War Eagle Extra has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 4 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Late night practice notes: Auburn stars feeling refreshed after light weekend of work

A couple of Auburn's stars felt refreshed after carrying a lighter load than usual in Saturday's 52-3 win against Louisiana-Monroe.

After being Auburn's primary ballcarrier the first four weeks, quarterback Cam Newton was delighted not to have to fill that role against ULM.

The junior didn't have a designed run all afternoon. His only carry was a sack that lost 11 yards.

Although he lost the SEC lead in rushing, he felt refreshed Sunday morning.

"I felt great," he said. "The game spoke for itself. I really didn’t take too many shots and I think that goes to the game plan that was put in place."

Defensive end Antoine Carter, meanwhile, found out last Thursday he would have Saturday off. The senior dressed out but didn't play.

"It wasn't chillin'," he said. "Just making sure my backup was doing the right thing. Just watching the young guys, coaching them up a little bit. It's a mental game."

Carter has five tackles for a loss, three sacks and 12 quarterback hurries this year, but he got nicked up through the first few weeks, which is why coaches gave him the afternoon off.

"Just a minor setback for a major comeback," Carter said, not giving specifics of his injury. "Just sitting out that game so I can be all right for the rest of the season."

Follow the blog on Twitter and Facebook.

Here are some other notes and quotes from the late round of interviews:
  • Linebacker Craig Stevens practiced throughout his two-game suspension to start the season, but he didn't get as many reps as before. It was almost as if he was a freshman again. "Something like that," he said. "An older freshman."
  • Stevens, a preseason second-team All-SEC pick, thinks he's shaken of the rust since Gene Chizik sat him down two games for undisclosed reasons. After struggling in his first action back against Clemson, the senior has had two decent games, getting in on eight tackles. "I have my legs back under me," he said. "The first game, I felt like I was thrown into the fire. My legs were dead. It took a while to get back into the flow of things. I feel like I'm back now."
  • Cornerback T'Sharvan Bell (who I'll have more on for Tuesday's paper) worked with the first team some today. He's essentially a third starter at corner. He went in the game on the opening possession last week after Neiko Thorpe got rocked on Auburn's first kickoff. "He got jacked pretty good, so that’s what got me into the game," Bell said. "Because his eyes were like wandering.”
  • Defensive coordinator Ted Roof said Bell has made big strides this year. "He committed himself to the game, learning the game and becoming more physical," he said. "He missed a couple of plays the other day, but he’s playing better and playing more consistent."
  • Roof, on freshman linebacker Jake Holland finishing with three tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery in his first action. “He looked like he belonged.”
  • Lots of young guys got in the game Saturday, which was valuable. "It was a good for those guys to get some experience because you never know when it’s going to be their turn for the duration, not just for a backup role or a substitution role," Roof said. "They’re one ankle away from carrying the torch."
  • DT Nick Fairley leads the SEC in sacks (5) and tackle for a loss (11.5). While his teammates say they always knew he had the talent to be a force. "I'm not saying I've gotten all the attention," he said. "The guys around me have helped me, for real. If it weren't for Antoine Carter a couple of times, the quarterback would have been stepping out of the pocket."
  • One key? Playing angry. "You've got to be angry," he said. "You can't be nice playing in the trenches. If you come up being nice, they're going to bully you around. I just think about something to motivate you. Just what I'm doing this for, something like that."
  • Steven said Fairley is a talker, too. "I'd say he's one of the top guys -- especially down there," he said. "You have to be nasty down there. You can't be a nice guy playing d-line."
  • 'When told Zach Clayton doesn't seem like a mean guy, Stevens said: "He's not mean talking, but the way he plays is violent. You saw that suplex he had last week."
  • Fairley said linemen smell blood when they see a guy slow getting up. "When you see them getting up real slow, you're like, 'We've got them right where we want 'em,'" he said. "Just keep on tackling him. It won't be long before he gets out of there."
  • Linebacker Josh Bynes didn't know where Auburn was ranked. When told the Tigers were eighth, he quickly shot back, "I don't even care. There ain't nothing to it."
  • Other players echoed similar refrains. "We know we can’t be looking ahead, but of course everyone’s goal is to be No. 1 at the end of the year," tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen said. "We’re taking it slow. It’s nice that we’re getting some respect and being in the spotlight, but we know that we’ve got a lot of work to do."
  • Don't know if anyone remembers this (OK, they probably do), but Kentucky beat Auburn last year. It didn't sit right with some players. "They came into our house and beat us last year and we’re going to try and do the same thing to them and get after them and not let what happen last year happen this year," Lutzenkirchen said.
  • Bell had similar thoughts: "I think there’s always a chip on your shoulder. You’ve got to have an edge. There’s that sour taste in your mouth you want to get out of your mouth.”
  • Kentucky has two dangerous players who gouged Auburn last year: running back Derrick Locke and athlete Randall Cobb, who plays several positions. Bynes said the key is to hit them. Repeatedly. "You’ve got to hit them straight in the mouth," he said. "You’ve got to hit them dead in the legs. You’ve got wrap them up. Do something. With that head ducking and all that other stuff, you’ve just got to hit them. You’re going to have to hit Locke, hit the fullback and when Randall Cobb catches the ball, you’ve got to hit him and not take his legs out from under him. That’s why you see us miss a lot of tackles because we do some dumb tackles, which is very stupid. I think we need to go ahead and lean into them, wrap up and make the tackles."
  • Roof again emphasized that tackling will be key. "We’ve got to do a better job in wrapping up," he said. "The key example was Daren Bates on third down. He went low and if he had just stayed high he was in good position. We’ve been working on it, but it didn’t happen, and as a result of that, we stayed on the field. That’s a big point of emphasis."
  • Auburn is 5-0. Bynes, to steal a phrase from Roof, is not satisfied. "I know we're not satisfied," he said. "We was down two times and won and now people think it's going to be the same outlook as last year was. And obviously our mindset is not. It's a brand new year. It's not the same mindset as '09. It's 2010. And we just have our mindset that we're hungry and we're still motivated for more. We're not satisfied where we're at in the polls. We're not satisfied until we not only get to an SEC championship game but win it. And also go further beyond that. So we're just going to take it one day, one snap and one opportunity at a time."
  • Guard Mike Berry diagnosed last year's dropoff after a 5-0 start, when the team lost three straight: "We were looking forward to the rest of our games that year. We've bought in more. I'm not saying we didn't buy in last year, but we know that we're working towards a goal and we're on track to be able to get to that goal."
  • On last TV note: the Auburn-Kentucky game will be televised by ESPN2. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. ET.

1 comment:

Tar Heel Tiger said...

Players have a great attitude. I hope we can contain Locke & Cobb.
That game last year still torques my jaw.