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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Early notes: Newly-minted starting DT Zach Clayton avoiding injuries with 'prehab'

A few players stopped by for some interviews before practice. Here are the fine points:
  • Zach Clayton, a newly minted starter at defensive tackle, said he's been as healthy as he's been on the Plains this August. He credits it to prehab, which might have been a word he made up on the spot. "It's not technically rehab because I'm not injured," he said. "It's doing things off the field like ankle exercises, just keeping up with that kind of stuff so the injuries don't sneak up and catch you off guard." He hopes it can help him avoid the nagging ankle injury that cost him most of last season.
  • Safety Linebacker Daren Bates was officially named the starter at the right linebacker spot, although it was assumed he would get it after making the position switch in the winter. "I knew there was going to be competition out there," he said. "People want to play. When I stepped back I knew I had to keep it up and keep my job alive and hopefully I can have the starting job."
  • He knows Arkansas State well. The Memphis-born Bates originally committed to the Red Wolves before an Auburn offer came along. "I got a couple friends on the team now," he said. "The coaches made it look real nice. They have facilities, for their type of division they have real nice facilities. The talent was nice and all that."
  • Bates said he feels like a linebacker now. "Sometimes I still have safety tendencies," he said. "I think more practice and the more drills you do, I feel like I'm all right. ... That's why we practice. Practice you do the same things over and over. You just have to convert it to the game time. I don't think I'll go back and forth."
  • TE Philip Lutzenkirchen said he feels more comfortable as a blocker this year, which will be important for Auburn, which doesn't have many tight ends his size on the roster. "If you'd have asked me that a year ago, I'd probably have said receiver," he said. "Now I'd say blocker. I'm a lot more comfortable with blocking. I do it a little more than receiving now. I know that's going to help me get into the league. That's what you have to do."
  • Lutzenkirchen said things are different as he approaches his second year. "Last year, you prepared as if the starter goes down, you have to be ready," he said. "This year, I'm a lot more focused and into it and ready to go full speed the whole game."
  • He thinks quarterback Cam Newton might have some nerves after how long he's had to wait to be in the spotlight. "I'm sure he's going to be nervous -- as we all probably are," Lutzenkirchen said. "It's not normal if you're not nervous coming into a game. He might be a little uncomfortable at first. Once he settles down and gets used to Jordan-Hare, I think he's going to do a good job."
  • Quindarius Carr said he expects the coaches to go with one punt returner come Saturday and not rotate a group in. Carr, Darvin Adams and Trovon Reed are listed as possible starters at the position. Asked if he expects to be on the field, he simply said, "Yes."
  • Bates on Auburn flying under the radar. "We don't have to fight for the attention but I just think we need to get to the championship," he said. "That's what we're working on, to get from good to great. That's really our intentions, just to get there."


SteveFC said...

Thanks Andy. Good stuff.

Tar Heel Tiger said...

muchos gracias.

Do we even know what was wrong with ZC's ankle? Was it just a sprain that kept getting sprained?