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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Late practice notes: Still no Eric Smith

The big news out of tonight is obviously that WR Tim Hawthorne has left the team. Read about it in this blog post. You would have found out about it even quicker if you followed the blog on Twitter.

But here are some other notes and quotes from Thursday's round of interviews (that picture, by the way, is from last weekend. Auburn practiced outdoors Thursday) ...
  • Running back Eric Smith did not practice again Thursday. Grades should be in tomorrow, so we might get some clarification about his status then. In the meantime, Auburn appears to be planning to go on without him. Several other players have worked in Smith's H-back role, although offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn declined to get specific. " We've got a couple different options," he said. "I don't want to incriminate what we're doing. But we do have a couple different options for that position."
  • Your emergency quarterback in the Outback Bowl will continue to be Kodi Burns, Malzahn said, and not Barrett Trotter, who is back practicing after tearing his ACL last spring.
  • Auburn continues to give its young guys a look and is focusing on fundamentals. "We've slowed down," Malzahn said. "We've had a lot of individual time and we've put a lot of those guys in more team settings than we have, and some of our starters that we know exactly what we've got, we're able to rest them more in team situations, so a lot of times you find out about young guys in team type situations. And our guys have responded pretty well so far." Malzahn said that will probably continue until the team is at the bowl site, when it will jump into Northwestern preparation completely.
  • A month is a long time to prepare. Malzhan wants to guard against putting too much into the offense. "You know, your natural instinct is to do a lot," he said. "You have to be careful not to do too much. I think the best way is to hone on what you really want to do and just try to perfect those things. You've got to continue to do some things like that, but at the same time, you can't get carried away with it too much."
  • In the spring, Auburn's top two receivers looked like they would be Montez Billings and Tim Hawthorne. Now neither are with the program and Darvin Adams and Terrell Zachery are entrenched starters. "I think it's great when kids get opportunities based off of what they do at practice and not based off of what they do in the past," wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor said. "And I think these guys stood up and just grabbed it and ran with it."
  • Trooper raved about DeAngelo Benton again. I'll get out of the way and let him talk: "The kid never got frustrated and never got down on himself. He just continued to work. And I think if you guys watch practice, you'd be able to see, after every play he sprints back. Some of those guys jog. He sprints back. That tells me that it's important to him. And so him being able to make plays, that's going to come. Even when he's out there now, you can hear him telling guys, 'Watch your split.' If you're doing a drill, he tells guys, 'Don't run out of bounds, run upfield. Finish through the catch.' He's starting to sound exactly like me and the other coaches out there. So that lets you know that it's really clicking for him. And then his grades, guys. The kid came in and he's going to have right at a 3.0. Ask anybody in his hometown, they probably wouldn't have been able to give a plug nickel for him to come in and do what he's done academically, socially and, obviously, athletically."
  • Offensive line coach Jeff Grimes usually doesn't gush with praise about players he doesn't think deserve it. Thursday was no exception. Asked if any of the young guys have stood out in the early bowl practices, he said bluntly, "Not yet."
  • Grimes was clearly pleased to get the two JUCO offensive line transfers who signed with Auburn on Wednesday -- Roszell Gayden and Brandon Mosley. "I say both of those guys the same thing, and I’d say it’s their athleticism," Grimes said. "They’re big guys, but they can also move their feet. They can run well. They’re both aggressive guys who show a physical nature about them. I’m really excited about it."
  • Auburn is hoping to get both of them in school this January. That has benefits down the line, especially if either wants to step in immediately next season. "When you can get them in, that’s a huge benefit for two things, "Grime said. "No. 1, getting them here where they can learn the offense, learn the system and the terminology. The other thing is to make sure they’re in the kind of shape you need them to be in to give them that six-to-eight month window with (strength) coach (Kevin Yoxall) and the offseason. It’s big."

1 comment:

War Eagle AC-47 said...

I hope Eric Smith can fix whatever needs fixin' because he has great hands as well as running ability. He is a well-rounded offensive weapon capable of performing all required aspects at a high level of execution.

I thought having Smith, Fannin, McCalebb, Burns and Adams on the field at the same time (along with whoever's at QB) would make us a powerful force.