest but making yourself available for the next practice. They’ve got a lot of life lessons from that.”

Anything new on Mike Dyer or A.J. Greene (who have been out with injury).


How about (wide receiver) Sammie Coates?

“He’s like anybody else, Mark. He’s beat up, a little banged up, but it’ll probably be a day-by-day situation. We’re keeping an eye on it and hopefully he’ll get back. Obviously the sooner, the better.”

How about Erique Florence?

“Enrique’s one of those young men that always finds a way to be around the ball. He always finds a way to be in the vicinity of the ball, whether it’s get a turnover, create a turnover, get an interception, be there for the tackle. He’s just one of those guys where he has a knack for being around. He has a great field presence and a knack for being around the football.”

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Tigers move closer on naming a starting quarterback

By Charles Bennett

AUBURN – Auburn moved a step closer to selecting a starting quarterback after the Tigers’ held their second scrimmage of fall camp Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

How much closer depends on who you ask.

Offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn said that it would please him if the decision could be made this week.

“That would be great if that's the case,” Malzahn said after Saturday’s scrimmage. “If somebody really steps up and separates himself. The challenge we have right now, and it's a really good problem for us, is we feel like we've got three guys who can play the quarterback position.”

Meanwhile, Auburn coach Gene Chizik tap-danced around deadline questions.

“No, that’s not what we’re doing,” he said. “We’re more in the mindset of when we feel like there’s a guy who has separated himself, and we believe he is the one who gives us the absolute best chance to win, then we’ll settle in on that guy.”
Could it be this week?

“I don’t know that I can say that,” he said. “I think the process will continue on the evaluation process. Again, we’ll know more after this (scrimmage).”
Both coaches are cautious about making judgments until after they’ve viewed the film.

But Malzahn’s comments that the Tigers have three who can play quarterback would indicate that freshman Kiehl Frazier has significantly closed the gap on returning players Clint Moseley and Barrett Trotter.


Chizik talks about second scrimmage

Auburn coach Gene Chizik met with the media following Saturday's second scrimmage of fall camp at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Here's what he has to say:

(Opening Statement)

“I was pleased the way it ended. I thought we ended with a lot of energy and a lot of pace today. Moreso than the first practice. It was good. Again, both sides of the ball did some good things. we’ll have a lot of things we have to work on but really I thought the energy was great. We got a great chance to work on a lot of special teams, which was good, with live contact, both our coverage units both punt and punt return, kickoff, kickoff return. Again, it was a good tempo all day long I thought. Again, we’ve got a long way to go. A lot of young guys got a lot of reps, which was great and we’ll continue to try and get better.”

Did the scrimmage move you any closer on personnel decisions"

“That’s what we’re hoping. We’re hoping this is going to give us a significant evaluation tool, to figure out where we’re going to be heading the next two weeks. Like I said, there were a lot of young guys in there today. This was their preseason game if you will, their idea of what’s happening. I think they’re learning a little bit more about how to play at this level. So we’ve still got a lot of guys with big eyes out there, but that will go away with the reps. But hopefully, this will be a great tool for us to move forward and figure out where we’re going to go next in terms of personnel.”

How many more scrimmages before the opener?

“I’m not sure yet. I know one for sure. We’ll kind of gauge it from there. In terms of health wise, we’re about where we thought we’d be in camp in terms of guys being banged up, a little beat up. But they’re really pushing through it. I’m very proud of that, especially with a lot of the coverage units that we have to work. There are a lot of long-distance collisions going on. That being said, I think we’re in good shape in terms of health beside the normal bumps and bruises.”

How were the young guys, second scrimmage to have a chance to work on some of those things?

“We’ll see. I’m not really sure. It would appear to me that there’s a little bit more of a comfort level today than the last one we had. But again, I’m more proud of their effort and they’re really trying to focus with a lot of information, especially when we go with the pace periods and everything’s moving fast and there’s a lot of moving parts in there. I’m more impressed with guys pushing through this part of camp. They’re tired, they’re beat up. But they’re really trying to push through it. The energy level and the level of focus I thought was better today.”

How about the quarterbacks?

“Like I said, we’ll know more when we watch the tape, but all three did some nice things. We’ll know more when we watch it.”

Were the reps divided evenly?

