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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Late night notes: WR Trovon Reed improving, says bruised kneecap is '80 percent' healthy

Wide receiver Trovon Reed made his college debut Saturday against Clemson, but the freshman said his bruised left knee cap is still only about 80 percent healthy.

Reed, the team’s top receiver in last year’s signing class, missed the first two games but played Saturday, carrying the ball twice for eight yards out of the Wildcat formation.

“It was still hurting when I got in there,” he said. “I just wanted to see how tough I really was and I got in there and tried to do my best.”

Reed bruised his kneecap just before the start of the season. Although there’s no ligament damage, he said it’s sore.

“When I try to make a cut, I feel a sharp pain that will make me pull up from full speed,” he said.

The Wildcat role helps. Reed doesn't have to make as many cuts after taking the direct snap. Barring a setback, Reed said he should be back to full strength in two weeks.

“I just feel like it’s a minor setback for a major comeback,” he said.

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Some other notes and quotes:
  • John Sullen worked with the ones in practice at right tackle in place of the injured A.J. Greene, who as we wrote earlier is likely out for the season with an injured left ankle. Junior college tackle Brandon Mosley, who replaced an injured Lee Ziemba two weeks ago at Mississippi State, worked with the twos. “Everybody is going to have an equal opportunity,” Sullen said. “I would say it’s probably more of a battle again. I’m going to do whatever it takes to get it.”
  • Sullen said he's confident he can do the job. "I went through most of camp at right tackle so I know everything and I have to know it if coach (Gus) Malzahn asks me if I can do it."
  • Sullen felt bad for Greene, who separated himself from the pack for the starting job at the end of August. “It hurt his pride more than it did his leg,” Sullen said. “He just worked so hard throughout the summer, won the starting spot and then to go out like that, it hurt him.”
  • Craig Stevens didn’t have a storybook return from a two-game team-imposed suspension Saturday. In fact, the senior looked out of sorts. “Craig can be a lot better this Saturday,” defensive coordinator Ted Roof said. “He’s got to be a lot better this Saturday. It was good to get him back, but he was rusty.”
  • Stevens finished with only two tackles. He over-pursued on a number of occasions and whiffed on a tackle on Clemson’s first scoring play, an 8-yard shovel pass to running back Jamie Harper. “I know I probably didn’t play my best the first game of the season,” middle linebacker Josh Bynes said. “I know he’s getting back into the thick of things, and he’ll have a better game this week.”
  • Eltoro Freeman started in Stevens’ place the first two weeks and led the team with 15 tackles. Freeman got a limited number of snaps Saturday but didn’t make a tackle. Despite Stevens’ struggles, Roof didn’t consider replacing him. “It didn’t come to that,” he said.
  • Roof's assessment of the defense: "We need to put four quarters together like the third quarter."
  • Roof again said he wants to get Bynes some more down time in the middle. The senior came out on a few dime plays Saturday, replaced by true freshman Jessel Curry. The concern is that Bynes could get worn down throughout the season, taking so many hits. "Hopefully, you’re giving more than you’re taking," Roof said. "That’s the No. 1 goal. It takes its toll because you have only so many collisions in you. The body won’t go on forever. The kids here are conditioned to play. You can’t play physical on Saturday unless you practice physical during the week, so we have to do that as well."
  • On Curry playing that dime backer role: "We’re going to need them this season – we don’t know when – but at some point we’re going to need them," Roof said. "We want to get guys ready for when their opportunity comes on a larger scope, that they’re prepared for it."
  • Both Roof and Chizik want more interceptions from their secondary. Actually, any interceptions.. Roof said interceptions usually come in zone coverages and Auburn has played more man-to-man this year. Still, "we haven’t been getting the takeaways we got last year, so we’ve to continue to stress that and find ways to get that done," he said.
  • Cornerback T'Sharvan Bell on the lack of interceptions by the secondary. “Maybe they’re scared of the secondary. Nah, just kidding. I don’t know. I just think we haven’t made as many plays as we should have. We’ve got to be hard on ourselves about making plays when we need to."
  • South Carolina has some big receivers. Starters Alshon Jeffery is 6-4. Tori Gurley is 6-5. D.L. Moore is 6-5. "It’s going to be a challenge," Bell said. "We haven’t faced tall receivers like these yet, but we’re just going to work on our technique, probably playing through the basket more and just keeping our eyes on the receivers and keeping our eyes out of the backfield.”
  • “I think it just comes down to technique. We’ve got a great cornerback coach and he always just tells us technique, technique, technique. He came in and told me, ‘Hey, you did good, but your technique wasn’t where it needs to be, so this week we’ve got to step up because they’re bigger more physical receivers. It’s going to be more difficult playing these guys this week.”
