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Sunday, September 13, 2009

'No chance' DL Henderson will play this year

AUBURN, Ala. — There is “no chance” Auburn reserve defensive lineman Cameron Henderson will play this year, head coach Gene Chizik said unequivocally Sunday.

Chizik said Henderson remains a member of the team but did not clarify why he will not play. The coach did not directly answer a question about Henderson’s eligibility.

“It’s some issues that are just ... he won’t be playing this year, no,” Chizik said.

Henderson, a 6-foot-5, 230-pound redshirt freshman from Irondale, Ala., is one of several players who have not dressed this season for what are believed to be non-injury reasons.

Another is wide receiver
Philip Pierre-Louis, who worked his way back from a knee injury that cost him all of last season.

The redshirt freshman did not practice in the first part of August’s training camp, rejoining the team once school began after he had resolved what coaches termed “personal issues.” Chizik called Pierre-Louis’ situation “week-to-week.”

Asked if Pierre-Louis’ return is at his discretion or in somebody else’s hands, Chizik said, “Well, they’re pretty much all my discretion.”

Follow the blog on Twitter for instant updates. Also, read some more of these notes and quotes from Sunday's late interviews ...
  • Darvin Adams had two drops in the first half of Saturday’s game against Mississippi State, the kind of start that could derail a receiver’s night. But Auburn kept going back to the sophomore, and he responded with a career effort, with five catches for 116 yards. Quarterback Chris Todd connected with Adams three times for 69 yards, the last reception taking the ball to the 1-yard line and setting up a touchdown run by Kodi Burns. Todd had no reservations about going back to Adams despite his first-half drops. “You kind of get a feel for a person,” Todd said. “You practice with him every day and everybody knows what he’s capable of. Sometimes it happens in games, somebody is going to have drops. If you know what they can do and what they’re capable of, you come back to them and let them make a play and he did. He responded in the right way and made a few plays after that.”
  • Todd took some chances on some deep balls Saturday, forcing at least one. "I think there was probably one," he said. "Sometimes I think you get greedy wanting to make a big play or something. Sometimes, even if you’re throwing the ball deep, especially on a third down or something and you throw the ball down the field even if something gets picked off it’s like having a punt." Todd said offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn doesn't mind a quarterback taking calculated chances. "Sometimes we have shots built in that we’re going take no matter what but we need to be smart with the ball," Todd said. "Going back and watching in certain situations, I might need to check down or hit an underneath route."
  • Burns made a big block in the first half, the first, really, of his football career, since he's been a quarterback at every level he's played. "It was my first major block," he said. "Actually, last game I whiffed and (Onterio) McCalebb hit me and fell down so I think I owed him this one."
  • Many fans showed their displeasure last December when Chizik was hired to replace Tommy Tuberville, underwhelmed by the coach’s 5-19 record in two years at Iowa State. West Virginia’s Bill Stewart can relate. Stewart replaced Rich Rodriguez, who revitalized the Mountaineers’ football program before taking his spread option offense to Michigan. Stewart, now 56, was West Virginia’s quarterbacks coach for eight years under Rodriguez but had only one previous head coaching job, an unsuccessful 8-25 stint at Virginia Military Institute from 1994-96. Fan reception in Morgantown, W.Va., hasn’t been universally positive, although Stewart has posted a 12-4 record in just a little over two years, with a Fiesta Bowl victory against Oklahoma highlighting his résumé. “I’ve got skin thicker than tree bark,” Stewart said. “Don’t worry about me. (Criticism) doesn’t enter my equation.”
  • Chizik didn't have as interesting of an answer to the question, which was posed by a West Virginia beat writer. "With me, that's so long ago, it's not something I pay a whole lot of credence to," he said. "I don't get validation from the outside world. I don't know if it's similar to his situation or not, but we've moved well past that."
  • Defensive coordinator Ted Roof said he was pleased with his defense's effort but said there are still areas of improvement he'd like to see, particularly on third down. "We had a guy pinned over on the sideline and we went for the ball rather than just securing the tackle," he said, referring to an over-aggressive play by nickelback Demond Washington. "You never want to take a player's aggressiveness away, but you have to make a good decision there. If you can make a play on the ball, make the play, but if you can't, make sure we can secure the tackle and then maybe they'll be trying for a long field goal or going for a fourth-and-nine. It seems like throughout the course of a defensive coach's career, when you have a chance to make a play on third down and you don't, it comes back to bite you."
  • Roof named several players that he was impressed with Saturday, but was more impressed by the defense's attitude overall. "I was real pleased there wasn't a woe-is-me," he said. "I didn't see that look on their face after they fell behind. We just kept playing and had faith in one another and faith in our offense, faith in the special teams, faith in our football team, that we'd find a way to win."
  • Roof hasn't done too much film work on West Virginia, instead focusing on correcting mistakes by his own group last weekend. But he thinks the Tigers have seen their share of offensive styles this season, which should help. "Between our offense, La. Tech and Mississippi State, we've seen the gamut of formations, motions, shifts, plays," he said. "So that's certainly good to work against."
  • Auburn used 22 or 23 players on defense Saturday, a must for a team still trying to develop workable depth with a host of young players. "We're playing a lot of people," Roof said. "Down the line somewhere that's going to pay off. I don't know when that is. So when a kid is forced to play, it won't be like it's the first time he's ever gone into a football game before. So those are things that you want to build on."
  • Count Roof as one of those impressed by what Malzahn's offense has accomplished in the first two weeks. "The way they're playing and competing, we have all the confidence in the world in them," he said.
  • LB Craig Stevens on getting another crack at stopping a West Virginia than gouged them for 34 points last year in Morgantown, W.Va.: "I just take it as another game, really, but you always want to get revenge from a game like that," he said. "I'm just taking it a game at a time, but Noel (Devine), he's a real good runner. With him being so small and quick, he uses his line to hide behind and once he sees a hole, he just hits it so fast. We just have to be disciplined when we play him and just hold to your gap."
  • Stevens said Devine did well last year, but Auburn helped him out with some misalignments. "I wouldn't say it was mostly him," Stevens said. "We were misfitting a lot of times. He just exposed it. If we do what we have to do, we should be able to stop him. He's a great player. He hides behind his linemen because he's so small. Then he uses his speed to hit that gap."
  • Stevens also called McCalebb "O-Dog." Or would it be "O-Dawg"? Either way, it's a good nickname.
  • Auburn is apparently blitzing more. "Yeah, I'm blitzing a whole lot more," Stevens said. "As far as a linebacker corps we are. We blitzed last year, but it wasn't like we're blitzing now. I think we were bringing like four men or five men last year and this year we're bringing an extra guy where somebody has to come free a lot of times. It's good to do things like that because somebody will probably get to the quarterback."
  • Burns summed up the different feeling this year's team has with its 2-0 start vs. last year's 2-0 start: "We've got a sense of we've been behind in a game and whatnot and you saw on the sidelines we didn't see anyone's heads down, didn't see anyone 'Oh, here we go.' Everybody was just fine and knowing we could persevere through it and just continue to work and handle it up top."


hcpouncey said...

Good, detailed report, Andy. Keep it up!

WokDontRun said...

Who are the other people believed to be out for non-injury issue? "Hot" Carter, is one I suspect. Are there any others?

Andy Bitter said...

Carter, PPL and Henderson would be the three.

WokDontRun said...

Doesn't Carter have a red-shirt available? I remember him playing in '07 in the South Fla game as a 17 year old freshman

Andy Bitter said...

Carter played in 13 games in 2007, so he does have a redshirt remaining.