“Pretty much evenly. Across the board.”

How tough is that to kind of get things in a rhythm?

“It probably is a little more difficult when you’re trying to decide who is going to go with the first group and who is going to go with the second group. There are a lot of variables in there, as we all know. But that’s all part of the process.”

Deadline in mind on naming a starting quarterback?

“No, that’s not what we’re doing. We’re more in the mindset of when we feel like there’s a guy who has separated himself, and we believe he is the one who gives us the absolute best chance to win, then we’ll settle in on that guy.”

Do you think you’ll have enough information from this scrimmage to make that decision this week?

“I don’t know that I can say that. I think the process will continue on, the evaluation process. Again, we’ll know more after this.”

Did (running back) Mike Dyer play?

“Still banged up.”

Another chance for Tre Mason?

“Absolutely. Really proud of Tre again today. Has not arrived, but thought he did well again today, along with some of our other young backs.”

Does the quarterback decision impact the wide receiver decisions?

“Well, we’re really young at that position as well. If you look across the board, we’ve got a lot of freshmen in there, a lot of guys who just haven’t played a whole lot, even if they’re not freshmen. So what you’re looking for when you finally make that decision is that the continuity and the reps will build up with those receivers. So I’m not really sure that’s where we’re at yet. Just again because we’re very young at that position as well.”

Was (offensive tackle) A.J. Greene still out?


Your thoughts on SEC expansion and possibly adding Texas A&M?

“You know I’m really focused on Auburn football. We’ve got a great commissioner, we’ve got great AD’s, we’ve got great presidents. I’m sure they’ll do what’s best for the league. Right now, I’m worried about Auburn football.”

Friday, August 12, 2011

By Charles Bennett

AUBURN – Walk-on safety Trent Fisher says he’s not thinking about playing time as a redshirt freshman, but after the impression he’s made on Auburn’s coaching staff, he may want to start.

Fisher, the son of former Tennessee Titan’s coach Jeff Fisher, has turned heads in practice.

“You're talking about a guy who you want on your football team,” said Auburn defensive coordinator Ted Roof. “He's such an intelligent football player, he's physical. He's one of those guys who is always in the right place. And the very few times when he's not, when he's corrected, he doesn't make the same mistake twice. And as a coach, you put a lot of value and you want to coach kids like that that when you make a correction, he gets it like that. He knows it and then the next play it happens to him, you see him translate that into performance. And I'm really, really pleased with him and to have him on our team.”


After further review, Chizik weighs in on scrimmage

After the first of two scheduled practices on Friday, Auburn coach Gene Chizik met with the media and answered an assortment of questions about Wednesday's scrimmage and also about personnel.

Here's what he had to say:

(Opening statement)

"I thought we went out today and started practice off at a great, great tempo. I wish we would have maintained that same tempo near the end. I thought we dropped off just a little bit. But it was a good day overall. We had some good installations on both sides of the ball, so it got a little sloppy out there, especially for some of the young guys who are still learning. It's what we were expecting, but the effort was really good and we've got another practice tonight. So we're making some progress but we've got a long ways to go."

What did you see after looking at film of the scrimmage?

"What sticks out to me is a lot of the young guys. Not that some of the older guys didn't play well also, but when it comes to the young running backs, I thought they had a nice day. I thought Corey Grant ran the ball well, Tre Mason ran the ball well, Blakely ran the ball well. We gave them a lot of opportunities. That's what we wanted to do. We wanted to see where they were at. Erique Florence on the other side of the football, continues to make some big plays . He's learning the process of being fast back there. He had a forced fumble and is really playing aggressive. It's good to see Angelo Blackson on the defensive line, another young guy that's really coming along. He's one of those young guy who you hope surfaces not out of nowhere, but he's one of those guys who pops up and does a great job. He's really working in that direction. So we've got some young guys out there that we're really proud of."

Are you seeing more leadership out of T'Sharvan Bell?

"I don't think there's any question he's doing that. In practice, when everybody's hot and everybody's tired and the whole deal, he's really trying to be a leader and get the energy level up. I think he's made a very conscientious effort to do that."

He seems to have the perception that the coaching staff thought he was soft when he first got here.

