War Eagle Extra has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 4 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Late notes: Scrimmage will be treated like a game

AUBURN, Ala. — Today’s scrimmage might not count for anything in the standings, but Auburn’s players are treating it that way.

“As far as I’m concerned tomorrow is a game,” quarterback Neil Caudle said. “That’s how important it is. I think the coaches have really stressed to us how important it is in this quarterback race. I’m going to be fully prepared tomorrow. I’m going to study a lot tonight and think about what I have to do and approach it as if it’s a game.”

The Tigers, who donned pads for the first time during the morning session of Monday’s two-a-days, will go to Jordan-Hare Stadium today for their most extensive work yet running the offense against the defense.

Head coach
Gene Chizik did not specify what format the scrimmage would take when he last met with the media Sunday, although offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn said everybody will be live except for quarterbacks.

Malzahn hopes the scrimmage provides an opportunity to gather information about the four quarterbacks still competing for the starting job: Caudle,
Chris Todd, Kodi Burns and Tyrik Rollison.

“We’re getting closer after every practice. We’re putting extreme pressure on them so we can figure out how they respond,” Malzahn said. “We’re really hoping we can narrow things down in the very near future.

“Anytime you can see, specifically, a quarterback in a team setting, operating everything, you can evaluate them a lot better.”

Some other notes after the late portion of practice ...

  • Sophomore D’Antoine Hood, a Phenix City native who went to Central High, is working at safety right now. The Tigers are low in numbers there with Mike McNeil (leg) and T’Sharvan Bell (knee) sidelined. Christian Thompson, who was expected to compete for playing time, was kicked off the team this summer. Zac Etheridge is one projected starter, while Drew Cole and Mike Slade are rotating reps at the other safety spot. “Hood’s got game experience," safeties coach Tommy Thigpen said. Him being a corner and playing under the lights, we had to ask, who’s the next best guy? He’s done it and he’s been in the stadiums before.” Hood played in 12 games last year, starting at Ole Miss because of injuries. He made seven defensive tackles last season.
  • Thigpen on the hardest part of moving from corner to safety: "For a corner it’s the verbiage and it’s going to involve a lot more tackling – a lot more checks. As a corner you’re on an island by yourself. When you’re in the box with those guys, especially the way we use them in run fits and disguise and that kind of deal, he’s got to learn really fast. He’s capable and we’re looking forward to what he’s going to bring to the table."
  • Hood’s move leaves Auburn with four scholarship cornerbacks: starters Walt McFadden and Neiko Thorpe, Harry Adams and junior college transfer Demond Washington. Freshman walk-on Rodney Cofield is the only other player currently working at cornerback. "That's where we're at," cornerbacks coach Phillip Lolley said. "We've got to get it done."
  • That's not very many bodies for a position like cornerback, in case you haven't noticed. Lolley's aware of that, but he said the Tigers have to get the four best players on the field. "What we're trying to do right now is get the best pieces to the puzzle put together," Lolley said. "When coach Chizik first came here -- and I have been working with the defensive backs previous to that --my four corners back then were Junior Rosegreen and Tavaris Robinson, Carlos Rogers and (Rod) Hood. We wind up moving Rosegreen and T-Rob to the secondary, to get the best four guys playing on the field. It's a similar type situation. We're just trying to find the right mixture right now."
  • Lolley on Washington: "He's doing excellent. Very studious. Really studies the game. In the film room, he's very attentive, very alert. Thank goodness, because he's much-needed help. He's going to help us a lot. He' still learning a lot of the fundamentals like they all are that just came in. He picks the game up quick, works at it. We've been very pleased with him."
  • Lolley also had the best, rambling answer of the day when asked about whether he was concerned about injures. See if you can follow along. "Sure and we addressed that. I addressed that in the meeting before we went out. I said 'Hey guys, the way we got to look at it is we're warriors. There's five warriors in this room and we're going to be ready for battle.' One of the analogies I use, several movies and things, I talk about the movie 300. It didn't matter how many was their guys, they had a plan. And they joined together and they took one step at a time behind the shield and they protected each other. That's the mentality we got to have out there at all times. When we walk out to play the guy, we've got to walk up there and we've got to have that mentality. And we've got to have each other's back. If a guy makes a wrong step, when you get him on the sidelines, you've got to be together. 'Hey guys, look, pull it together. You didn't keep it within yourself, you didn't slap with your hand.' And that way when that guy goes out there, you're watching him and everybody is watching him and getting that mentality and that rep that we're together no matter what. Whether it's two, three or what, you know? And we addressed that and that's what I want at practice. And they are good and if you watch them they're constantly over there coaching each other on the other side. They're talking. They're saying 'Did you see what happened to me? He gave me this move and boom, boom, boom.' You got to be able to speak to him now. So, yeah, we do worry." Whew! The man can certainly talk.
  • Five football player graduated Monday: TE Gabe McKenzie, OL Rudy Odom, CB Jerraud Powers, Todd and DB Jonathan Vickers.
  • Thigpen isn't about to join the rest of the secondary by growing out his facial hair any more than it already is. " No way. No. It shows my age," he said. "I’m gray in there. Too much gray, guys."

No comments: