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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pre-practice notes: Safety Aairon Savage to have surgery Monday, will be out 'a while'

Safety Aairon Savage's injury-laden Auburn career just took another blow.

Savage, who left the fourth quarter of the Arkansas game with a right leg injury, is scheduled for surgery today and will be out for a considerable amount of time.

"He is obviously going to be out for a while, depending on how that goes," Auburn head coach Gene Chizik said, not going into specifics. "I don't know what that means yet in terms of length of time. But he will be out for a while."

Savage, a sixth-year senior who had started all six games this year, went down against Arkansas on the play that changed the game, when fellow safety Zac Etheridge scooped up fumble and returned it 47 yards for a touchdown.

He was helped off the field by the training staff, keeping all weight off his right leg. He was later carted to the locker room.

Savage has already missed two entire seasons with leg injuries. He tore an ACL in 2008 and tore his Achilles' last year, needing to get a waiver from the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility.

He was third on the team with 37 tackles this season.

"Seeing him last night, talking to him today, the only thing I can say is your heart goes out to him," Chizik said. "Just what he's been through. But he's a tough guy and he'll move past this like he has all the other things. ... That one was a hard one to look at."

Junior Mike McNeil, the third safety in the rotation this year, will likely start in Savage's place. McNeil has 18 tackles.

Chizik said walk-on sophomore Ikeem Means and junior Drew Cole will get increased reps, as well as true freshmen Demetruce McNeal and Ryan Smith.

Chizk said cornerback T'Sharvan Bell (hamstring) is day-to-day.

He also said the team will monitor the status of running back Mike Dyer, who battled a knee injury last week. Dyer ran for a 38-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, showing a significant limp.

"I really didn't feel like he was to the point where it was hindering him that much," Chizik said. "He's a guy who can tolerate a lot of pain and he wants to get in there and carry the ball."

Some other notes and quotes from Chizik's teleconference:
  • On how to rate the defense after it gave up so many yards: "You note the positives, which there were some. You note the negatives, which there were many. And proceed to move on. You don't belabor any of the points. They know what they did well, they know what they didn't do well. So you just move on to the next week. There were some guys that really, really played hard and did play well. Overall, there was times — whether it was a technique or a guy out of position — we didn't do it well, so we've got to get that corrected."
  • Had good things to say about LSU, naturally: "All around a very talented team. No different really than anybody else in the league, that they're extremely talented and extremely deep."
  • He did not bit on a questions about the perception out there that LSU coach Les Miles has a horseshoe in his back pocket. Here's his whole answer to that question: "I think they're a great football team."
  • Chizik won't be going out of his way to find a television to watch the release of the initial BCS rankings tonight. "You can assume that," he said. He has been on teams where eventually it has come to play. Chizik said he doesn't know when he'll start paying attention to it. "That’s a good question," he said. "If it ever happens where it becomes what we’re focused on, it’s going to be later in the year. We just got to continue to do the things that we’ve been doing every week. Trying to get better at every position which, as you saw yesterday, I know I say it every week, but it’s true: We’ve got a bunch of room for improvement at every position out there. And that’s how we’ll carry on.”
  • Cam Newton reminds a lot of people of Vince Young. Chizik was on the Texas staff when Young was there. He sees some similarities in how the team had confidence in their quarterback to make a play. "I think that it's big for any team to believe in their quarterback that much," he said. "But more importantly, as we just spoke a minute ago to the team, I think it's more important for everybody else to understand that they need to raise their level of play. I mean, they know that they've got a guy back there who is a competitor and he wants the ball in his hands. He wants to win games. That ought to mean that everybody else around him raises their level of play, because they know that's what they have back there at quarterback. And that's how I feel about it."
  • Chizik is thankful he doesn't have to come up with a game plan to stop Newton. "Some of the things that he does, quite honestly, you don't have an answer for him," Chizik said. "I mean, you could have an answer, your guy vs. my guy, and he can't make the tackle. And that's just the fact of the matter. He's just athletically gifted enough and blessed enough to be able to make some plays when it's one-on-one, him versus somebody there in the open field. I don't know that you can always have an answer for that."
  • Asked if Auburn would try to recruit similarly talented quarterbacks in the future, Chizik had a witty response: "I wouldn't turn one down. We'll be looking under every rock from here on out to find another one like that. A big rock. But he's unique for sure."


AUcat21 said...

These DB recruits better be paying attention to how badly we need some increased talent back there next year. It'll be good to have Florence and Rose as candidates. I really thought Mincy would have been ready by this point in the season to step in at corner, but I haven't heard one word since he was in the "doghouse" back in the fall. It's hard to put the defensive struggles all on Roof this year; from my point of view, he's just gameplanning around the level of talent he has to work with right now. See what happened when we recruited some backup talent on the D-line and at linebacker? We're able to blitz and basically give any opposing QB a concussion if he wants to sit in the pocket and challenge them.

Anonymous said...

If you ask me the young guys need to start playing more in the secondary anyway... McNeal is making PLAYS on special teams.

MikeP said...

I don't know where we go for other DB players this year. Mincy may still may be on the team, but he hasn't played and will certainly redshirt. Chris Davis has played a significant amount and T. Bell is better than at least one of the starters. Don't know if D. Mcneal is a safety or CB, but it wouldn't hurt to try him.
I'm afraid our next big upgrade at DB will have to come from this next recruiting class.

aubiebattle said...

Yeah... I hate to see what happened to Savage especially after all he has been through the last couple of years, but I don't think there will be a huge drop off between him and Mike McNeil. Mike has looked at least equal to Savage in his abilities on the field. The problem is that now we don't have as much depth at safety if Mike M. needs a breather. I am actually more concerned about T. Bell because corner is our weakest position on defense right now, and Bell might actually be our 2nd best corner even though he is third on the depth chart. I agree with MikeP and would like to see if Demetruce McNeal can contribute in the secondary. He has been our number one playmaker on special teams. I also agree with AUcat21 in the fact that Ted Roof is just using what he has to work with talent wise. Cornberback and Safety has to be our primary concern in recruiting this year! But hey... 7-0 (can't complain)! WAR EAGLE!!!