"It's interesting how they perceive things. When you come out of high school and you change positions, particularly if you're an offensive player and you're put on the defensive side of the ball, it's a transition, because you're learning, you're thinking, when defensively what you'd like is to see ball and hit ball. It's not that easy. So sometimes you can appear to be cautious, if you will, would be a nice word. That's not necessarily so. Once you learn the game, you can play at a faster speed and be more aggressive. So that's probably more of what the case was."

No problems with his aggressiveness?

"No, he's come a long way. He has not arrived. Let's make sure we understand that. He's got a long way to go too. He's working every day. He's a smart football player. He's really trying to be a leader. He's become a better football player. It's night and day from a year ago until now."

what's the status of (injured) tackle A.J. Greene and (running back) Mike Dyer?

"Those and some other guys are just beat up right now. It's that point in camp after a week and nine practices now with full contact, they're just beat up."



Have you avoided major injuries?

"We have."

How is (running back) Anthony Morgan coming along?

"I think that we've seen flashes of him, where he can really do some nice things. We've seen a lot of instances where we wish he would really step to the plate and really run the football hard, run it downhill. He can be for us, if he'll progress and come on, he'll be good third-down back. He's got great hands. He's at 200 pounds. He can attack. He's got to know all the different blitzes that he's going to get hit with based on the protections that we're in. So he's got an opportunity to help the team, but he's got to come along and do that. Again, we've seen flashes of it, but nothing that says he's going to be the one to do it. He's got some time, but he's got to kick it up here."

How is (linebacker) Jake Holland doing?

"Jake has come on. I think Jake is one of those guys who is very focused in on being a good football player. There's no question in my mind that the more reps that he's taken, along with him playing in pretty much all the games last year, as little or as much as he did, I think all of those are building up. It's becoming apparent. And he's getting better."

Has anyone emerged at quarterback?

"No. Not yet. All three quarterbacks did some nice things this past Wednesday. And again, we're looking forward to tomorrow's scrimmage to continue the evaluation process. I don't want to say there's anything there that would separate them. We've still got a ways to go. That's not to say we have a ways to go before we have to make a choice. I'm not saying when that will be. But nothing that comes to mind that separates them."

With the first game in three weeks, is there anything keeping you up at night?

"No. I think we're right on track for where we need to be. I'll be excited about three weeks from now. But it's been a lot of fun so far."

Who is working at Wildcat quarterback?

"We'll probably have two or three guys in the mix for that. Trovon Reed will probably be one. Quan Bray will possibly be one. That's two, and there might be a third. Those are two guys who would at least be up for discussion."

Has anyone emerged at running back behind Dyer and Onterio McCalebb?

"Let me make this clear too: we have two good running backs, but they're not all they can be yet. They're not even close. I just want to be clear with that one too. They're not sitting there on the side because they've arrived. So they've got a lot of work to do too."

Talk about the new practice field.

"It's been great. The grounds crew did an unbelievable job getting the grass portion of the field ready. Facilities and construction people did just a great job of getting the indoor ready. I think the players, the coaches, everybody is becoming familiar about where we are going to be working on the fields. It's just a great facility."

What kind of progress has Jonathan Rose made?

"Jonathan Rose has a long way to go. He's got to grow up. He's got to keep working. He's got a long way to go."

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Gross, Gilmer to help coach Auburn baseball

Courtesy of Auburn Sports Information

AUBURN – Seven-year Major League Baseball veteran and 2000 All-America outfielder Gabe Gross and four-year letter winner and 2011 team captain Wes Gilmer will be undergraduate assistant coaches for the 2012 Auburn baseball season, Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski has announced.

Gross will work primarily with the Auburn outfielders while Gilmer will work with the infielders and catchers.

“We are excited to have both Gabe and Wes join our staff,” Pawlowski said. “They will certainly help us and be a positive addition to the Auburn baseball team. Our players will benefit from the experience and knowledge they have gained through their years of playing baseball.”

Gross is returning to school to earn his degree in business management after leaving in 2001 as the first round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays.

A three-year starter in the Auburn outfield, he hit .375 for his career, including .430 in his All-America campaign of 2000.

He remains in the school’s top-10 for career doubles (68, 2nd), extra-base hits (108, 3rd), walks (145, 3rd), RBIs (218, 4th), total bases (442, 5th), home runs (35, 8th) and hits (259, 9th). During his seven-year big league career, in which he played for four different teams, he hit .239 with 78 doubles, eight triples, 40 home runs and 186 RBIs. He is expected to earn his degree in August 2012.

