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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Late night notes: Berry says Ziemba is fine

No extended intro tonight. Straight to the bullet points:

(Right after some quick plugs. Follow the blog on Twitter and be a fan on Facebook)
  • Gene Chizik was dodgy about LT Lee Ziemba's injured right knee. Thankfully, LG Mike Berry was more forthcoming.“He practiced today, so he’s fine,” Berry said. Of course, Ziemba would end the speculation by confirming that he practed on Twitter.
  • Berry also gave some clarification on what happened when Ziemba went down. “He tried to cut somebody and his knee got hit a certain way or hit the ground a certain way and he said it stiffened up on him and he couldn’t move it,” Berry said. "He was actually fine to walk off, but he was killing the clock, so they just told him to get down. That's why it looked so bad."
  • When Ziemba went out, junior college transfer Brandon Mosley replaced him in the lineup. “My main concern was just not messing up,” he said. “I didn’t want to go in there and screw up and do something I wasn’t supposed to do.” The 6-foot-6, 299-pounder handled himself well, according to teammates, even though he spent all of the offseason getting accustomed to offensive line. He played mostly tight end at Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College. “When he came in, he looked pretty nervous,” Berry said. “His eyes were big and stuff. I told him, ‘Just listen to me. I’m going to help you with the calls, tell you what to do.’ And I can honestly say, we didn’t miss a beat.”
  • If Ziemba can’t go, it’s no guarantee that Mosley will be the next man in, however. “We’re going to look at all the options,” Chizik said. “We still have John Sullen that’s a good football player, and we’ve got to find a place for him.”
  • Cowbells? Berry didn't think they were a problem. "It really wasn't that bad to me," he said. "I thought it would be a lot louder, but it wasn't."
  • Mosley said not so fast. "He said the cowbells didn't bother him much, but it's hard for me to hear them on the end. I couldn't hear the quarterback sometimes, but he'd tell me what he said. But it wasn't as bad with him out there helping me out."
  • Defensive coordinator Ted Roof coached against Clemson a bunch when he was at Georgia Tech and Duke in various roles. He said they're similar to SEC teams. "I tell you what, year-in and year-out, they’re one of the most athletic teams that’s ever on the schedule," he said. "They’re well coached, they play hard and they’re physical. That’s a pretty good combination. When I think of Clemson, that’s what I think about."
  • Guess what? Roof looked at the tape and saw room for improvement. "We’ve got to get better in a hurry if we’re going to have a chance to beat Clemson," he said. You can just go ahead and replace each week's opponent for "Clemson" at the end of that sentence and it will apply for the rest of the year, apparently.
  • Nick Fairley was a man Thursday and will likely be in the mix for SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors when they're announced Monday. "I think it’s just a process," Roof said of Fairley. "Like I said after the game, it’s a combination of Nick buying into what we’re doing and experiencing some success, and also the work Tracy Rocker’s done with him. I think coach Rocker’s done a wonderful job with him in his development. He has not arrived. There’s a lot of room for growth. But that’s a major step in the right direction. Now we’ll see if he can take the next step."
  • Auburn has 11 TFLs in two games. Roof thinks that's key. "You can’t let an offense stay on schedule," he said. "You can’t let them get to second-and-five, third-and-one, because the percentages are so much in the offense’s favor. To be able get them on first down especially to put them behind the sticks a little bit is something we try to do."
  • LB Josh Bynes played every defensive snap again, contrary to what coaches said they were going to have him do this year. He'd still like to rotate younger guys in, though. "Yeah, I’ve got to do that," he said. "At the same time, those guys have to come on and earn that. I’ve got to be smart in how we do that because this is going to be a long season. There’s a lot of football left. So we’ve got to be sharp in what we do there and make sure we’re rotating people and getting other people ready. You’re right I did play Josh, but that’s what the situation dictated, and that’s what my gut said to do, so that’s what we did."
