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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Late night notes: Trooper Taylor knows what's in store from John Chavis' LSU defense

Trooper Taylor spent four years on the same Tennessee staff as John Chavis, who is now in charge of LSU’s defense.

But the Auburn wide receivers coach doesn’t know how much insider info he can give the Tigers about his former colleague.

“Coach Chavis is going to do what he does,” Taylor said. “He’s not going to change his mentality based off who he’s playing. He’s always been a guy that you’re going to adjust to them.”

Chavis, who is in his second season at LSU, has the No. 3-ranked defense in the country.

Taylor knows what to expect from Chavis: his group will play fast, create mismatches up front and blitz from all over.

Cam (Newton) is going to find out all he wants about blitzes, because he may drop one out of a plane.,” Taylor said. “I promise you. He’s not afraid to do it.”

How good is LSU defense? Running backs coach Curtis Luper counted the ways.

"They have probably 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 first-round picks on that defense, I think," he said, counting them off. "They've got a couple up front, a linebacker that's really good and two on the back that are great players. It's a challenge for us. It's the best defense that we've seen since Alabama's defense (last year)."

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Also, read these other notes and quotes from Wednesday's round of interviews:
  • Cornerback T’Sharvan Bell (hamstring) and linebacker Eltoro Freeman (various injuries) have made progress this week, head coach Gene Chizik said, although he was non-committal about either’s status for Saturday. Chizik said Bell has been in and out of practice this week and has been “doing more rehab things.” Freeman will be a game-time decision, but Chizik was optimistic he could play for the first time since the Louisiana-Monroe game two and a half weeks ago. “He’s getting close,” Chizik said.
  • Chizik said running back Mike Dyer (knee) remains day-to-day. “You hope he’s ready to go on Saturday,” Chizik said. “He’s not there yet.”
  • What'd Luper say about Dyer's knee? "Good. It's fine."
  • Luper thought his backs did OK last week against Arkansas, with Mario Fannin, Onterio McCalebb and Dyer combining for 142 rushing yards and each scoring touchdowns.
  • But the coach, an avowed Lakers fan, would like to see more. “I liken Cameron to Kobe Bryant,” Luper said. “We’ve got Kobe. We need Derek Fisher, Ron Artest and Lamar Odom, we need those guys to step up.”
  • Offensive line coach Jeff Grimes knows the challenge his group is up against. "They’re very, very physical up front with guys who can run," he said. "They’re not just a bunch of fast guys. They’re guys who want to whip you at the point of attack. They play with a lot of confidence."
  • Chizik issued the physical challenge to the offensive line prior to the South Carolina game. Grimes has continued to press the issue since. "Once you have success, you want to do it more," he said. "You feel more confident when you do it because you’ve had success. And because you’ve had success, you play harder and play with more confidence and you make more yards."
  • Brandon Mosley, who replaced an injured A.J. Greene at right tackle, has come along the last few weeks. Grimes has been impressed how much he has adjusted, having not played much offensive line at Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College. "To his credit, he was really making improvement before he had his opportunity," Grimes said. "That’s a credit to him because a lot of guys get in that situation and they either settle in to where they are or even regress. He went the other way. He was ready for it."
  • A big focus on the offensive line this week is to account for LSU defensive tackle Drake Nevis, who has 38 tackles, 11.5 TFLs and 5 sacks. 'He’s got the total package," Grimes said. "He’s very powerful. He’s got a very physical mindset in how he plays the game. He’ll stuff you at the point of attack. And he’ll stone a double team without giving up any movement. He’s the kind of guy who will jump around a block and make a play."
  • Nevis compares favorably to Nick Fairley statistically, although he's a smaller build. "I think they have a lot of similarities in how they play the game," Grimes said. "They’re different builds, but the thing that is similar in both of them is when the ball is snapped, the kids are looking for the football in a hurry."
  • Grimes made a good point about why offenses are thriving these days: "It certainly helps to have a big quarterback who is a part of that. That’s what we always wanted to do: A quarterback the defenses had to account for. That’s a big reason you’ve seen offenses score more points in the last few years. We’ve leveled the playing field again. Instead of playing 10 on 11, we’re playing 11 on 11 in a lot of cases now."