“To have a player that has played at the highest level and been successful for an extended period of time will create instant credibility and knowledge for our players to draw from,” Pawlowski said of Gross.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"Sources say" offense got the best of defense in Auburn scrimmage

By Charles Bennett

AUBURN – Do the Auburn Tigers practice under a veil of secrecy?

Well, you’d have a hard time getting anyone to “comment” on that, but without fear of contradiction, the answer is yes.

Auburn’s practices, of course, are not open to the general public or the media. And even fairly mundane information is hard to confirm.

Auburn quarterback Barrett Trotter was asked to talk about players who had jumped out during Wednesday’ s scrimmage at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
His response?

“A lot of guys jumped out,” he said. “I’m not allowed to tell you who.”

Various internet sites reported that freshman tailback Tre Mason scored three
touchdowns in Wednesday’s scrimmage.

Mason was requested by the media for interviews. He was a no-show.

Quarterback Clint Moseley was asked if he had thrown any touchdown passes in the scrimmage.

He conferred with an Auburn sports information spokesman before saying, “no.”

The following notes from Wednesday’s scrimmage will deal with primarily what could be confirmed.

Timing is everything

Auburn scrimmaged from approximately 11 a.m. to noon. The Tigers’ first three games will kickoff at 11 a.m., 11:21 a.m. and 11 a.m.
Wednesday’s scrimmage time was not a coincidence.

“Pretty much all of our scrimmages are going to be around the 11 a.m. hour give or take,” said Auburn coach Gene Chizik. “When we got done scrimmaging, we were probably somewhere around the middle to late fourth quarter in the game, more than likely. We wanted to get used to where sun was for our returners on our return game. We wanted to get used to the heat, which our kids are already used to, but mainly the direction of the sun and some of the roles that that plays in our return game was the main reason, but we’ve got to get used to those first couple games with 11 a.m. starts.”

Many happy returns

Auburn spent a solid portion of Wednesday’s scrimmage working on the return game, using a mix of veterans and first-year players.

“We’re kind of in a good spot there simply because we have options,” Chizik said “Anytime you put a young guy in the return game you have a little bit of caution because when the lights come in front of 90,000 you don’t know what you’re going to get. We’ve got some young guys who have an opportunity to be our returners. We worked a lot of those guys today and we’ll continue to do that, but we’ve got a good mix in our return game with a couple guys who have done it and a couple guys who are pushing.”

A vote for the offense

The general consensus was that the offense outperformed the defense in Wednesday’s scrimmage

Defensive end Dee Ford confirmed it.

Ford said “offense” when asked who won the scrimmage.
“Our offense is an amazing offense,” he said, by way of explanation.

Youth movement moves on

Auburn has a rather astounding 51 freshmen on its 105-man roster. Chizik was asked Wednesday about how the “young guys” performed in Wednesday’s scrimmage.

“I’m really proud of those guys,” he said. “I’m really interested to see … you have one impression when you’re out there and you have another impression once you watch the tape. But I’m just really encouraged with a lot of our young guys. They’ve got to push through the mental part of the game right now, that’s becoming difficult for them just with new installations and getting used to the speed of the game and kind of everything being thrown at them at once. But eventually the game will slow down for a lot of these young guys. Nobody that I can say right now stands head and toes above the others but they’re all working well and I’m proud of them.”

"Won't know 'till we see the film" - competition continues for Auburn quarterback job

AUBURN – Auburn held its first scrimmage of fall practice Wednesday, and if it moved the Tigers any closer to sorting out the competition for the starting quarterback job, no one is saying.

“All of them did well today,” said Auburn coach Gene Chizik. “They did some good things, they did some bad things. Again, we’re not going to know more until we go back and evaluate it, but I thought all three of them moved the football team and again, I can’t say where this puts everybody in terms of position, but they all did some good things and obviously, they’ve all got some things they need to work on as well.”

The competition for the starting job between redshirt junior Barrett Trotter, redshirt sophomore Clint Moseley and freshman Kiehl Fraizer will likely continue for now.

All three felt positive about their performance in Wednesday’s scrimmage.