  • Freshman CB Chris Davis is the dime back. MSU targeted him once on the final drive for a first down, but he wasn't affected by it. "Those types of reps and those types of situations just help grind it out," Roof said. "Now we’ve been in a grinder, we know what it feels like because we’ve been through one, so next time we’ll be better I hope."
  • Emory Blake caught his first career touchdown on a bubble screen in the first quarter against MSU. The sophomore said he felt it coming. "I actually told Cam Newton before the game that the first bubble that I get that I was going to take to the house because I don’t know how many I’m going to get," Blake said. "The blocks worked out so I could get in."
  • Newton's running stats were a big subject today. I plan on writing more about this for Tuesday's newspaper, so I don't want to spoil too much, but Newton said he thinks he does a good job of protecting himself at the end of runs, even though he takes some hits. "I think I do a good job of knowing when I pick to be physical or not," he said. "If it's a third down and if I slide one yard before the first down, I think everybody in the stadium will know that I did the wrong thing. I know when to be physical and when to get down. It's just awareness of a football player."
  • Does he think he's putting himself at an injury risk? "You're playing football," he said. "That's as much of an injury risk as anything else. I would rather run the ball 15 times in a game rather than leaving a game that we have not had the productivity that I wish we would have had and said I wish I would have run it more. I'd rather it be in the situation I have been."
  • Blake's not shocked that Newton seems to get the better of the defensive player at the end of his runs. "When you’re 6-6, 260, you shouldn’t have a problem with that," Blake said. "I don’t have any problem taking hits, and if I was that big, I’d be trucking people, too."
  • Newton on his first pick: "That was bad by me first on my behalf. What the defense gave me, I was supposed to throw to Darvin (Adams) but not as quick as I looked to Darvin. My eyes told the whole thing and I told him myself. You can't do that. There are things you can get away with, and no disrespect to the other teams, but not in the SEC."
  • Mike Dyer appears to be gaining the coaches' trust, if him being in the game on a clock-killing fourth quarter drive is any indication. Newton is a big fan. "I know what he can do," he said. "I see on a consistent basis for the past two months at camp. If Mike gets the ball in his hands, he's a guy that can be very dangerous. We have a lot of guys on this team and we just got to find the way to get them the ball. There's just one football and 11 players. Just have to find a way."
  • Dyer finished with nine carries for 48 yards and had two big runs on Auburn's final drive. "I was just going out there doing what I was asked to do," he said. "I was trying to fulfill my job in the game. I went in late just to run the clock down and take care of the ball and get some first downs."
  • The moment isn't too big for Dyer. "It doesn't affect me any more," he said. "The first game, I thought I'd be nervous. I'm not. I've always been the guy that had to do that, needed to do that. I just stuck with that role. I just do what I can. What I can't, I don't worry about."
  • Dyer's recruiting buddy Marcus Lattimore had 37 carries for South Carolina last week, but the Auburn freshman isn't lobbying for more work. "I'm one of these guys who just does what I'm asked to do," he said. "When it's time for me to perform, I do what I can. If I get less carries and we win and have a good season, I'm fine with that."
  • Dyer, on if he'll finish with more rushing yards than Newton: "Cam is going to have the ball 100 percent of the time anyway. The decisions he has to make are more important than the running backs. He is The Guy on offense. I wouldn't think he'd have more yards. The last few games, he's been breaking out and trying to make things happen when there's nothing else. I don't figure he should. I'm going to do the best I can for him not to."


Orlando said...

Dyer is a true Auburn man already...thanks for the insight Andy!

Moose said...

Andy, any news on Ladarious Phillips? I feel like he's been kind of forgotten in all of the news from the first 2 games.

We absolutely need him(now) in there to get some more physicality in the backfield.

Andy Bitter said...

He didn't come up in the injury questions yesterday. (As if Chizik would have given a definitive answer anyway). Everything was about Ziemba and Fannin.

He's probably getting closer, but you never know when a guy's in a boot like that.