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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Late night notes: Tigers excited for scrimmage

It's late once again. We're skipping a lead note to go straight to the bullet points. Thanks for understanding:

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  • Big scrimmage coming up for Auburn tomorrow, in that it's the first scrimmage of the season. Players and coaches are naturally excited. "There's something about going into that stadium, playing between those lines," wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor said. "And we're establishing a tradition with the team that we're going to take care of home. We want to make sure that they understand that. Obviously, having eight home games is a big advantage, and we want to make sure that it becomes that. Our allegiance to our fans and to those who have been here before, it's huge. We talk about it to those kids every day. We want them to understand Auburn was big way before you got here. And we want to continue that tradition that was here in the past."
  • Of course, the scrimmage is important for the young guys. "We're going to find out what they're made of," Taylor said. "The number of reps and the positions that we're going to put them in, and we're talking about stressing them and putting strain on them, they're going to be strained and stressed tomorrow. And we're going to see who's going to react."
  • Mixed message alert! Trooper talked about how all the veterans were trying to get the younger players hyped for tomorrow's scrimmage, saying it's just like a game. Offensive line coach Jeff Grimes talked about making sure the young guys didn't get too worked up. "Often they’ll get in a scrimmage situation and they think have to be Superman, and before you know it, they can’t remember their plays and they’re out of control and they’re not playing with technique at all," he said. "So what I tried to stress to them is 'Hey, it’s just an opportunity to have another practice. You get to play harder longer.’"
  • Freshman WR Trovon Reed participated some during the night practice. He's been dealing with an undisclosed injury. "He's probably not happy with me because I'm tough with him," Taylor said. "Because my job is to push him to get back out there. The trainer's job is not to put him out there until he's ready to go. But I'm not going to let him relax."
  • Taylor had good things to say about WR Kodi Burns, who apparently made a nice snag on a long pass from Cam Newton today. "He's going to give you his very best," Taylor said. "He sets the bar high behind him. Because they may have more ability than him, but they aren't going to out-work him. That's what Kodi brings to the team."
  • Talked to freshman punter Steven Clark for the first time today. He's tall (6-foot-5). He also played tight end and defensive end in high school but focused on punting to get a D-I scholarship when he figured out simply that he could kick the ball farther than other kids. He went to some camps and did well at a national camp, catching Auburn's eye.
  • Ryan Shoemaker is probably the frontrunner for the punting job, but Clark isn't conceding anything. "I’m trying," he said. "I”m going to work as hard as I can. If they decide to put me at first. I understand if Shoe’s the starting guy too ... he’s a great punter and a great guy. It’s been an honor to learn from him. He’s been helping me out a lot. It’s a friendly competition, I guess you could say. It’s definitely going to make us better in the long run."
  • Grimes said it's tough to get reps for the three guys competing at the right tackle spot -- Roszell Gayden, Brandon Mosley and John Sullen. "But it’s a good thing to have at the same time," he said. "We’re certainly in a different situation than last year. I think these guys will all be better for having this experience regardless who ends up as the starter."
  • Still no frontrunner that Grimes would like to admit to yet. He said it's not out of the question that he could rotate a pair of guys at right tackle. "If I have two guys who are about the same, I have no problem rotating," he said. "I’ve had a couple of situations like that where I've had one guy that's just as good or just so close to the other guy that he deserved to play and was willing to rotate them. It doesn’t happen often, because somebody usually wins the job."
  • Jared Cooper and Blake Burgess are working at backup center. Grimes said Mike Berry can play there in a pinch, too. Freshman Tunde Fariyike is working at left guard.
  • Grimes said he'd like to redshirt the freshman class but said they could be there to provide depth this year.
  • How important is reducing penalties? "Ask them after they did all the up-downs after practice yesterday," Grimes said with a laugh. "We're hammering that deal real hard right now. We're not letting them slip on anything, whether it be an offside penalty or something that was holding or even could have been called holding. We're making them very accountable for that and very aware of it."
  • Two players were named to national watch lists. Darvin Adams, a junior, made the watch list for the Biletnikoff Award, given annually to the top receiver in college football. Adams set Auburn’s single-season receptions record last year with 60. He finished with 997 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. Senior Josh Bynes was named to the watch list for the Bednarik Award, given annually to the nation’s top defensive player. Bynes led the Tigers in tackles (104) last season and ranked sixth in the SEC. The winners of both awards will be announced Dec. 9.
That's all for now. Hope to get a video up later tonight or early tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for all hard work and great info!

The Edge said...

Doc, what are the odds that Clark beats out Shoemaker for the punting job this year?

You are a fantastic reporter! Keep up the good work!

Andy Bitter said...

It's tough to get a feel on that one. Boulware doesn't really tip his hand one way or another, but he was certainly excited about the prospects of getting Clark into camp.

I'd guess Shoemaker, just because of his experience at this level. But if Clark out-punts him this August, I don't think the coaches will hesitate to make a switch.

postermom said...

When Taylor talks like he wants to get players out on the field before their injuries have healed, I see the ghost of Chaz Ramsey looking over his shoulder and it makes me really nervous.