War Eagle Extra has moved!

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

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Late night notes: Shoemaker to start at punter

Senior Ryan Shoemaker will get the nod at punter for Auburn to start the Iron Bowl next Friday.

“Unless he gets into a funk,” special teams coordinator Jay Boulware said. “We’re going to pretty much go with him for right now. He’s a senior. Hopefully, he can get out there and do a solid job for us.”

Auburn has juggled its punters this year. Shoemaker started the year but was mediocre, giving way to freshman Steven Clark in the sixth week.

Clark averaged only 34.9 yards per punt, prompting the coaches to go back to Shoemaker two weeks ago against Chattanooga.

The senior averaged 42.5 yards on two punts against Georgia, although one that should have been downed at the 1-yard line was knocked into the end zone.

Auburn’s net punting ranks 99th nationally. Boulware said his punters kick it better in practice than games, which is frustrating.

“Not with Steven so much,” Boulware said. “He’s a young kid. He has a lot of technical things he has to fix. It’s really hard for a freshman punter to play … and do really well.

“Shoemaker — he’s inconsistent. I’ve been working really hard with him the last couple weeks trying to get him up to speed.”

Follow the blog on Twitter and Facebook.

Here are some more notes and quotes from Thursday's practice:
  • Injured safety Aairon Savage won’t return in time for the Iron Bowl, head coach Gene Chizik said. Savage had surgery after breaking a bone in his right ankle against Arkansas. His hope was to get back in time for the Alabama game, although Chizik said a more realistic goal is the bowl game. “Don’t know that we’ll get there or not, but we’ll continue to try to work in that direction,” he said. Savage was granted a sixth year of eligibility after losing back-to-back seasons to ACL and Achilles’ injuries.
  • Defensive line coach Tracy Rocker didn’t mince words when it came to senior defensive linemen Michael Goggans and Mike Blanc getting ejected at the end of the Georgia game for throwing punches. “Just meeting with both of them, I made it clear that it was an embarrassment,” Rocker said. “That’s not what we teach, it’s not what we’re about. And just to let them know that you affected this team. And y'alls selfish act affected this team. Everybody’s looking at it as a defensive line, but it affects the team. On from that, I have to get it done, get it cleaned up and get the young players ready to go and just keep moving ahead.”
  • Rocker said the reps some of the younger players got this year will help. "The deal is, back early in the year Jeff (Whitaker), Corey (Lemonier), Kenneth Carter, a lot of those guys were all wondering, ‘Am I going to get more snaps?’" Rocker said. "They come in the office, ‘Coach, I only played six snaps. I only played seven.’ I said, ‘I guarantee you by November you’ll be up to 18.’ And they’re all at 18 so I feel good about that and the thing is they understand the game, they’ve been on the road, they’ve played on the road now, they’ve played at home, they’ve been in close knit games so now it’s just a matter of going out there and doing the things within the structure of the defense and performing."
  • Auburn has spent the last two nights practicing at Jordan-Hare Stadium instead of at the athletic complex and will continue to do so leading up to the Iron Bowl. “It’s good to practice under the lights, a little bit of change of venue,” Chizik said. “We’ll continue to do that. Change of pace. Haven’t done it all year.” Chizik said it didn’t have anything to do with construction on the new indoor practice facility, which has begun on the outer portion of the practice fields behind the complex.
  • Auburn has a walkthrough today before taking Saturday off. The Tigers resume practice Sunday and will go through Wednesday. Thanksgiving will be a walkthrough in the morning, followed by a team function. “Then give them a little bit of time away before we get on the buses and head out,” Chizik said.
  • Chizik said there’s a small window for players who live close by to go home and see their families. “What usually happens is their families come here,” he said.
  • Chizik said he'll help anybody on the staff get another coaching job somewhere else. "They understand that if they're fortunate enough to get a different job than this one that, as I've said many times, I want them going out of here kicking and screaming because they love this place so much," he said. " If guys have opportunities, we want them to be great opportunities that they just couldn't pass up."
  • Tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen on his first touchdown catch, which Cam Newton threaded into tight coverage: "Cam threw an unbelievable ball. Even after watching the replay, I’m not sure how he got it there. It was a freak play on his part and I was on the receiving end of it."
  • Linebacker Daren Bates said he popped his right shoulder out and injured his AC joint against LSU, which caused him to miss a few games. Did it hurt? "It did," he said. "It felt like my arm was numb. Felt like I didn’t have an arm for a second."
  • Boulware on Wes Byrum being 2-for-2 in recovering surprise onside kicks: "We do it all the time. That's something we do weekly. We're always looking for ways to take advantage of the opposing team. We have a number of trick plays out there for special teams. We haven't even begin to use even half of them yet. We have used that little thing twice. We've run a couple fake punts. We have a number of plays we practice each week and it's just a matter of when we feel like they're up."
  • Lots of line drawing in the sand about this rivalry. "Coach Chizik said it best on Sunday during our team meeting," Lutzenkirchen said. "If you’re from the state of Alabama, when you’re on the playground at 6 years old, you draw a line and one side is Auburn and one side is Alabama. It’s just a real personal game. It’s going to be a war, so that’s what we’re preparing for."


postermom said...

I hope our special teams will be completely ready for bama to try some of the fake stuff too. I noticed bama handed it off on the end-around to their star receiver against LSU like we did against them last year with T Zach.

Tar Heel Tiger said...

Great report, AB. Thanks!