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Friday, August 14, 2009

Late notes: Rollison will get a look as backup QB

AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn did not name a No. 2 quarterback behind Chris Todd on Thursday night. That’s because offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn wants to take a nice, long look at freshman Tyrik Rollison.

Rollison, the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback recruit in the country last year, will get the majority of snaps with the second team in the next three weeks instead of junior Neil Caudle.

“We have more information about Neil than Tyrik, so we’re going to give Tyrik quite a few reps,” Malzahn said. “We really need to see where he’s at. He’s a talented young man, but at the same time, it takes a lot to run this offense.”

Rollison will have to come out of his shell. The freshman described himself as not being “a verbal dude.” It took until Friday for the quiet quarterback to inform members of the media that the proper pronunciation of his first name is Tie-RICK, not Tie-REEK. He said his high school team in Sulphur Springs, Texas, communicated in silence using signals.

“Here our quarterbacks have to be verbal,” he said. “They have to talk and speak up. They have to be loud. ... It’s pretty tough because I have to come out of my comfort zone of being quiet.”

Here are some other news and notes from the full day of practice (and while you're here, you might as well follow the blog on Twitter) ...
  • Caudle has been passed over for the starting quarterback job before. That doesn’t make Thursday’s news any easier. “It gets tougher and tougher each time,” he said. “My time’s running out.” The junior, who has thrown eight passes in three years on the Plains, is trying to regroup after coming up short in his bid for Auburn’s starting gig. After finishing the spring as the co-leader along with Kodi Burns, Caudle’s best hope now is to finish August as the Tigers’ backup quarterback.
  • Caudle said he hasn’t thought about transferring, instead focusing on what he can do to support the team in any capacity he can this year, even in a backup role. “I know the offense as well as anybody,” he said. “I know it really well. I still know I can go out there and win games. I’m still confident as far as the backup job goes.”
  • Malzahn seemed pleased with how every quarterback took the news Thursday. "In our quarterback room, it is a true blessing for me to be the leader of that group," he said. "There's nothing but character. They understand how to represent Auburn. They're the type of kids you'd want to your daughter to marry. It's a lot of fun for me to come to work each day." Wow. That's quite an endorsement.
  • Malzhan said true freshman quarterback Clint Moseley will continue to get reps and isn’t necessarily guaranteed to redshirt this season.
  • Auburn had to cut the second practice of Friday short because of thunderstorms that came through the area. Head coach Gene Chizik was soaked when he came into the interview room afterward but pleased with how things went. "It was really good (energy) when it started raining out," he said. "Practice always picks up when it cools down like that."
  • There's a team function tonight that the players will be attending. "We’re going to go eat dinner together and do a team-building deal," Chizik said.
  • Auburn will have its second scrimmage this afternoon. It is closed to the public and the media. Get ready for some more fuzzy facts coming out of it. Here's what Chizik is looking for: "Just a lot of depth on who can make the bus to help us special teams-wise. Really looking for a lot of those young guys to see who can help us as backups or as starters if the shoe fits. Really looking for some depth. That’s what we’re trying to do – especially on special teams because when you’re really thin on your team, that’s where it can catch up to you, on your special teams."
  • Here's what defensive coordinator Ted Roof wants to see: "Contact speed. I want to see great effort and people flying around and hitting people full speed. And I'd like to knock some balls loose." I think I understand why the defensive players seem to like Roof. All he does is talk about hitting the snot out of people. Seems very Muschamp-ian.
  • In an effort to add some depth to its linebacking corps, Auburn is trying true freshman defensive end Dee Ford at weak-side linebacker. Roof likes the 6-foot-4, 214-pound Ford’s ability to shed blocks, as well as his nose for the football. It’s just a matter of teaching him a new position. “Your picture expands,” Roof said of playing at a stand-up spot. “When you have your hand in the dirt, your picture is much smaller. When you stand up, all of a sudden you’re exposed to a bunch more blades or grass, a bunch more moving parts and threats and coverages and adjustments and all those types of things.”