“I was pretty happy,” said Trotter. “There are always some things you can improve on. We’ve got a long way to go, but I think we’re definitely making strides in the right direction.”


Chizik talks about first scrimmage

Auburn held it's first scrimmage of fall practice Wednesday morning at Samford Stadium.

Here's what Auburn coach Gene Chizik had to say following the scrimmage.

Opening statement.

“Went a little over 70 plays, went live as from the line of scrimmage plays. Thought we did some good things today both sides of the football. Did some good things offensively, had some explosive plays. Defensively, conversely, we did some good things, forced some turnovers, which is big. But overall, great effort back and forth, got a lot of things to clean up, think there’s going to be some learning moments from that. Had an opportunity to take some live kickoff returns and some live punt returns, so got an opportunity to look at a lot of the young guys both on return units and coverage units. So I think it was a very productive day. Like I said, I think it’s overall going to be a great teaching tape, so it’s really going to be our first good evaluation with good live reps to help us move forward with what we’ve got to do.”

Was the time of day based on first three games?

“No, not at all. I’m just kidding. Yes. Pretty much all of our scrimmages are going to be around the 11 a.m. hour give or take. When we got down to scrimmaging, we were probably somewhere around the middle to late fourth quarter in the game, more than likely. We wanted to get used to where the sun was for our returners on our return game. We wanted to get used to the heat, which our kids are already used to, but mainly the direction of the sun and some of the roles that that plays in our return game was the main reason, but we’ve got to get used to those first couple games with 11 a.m. starts.”

How did the the quarterbacks look?

“All of them did well today. They did some good things, they did some bad things. Again, we’re not going to know more until we go back and evaluate it, but I thought all three of them moved the football team and again, I can’t say where this puts everybody in terms of position, but they all did some good things and obviously, they’ve all got some things they need to work on as well.”

How about the return game?

“We’re kind of in a good spot there simply because we have options. Anytime you put a young guy in the return game you have a little bit of caution because when the lights come in front of 90,000 you don’t know what you’re going to get. But your try to as accurately as you can try to figure that out. We’ve got some young guys who have an opportunity to be our returners. We worked a lot of those guys today and we’ll continue to do that, but we’ve got a good mix in our return game with a couple guys who have done it and a couple guys who are pushing.”

How did they handle the heat?

“I thought they handled it well. This is practice eightish? The last few have been in pads, very physical, so today was fast and it was physical and it was hot, which was exactly what we needed, but I think they handled it well.”

How did the young guys do?

“I’m really proud of those guys. I’m really interested to see … you have one impression when you’re out there and you have another impression once you watch the tape. But I’m just really encouraged with a lot of our young guys. They’ve got to push through the mental part of the game right now, that’s becoming difficult for them just with new installations and getting used to the speed of the game and kind of everything being thrown at them at once. But eventually the game will slow down for a lot of these young guys. Nobody that I can say right stands head and toes above the others but they’re all working well and I’m proud of them.”

How did the defensive line look?

“Again, I thought there were some good moments there today. I thought there was some good pressure from our defensive ends a couple times. Our inside guys are still a work in progress. We’ve got so many young guys there. But we’ve got a long way to go, but they did some nice things today. We’ve got to go back, refine our technique, work on it every day, and these young guys will eventually come around because they have to.”

Did the wide receivers make some plays?

“As a whole, the receiving group … again we had some explosive plays on offense. Some of them were balls they should have caught because they were open, but again, for me to say anybody is head and tails above the rest, that is simply not the case.”

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Trooper Taylor talks about evening practice

Auburn bounced back from a poor morning practice with something a little better in the evening. Wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor met with the media following the second practice. Here's what he had to say:

Better practice this evening?

"They bounced back. They really did. And I could understand why he (Auburn head coach Gene Chizik) wasn’t happy this morning. This afternoon, I think the guys really tried to bounce back and that’s good to see. That means their leadership is coming through. That’s the things that we’re trying to get across to this team. We need guys to step up and there’s no excuse. Whatever it is, whether you’re a freshman or fifth year senior or a guy that walked on to the team. Whatever your role is, we need you to play that role. He’s going to get that out of them, I promise you."

What was the focus tonight?