  • Nobody was quite sure if defenders would be able to tackle Newton in the spring. Everybody's been getting an answer these first few months. "Coach Chizik blew the whistle all the time and we'd say, 'Hmmm. I don't know if they would have tackled him or not,'" Luper said. "Well, the answer is no, we would not have tackled him. As I said before, it takes about a month before we can figure out offensively what we can do and can't do. What our strengths and our weaknesses are. So we've figured it out. A lot of people have figured what the strength of our offense is. We need to build on that strength and be a little more versatile and diverse and do some things and I think we'll show some of that this weekend."
  • McCalebb’s 99-yard kickoff return last Saturday was the longest special teams coordinator Jay Boulware has ever seen that didn’t go for a touchdown. The speedy McCalebb got tripped up at the 1-yard line by an Arkansas defender who had the angle. Boulware credited McCalebb for turning a play not destined for much into a game-changer.“That’s great vision by him,” Boulware said. “We had a guy that actually missed a block right off the bat and he saw it and went out the back door, they overplayed it and here we go.”
  • Auburn's got special teams concerns of its own this week, with the talented Patrick Peterson fielded punts. He's taken two to the house this year. "He’s got it all," Chizik said. "Our guys understand the challenge.”
  • The Tigers had perhaps their best game of kick and punt coverage against Arkansas. "We had a couple games like that when we were at Iowa State, which is the reason why I'm here probably," Boulware joked. "I don't know if it was that good. But we had a couple games where we felt like we dominated in all phases: kickoff coverage, kickoff return, blocked a couple punts. Yeah, that's probably why I'm here."
  • Auburn gunners put a number of big hits on players. "That was a blessing, those big tackles," Boulware said. "I can sit here and say 'scheme' and this, that and the other, but we do the same thing every week. The guys just do a great job of executing it."
  • The players get pumped to be on the kickoff coverage team this year, unlike last season. "It's fun when you go out there, they take a little pride in it and they see themselves having some success. They're running down, making big plays, and that is contagious for the guys. It's contagious for our fans. ... We can create some momentum one way or the other by making a play on special teams. That starts off with kickoff and kickoff return. Every time we kickoff, we've just scored. Every time we kickoff return, they've just scored. We have an opportunity to establish some more momentum or gain some."
  • Boulware thinks it's a matter of containing Peterson. Stopping him altogether will be next to impossible. "We've got to obviously cover him, as best as we possibly can," he said. "I don't think you ever totally contain a player like that. But our young guys have got to be very disciplined this week and do their jobs. Make sure they're in the right lanes."
  • There were 19 kickoffs in the Auburn-Arkansas game. Auburn subbed out guys regularly on the coverage teams. "We try to keep our guys fresh," Boulware said. "We've got a starter here and there on some special teams. And we try to rotate those guys through. My job is to try to keep our team fresh, just like it was last year."
  • Ikeem Means plays on all four special teams units (kickoff, punt return, kickoff coverage, punt coverage). That'll probably change this week as he gets more reps on the regular defense at safety.
  • Fairley, the SEC leader with 13.5 tackles for a loss, earned first-team midseason All-American honors from Sports Illustrated and Phil Steele’s magazine. Newton and left tackle Lee Ziemba also made Steele’s first team. Center Ryan Pugh was a second-team SI pick, along with Newton, and a third-team pick by Steele.
  • Steele also released his midseason All-SEC team. Fairley, Newton, Ziemba, Pugh, right guard Byron Isom and defensive end Antoine Carter made the first team. Wide receiver Darvin Adams and linebacker Josh Bynes were on the second team, while safety Zac Etheridge was named to the third team.
  • Pugh was also named a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award, which recognizes a standout player who also has achievements in the classroom and community.
  • Auburn’s homecoming game Nov. 6 against UT-Chattanooga at Jordan-Hare Stadium will start at 1 p.m. ET and be offered on pay-per-view. The game will be available in Alabama to cable subscribers and small dish owners who subscribe to DirecTV or Dish Network.

1 comment:

scottie burns said...

nice work AB. mucho substancio. buenos noches.