  • Chizik on Ford: "Athletically, he’s a talented kid. We’re going to continue to look to see if he can help us there. He’s an impressive guy."
  • Roof had good things to say about defensive end Michael Goggans, who has worked some on the interior line. " He's done a great job," Roof said. "He's been much more productive, much more productive this summer than he was last spring. And I think he looks a little more natural inside, but at the same time, he's been better at the outside as a result of playing on the inside." Roof can see playing him at both spots. "If the circumstances dictate, we'll do what we need to do.
  • Roof on freshman DE Nosa Eguae: "Nosa just shows up and comes to work every day. He's also the type of kid that gets it. Football makes sense to him. As a coach, you tell you him something and then you coach him and you see it transform so he doesn't make the same mistake again. As a coach, you really want to coach kids like that. He's got a ways to go. He's just a true freshman in this league. True freshman playing on the defensive front in the Southeastern Conference, that's a pretty tough task. But he's done a good job and we've been real pleased with him."
  • Roof on freshman S Daren Bates: "However fast he is, he hits you at that speed. He's a guy that seems to show up with the ball a lot."
  • Ford provides another body to a group ravaged by injuries. Of the seven scholarship linebackers on the roster, four have missed parts of practice this August. Projected weak-side starter Eltoro Freeman’s right hand is currently in a cast. The sophomore was in an orange, non-contact jersey Friday but remained on the sideline during practice. Chizik said he was "encouraged" about Freeman's return.
  • Cornerback Taikwon Paige, who spent the last two years at Georgia Military College, was not approved by the NCAA Clearinghouse, according to AuburnSports.com. Of Auburn’s 28 2009 signees, 21 are enrolled in school. In addition to Paige, five others — DB Reggie Taylor, WR LaVoyd James, DB Izauea Lanier, DL Josh Jackson and DL Terrance Coleman — either failed to meet the academic requirements or opted for junior college. Another, running back Brandon Jacobs, chose to play baseball, agreeing to terms with the Boston Red Sox.
  • Running back Ben Tate was named to the watch list for the Maxwell Award watch list, given annually to the nation’s most outstanding player.
  • Former Tigers star running back Bo Jackson attended practice the last two days and addressed the team. “It’s just great to have guys that made Auburn great come back and talk to everybody about how special the place is,” Chizik said. “It’s awesome to have him back around.” Bo's message? "Just to take this opportunity and to run with it," Tate said. "Don't let it pass you by. A lot of people don't have this opportunity that we have, so basically just take advantage of it and do everything right while you're here."
  • I'll post my main story for tomorrow's newspaper about how the team responded to the quarterback announcement later tonight.


Anonymous said...

Great detailed report. Thanks for all the information. Best AU reports on the web

tigercowboy said...

Andy continue the great work. I hear so many people talking about their concerns around Todd's ability to hold up. Can you get a sense from the coaches or team if they are completely comfortable with Todd's arm surgery?


saitek said...

great report! I understand the walk-ons show up next week, there will be probably be a couple of good finds out there to help at defense and special teams.

KungFuPanda9 said...

cowboy, that is the million dollar question.

I am sure the coaches will be keeping a close eye on Todd's arm. Simple pain and swelling can be managed. But chronic pain can be a symptom of a small injury not healing. Over time, this will begin to degrade his performance as the injury worsens. Some of this can be managed with ice and medications to reduce inflammation and pain.

Think of Sandy Koufax with his arm in a bucket of ice. He reduced the number of pitches he'd throw in practice, sometimes laying off for a few days entirely.

If Todd gets to that point, then the number two man will have to make sure his jersey is pressed and ready to go.

Todd should last a number of weeks. He may be able to forestall reinjuring his arm, in which case we are golden.

But if he begins to weaken, hopefully that will have given someone like Rollison enough time to learn the playbook. Otherwise Caudle will have to go in.