"Alignment and assignment. Getting the guys to do what they’re supposed to do. Matter of fact, we didn’t install anything new. It was mainly going back and fixing the things that the guys blew up this morning. Came back and made sure that they could execute them ‘cause like Coach Chizik said: You either practice to win, or you practice to lose. And if you practice things the wrong way or do them the wrong way, that’s what you’re going to get. We’re big on trying to make sure that they do it the right way. Because there is a right way to do something. Whatever you demand as a coach, what you accept as a coach, you tolerate. And we’re not going to tolerate anything but the best."

Was pacing the problem?

"No. The problem was they were getting hit in the mouth. When you get hit, somebody’s going to flinch. This game is physical, and we introduced them to what ‘Auburn Physical’ means. I think they got a good taste of what that’s like. It’s a good thing because when they step in that stadium tomorrow and scrimmage, we don’t want that to be the first time. Now they understand what physical means. They thought they had an idea of what physical meant, but when you put a guy right in front of you and there ain’t no jumping around, it’s mano e mano, you find out who is going to flinch. We were able to see who thinks he’s tough and who is really tough. It’ll be interesting to see how they carry that over. We’re going to watch a lot of tape, do a lot of film study. And it’s great to be able to show a kid: Why’d you turn your head? Why’d you duck your shoulder? There is no excuse when you can show them on tape when he did those things. Football is a man’s game and we’re going to make sure they understand that."

How is Quan Bray progressing?

"I tell you, I’m proud of that kid. I’m probably breaking some rule, but the kid threw out all of that and had a 3.5 GPA and has learned all his assignments and is out there busting his tail. You talk about life throwing you some curve balls. Obviously that was personal for me because I recruited him and know his family really well. That’s a chance and an opportunity for us to stand up on what family really means. See, you don’t have to have the same last name or be the same color to be part of the same family. He’s a part of our Auburn Family. What we did is we just took him in and we loved on him. And that’s what we’re going to continue to do. We’re glad to have him. Glad to have him. He’s going to be something special. To go through that type of an ordeal and to still come out with over 3.5 and to be able to do the things that he’s doing on that football field, obviously he’s got a lot of motivation. But it also tells you the type of character and the type of upbringing he had coming from that home."

How about DeAngelo Benton?

"Doing a lot better. The last time I bragged on him, the guy was in and he stayed hurt. He split his finger, broke his wrist, broke his ankle. So all of those freshmen are raggedy, just in case you want to know. Just letting you know, because the last time I patted one on the back he didn’t stay very healthy. But DeAngelo, he’s like a different kid out there. He’s making some plays, his leadership is good, he’s got a deep voice - he sounds like Barry White when he talks and when you hear him talking to a guy or hear him correcting somebody, it really comes out. It’s good to see him out there doing the things that he’s doing. Seeing him teach people where before it was always getting him lined up. And then again, he’s healthy. Knock on wood. Hopefully he can stay healthy and we can see some of the things that we potentially thought that he’d be able to bring to the table."

What are you looking for from receivers tomorrow in the scrimmage?

"Play-making ability. We’ve got to have guys make plays on the perimeter because everybody knows we’re going to run the football. And if they can stack the box and put 10 people in there and we can’t run the ball, we have to be able to make plays out there to make people respect the deep ball and not be able to sit on our running backs. We’re very talented at that running back position. Those guys are proving themselves. Where the question mark is at is at the wideouts. And they know that. They understand that. I feel like the amount of pressure that we’re putting on them in practice right now and the amount of things that we’re asking them to do really coincides with their ability. We’re not asking them to do things that they’re not capable of doing. We’re asking them to do things that they are capable of, but to do it well. And I think that’s the beauty of Gus’ offense. We can take the guy that runs the best corner route and we put him at that position. We take the guy that runs the best slant and put him in that spot so they’re not locked into I’m an X, I’m a Y I’m a Z. That means nothing to us. What happens when we put the best 11 for that current play and then we switch out. It’s a lot for them to handle because they have to get formations and they have to get signals and all that, but it does allow them to make plays. I want to see if guys can make plays in space. If they can’t do that, it’s going to be a very long season for the Auburn Tigers. That’s just the honest truth."

Know how many plays you'll go in the scrimmage?

"No. Coach hasn’t said and then probably after watching this morning’s tape, we’ll be there til midnight. So he’s going to get it out of them tomorrow. This little bounce back practice isn’t going to get it done. He’ll make up for it tomorrow. So I’m not sure how many play. We haven’t discussed that. We’ll discuss it tonight."

Personnel decisions may hinge on Auburn scrimmage

AUBURN – Auburn holds its first scrimmage of fall camp today, and coach Gene Chizik said it will prove critical in the Tigers’ upcoming personnel decisions.

“What we’d like to do is have a scrimmage that’s long enough and covers enough range of things within the scrimmage, meaning situationally, that we can go back and try to narrow who are our top two to three players are at each position,” Chizik said Tuesday. “Because the name of the game at this point, after a week of practice, is to try and zero in on the guys you really believe can help you. That’s what that will be. It will be a huge evaluation. Our first big evaluation.”

That evaluation includes the quarterbacks, where the Tigers have a three-way battle ongoing between redshirt junior Barrett Trotter, redshirt sophomore Clint Moseley and freshman Kiehl Frazier.

Trotter and Moseley battled on even terms throughout the spring. Frazier joined the fray in the fall.

“We're all still alive,” Trotter said, when asked how the quarterbacks are doing. “We're doing well. We've got a long way to go still, all of us do. We're making strides every day. We're trying to learn everything we need to do. It's going well.”


Auburn has lousy practice

AUBURN – Auburn coach Gene Chizik was displeased with the first of two practices on Tuesday.

“I thought today, the morning practice was not good,” he said. “As a matter of fact, I thought they were trying to pace themselves to try to get through and to the next one, which is very discouraging. But I thought their focus was not there, the way we expected. I thought they tried to be physical. I thought they tried to do some things when it came to playing with effort. The mental part of it was definitely not there. We’ve got to get better at that this afternoon.”

Auburn cornerback T’Sharvan Bell said it was easy to pick up on Chizik’s displeasure.

“It was clear it wasn't a good practice,” Bell said. “I think as far as physicality, we're heading in the right direction. But when we're going there, we're losing the little things - alignment, technique. And that can't happen. Not in this league.

Bell said he did his best to provide motivation.

“I brought it up in practice,” He said. “Don't just try to survive out here. If you're able to walk off the field and you're breathing, you ain't doing enough. I tell guys: ‘Pass out. We'll carry you in.’ Definitely, I’ve seen some guys just trying to survive. That goes for the whole team. That's on defense as well.”

Better at night

Auburn followed up the disappointing morning practice with a better practice in the evening.

“They bounced back,” said Auburn wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor. “That’s good to see. It shows some leadership is coming through and that’s what we’re trying to get across to this team. We need guys to step together.

Taylor said the focus in the afternoon practice was “alignment and assignment.”

“Just getting the guys to do what they’re supposed to do,” Taylor said. “In fact, we didn’t install anything new. It was mainly going back and fixing things the guys blew up this morning.”

Frost out for year

Chizik confirmed Tuesday that freshman linebacker Kris Frost is out for the year.
Frost had shoulder surgery in July.

“It’s not going to be this season,” Chizik said when asked when Frost would be able to return. “No way. He’s in a very thorough rehab process. He’s doing very well, but it’s going to be a window of a few months.”

Frost, a five-star recruit, would likely have played for the Tigers this season.

“Oh, there’s no question,” Chizik said. “We were counting on him to help us. I hate to see it. All these young guys come in and they’re excited and they know they have the chance to help and play and he had that opportunity. But he’ll rebound and he’ll be great.”

Chizik lukewarm on Phillips

Chizik would like to see more out of Ladarious Phillips, a redshirt freshman fullback out of Handley High School.

“It depends on which day you ask me,” Chizik said when asked about Phillips’ progress. “Some days he looks like he has made some progress. Some days he takes two steps back. I certainly have not bought any stock in his development yet, but he has shown flashes that he can do some things we’re asking him to do, but he’s got a long way to go.”

Chizik was also asked about Phillips’ conditioning. He’s listed as 6-0, 293 pounds on the roster.

“In that regard he’s got a long way to go as well,” Chizik said.

Walk-on QB returns

Walk-on quarterback Logan Paul is back on the roster. A spot for Paul opened up after walk-on wide receiver Codey Frederick decided to leave the team.

