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Monday, August 31, 2009

Physical practices a balancing act for Auburn

I wrote a story today about how Auburn, being low on numbers but wanting to instill a physical mindset, approached practice this August. Here's how it starts:

AUBURN, Ala. — From the moment he took the Auburn head coaching job, Gene Chizik vowed to return the program to its smashmouth roots.

But ingraining that physical mentality while managing a short-handed roster this August has been a delicate balancing act.

After a physical spring session, Auburn has had to be careful with the amount of hitting it has done so far, practicing at different tempos and levels of tackling throughout the preseason to preserve a healthy roster of players for when the games actually start.

Now, less than a week away from Saturday’s season opener against Louisiana Tech at Jordan-Hare Stadium, questions about Auburn’s physical preparedness remain.

“I don’t know exactly where we are in that department,” Chizik said. “We’re trying to go enough of our first teams against each other, where we stay sharp in that department. Because that is a concern if you don’t do that.

“But there is a fine line with us doing too much of that versus doing too little of it. But I feel good with where we’re at. I still feel like our plan is smart.”

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