Denson making his mark

Auburn quarterback Barrett Trotter singled out Jaylon Denson when asked which of the Tigers’ freshmen wide receivers looked good.

“He's been doing good, stepping up and making plays,” Trotter said. “For him, it's just one of those things where he's one of those guys who has the talent to step up and play some for us this year. He has to make sure he knows exactly what to do. That's something they're doing a good job of.”

Monday, August 8, 2011

Tigers getting more physical in practice

AUBURN – Auburn practiced in full pads Monday as the Tigers begin to ramp up contact.
“For our first day in full pads I think we did some nice things,” said Auburn coach Gene Chizik. “I thought the kids were trying to be physical, trying to come off the football and play physical. What I don’t think we did, I don’t think we focused on the little things that are going to make a difference. Alignments. Techniques. We got lost in there somewhere when the pads came on, which sometimes is natural, but we’ve got to get locked back in and focused back in on job responsibilities, which again, I don’t think we did a good job of today. But happy with the effort, happy with them trying to be physical and not happy with the focus of the details of the game.”

The Tigers will begin two-a-days today, with the first scrimmage of the fall scheduled for Wednesday.

Chizik said the next week, as contact work escalates, will be extremely important, particularly for both the offensive and defensive lines.

“This week is very critical simply because down there on both sides of the line there is no substitute for just getting down in there and doing it,” he said. “You’ve got to do it. You can work all the drills and all that, but from that tackle to tackle box, that game is a different game. The only way to do it is to get down and play in there on both sides of the ball. It’s very physical. Guys are learning a lot, there are a lot of moving parts. This week is invaluable because you have to have a lot of contact to get used to playing down there.”

Greene, Phillips out

Offensive linemen A.J. Greene and Aubrey Phillips have both been limited because of injury.

Chizik said it’s uncertain when either will return.
“Both guys are beat up and both are under evaluation,” Chizik said. “They’re both out right now until we continue to evaluate both of them and see where they are. I don’t want to go into specifics of it but on both sides of the line we’re kind of beat up right now.”

Dismukes making progress

Auburn freshman center Reese Dismukes, who is battling Blake Burgess for the starting job, has impressed Chizik thus far in practice.
“I’m really proud of Reese,” Chizik said. “He’s got the right mentality. He’s got the mentality you like to have at that position. He’s got a great feel for the game. His knowledge of the game is outstanding. He’s one of the smartest players in the entire offensive line when it comes to making calls, which we all know the center has to do. It’s part of his job. He is really well-schooled and well-versed in football and identifying things. That’s a huge part, and he’ll continue to get better and better. His part is going to be the physicality of the game, playing against those 300-plus pounders.”

Finding depth at tailback
Running backs coach Curtis Luper says he’d like to two more tailbacks ready to play behind Mike Dyer and Onterio McCalebb.
There’s plenty of completion behind those two. Luper had praise for freshman Tre Mason and junior Anthony Morgan on Monday.
“Mason’s going to be better than people think,” Luper said. “He'll help us. He'll have a role. I don't know exactly what that role will be, but it will be
defined as camp unwinds. He's going to play.”

Luper said Morgan would be a good fill in for the speedy McCalebb.

“He had a good spring,” Luper said. “He got banged up a little. He's a guy who can play the Onterio McCalebb role. He also can get out on the perimeter and catch swings and bubbles and screens and stuff. He's a very versatile guy. For this
year, we need him for sure in the backfield. We're a little slim. I'm
expecting things out of him as well.”

Competition stout on D-line

While Jeffrey Whitaker and Kenneth Carter are the Tigers’ most experienced defensive tackles and likely to earn starting positions, it’s not coming easy.

First-year defensive line coach Mike Pelton says Whitaker and Carter are being pushed by freshmen Angelo Blackson, Gabe Wright and Jabrian Niles.

“From a knowledge standpoint, I'd say yeah, they’re ahead,” Pelton said of Whitaker and Carter. “But from a physical standpoint, they're fighting for their jobs. Those guys are pushing them. That's a good thing. These freshmen have really put some heat on them. It gives the freshmen some light that hey, they can play. And it gives those guys, hey, I've got to hold my position. They're asking a lot more questions. They're putting in extra time in the meetings. They've got to earn their position.”