  • The key, Bell said, is in technique. "If you’re jumping up with him and you play through the basket, he’ll never catch the ball. Just say I’m on the receiver and I’m guarding him and I’m in good position and he looks up for the ball and I look up for the ball. And his arms go out to make the catch. I just want to come right through his hands, swipe between his hands, anything I can do to get the ball out of the basket."
  • Roof is impressed with South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore: "He breaks a lot of tackles. He gets a lot of yards after contact. That’s one of the marks of a great backs – they get a lot of yards after contact. He’s certainly done that."
  • Bynes said Lattimore is "just another SEC back." He immediately clarified his statement, making sure it wasn't taken as an insult. "Not to say that he's nothing, don't take it the wrong way," he said. "SEC backs are better, they're faster, they run hard, they're very good backs. And that's what we're getting in the SEC at every level, no matter what SEC team you're playing. That's the type of SEC back he is. He's powerful, he's definitely got some elusiveness to him, and he definitely does a good job executing the run."
  • I'll have more on this later this week, but Mike Dyer commented about Lattimore, who he got to know through the recruiting process when they almost became teammates at Auburn. Of course there are going to be comparisons about the two this week. "I’m not the type of person to make things bigger than what they are," Dyer said. "It doesn’t bother me none. Just another freshman that’s on the opposite team. He’s trying to do the same thing I’m trying to do, win for our team, do what we can. And I respect him for that. I don’t have any hard feelings against him."
  • Dyer started for the first time Saturday. He knew he was capable of it after he played in the opener. "I kind of knew after the first game," he said. "I just never said anything about it. I just kind of went through the routine.”
  • Dyer agreed with Chizik that the tailback running game has to get going, even though he and Onterio McCalebb combined for 150 rushing yards last week. "We need to really just go out there and take the game slow, not try to go too fast," Dyer said. "We’ve been kind of missing key reads and we need to hit the holes right. Other than that, we just need to calm down, take it easy and just pace a little and we should be good."
  • Dyer thinks he and McCalebb compliment each other well. "He has a unique style of he’s quicker, he’s a special back," he said. "He can just go out there and make you miss quick because he’s a special back. Once you’re tired of tackling him, it’s my turn to get the ball. And by that time, you’re probably already tired. It just works out really the best, when one guy goes in and you’re tackling him then another guy goes in and you usually have the same people tackling the same guy. So it’s kind of frustrating sometimes for them, but good for us."
  • Chizik said McCalebb is OK after being knocked woozy on a play near the sideline in overtime.
  • Chziik said running back Mario Fannin (shoulder) is "day-by-day." Fannin dressed but did not play against Clemson.
  • Asked if Fannin was on the move again, Chizik didn't really give a definitive answer. "The great thing about Mario is he's got a lot of flexibility to do several things. He's up for whatever helps the offense. Whatever his role may be; tailback, fly/sweep guy, a wideout type position, because he can do all of them. We're going to put him where, obviously, it best suits us and him. He's up for all that." Does that mean he's switching positions? "He could. He can do it all. He can do it all."
  • Count quarterback Cam Newton among those disappointed by the offense's slow start Saturday. "I was very disappointed on different accounts -- starting with myself, the throws I felt like I could have made and didn't," he said. "As an offense, we've got to improve. We still haven't reached our capability. We can't continuously put ourselves in the situation we have been. Sooner or later, our luck will run out."
  • Newton only threw the ball 14 times in the game. Asked if that was more or less than he thought, he reverted to a bunch of cliches. "I'm just trying to win a football game," he said. "It's not up to me. I'm doing what I'm coached to do. If it's to run it 100 times a game and throw it once, I'm all for it. If we get the W, you won't hear nothing from me."
  • Newton was asked if he wanted to spread the ball out to more receivers. Only three players caught passes Saturday. Darvin Adams caught five, Terrell Zachery one (a big one) and Eric Smith one. His response? Another weird non-answer: "It's not up to me, sir. It's Coach Malzahn. Gustav Malzahn." I'd categorize that as being a no comment rather than a dig at Malzahn.
  • Asked to supply a low point and high point from Saturday's game, Newton said, "Low point -- we're down 17-0. High point -- we won 27-24."
  • Newton described this scene at halftime: "Looking around at halftime, everybody was just looking for something. By looking at everybody's faces, it was completely different than what their faces were before the game. We have seen what they had to offer. We're still in the game. We haven't even done close to what we're capable of what we're doing. You can't even imagine how this game could turn out if we just start being accountable for what we're doing. Everybody has an excuse. Mine was: We've got the next drive. The days for those, for that statement, is over. Everybody has to be accountable and step up to the plate and do their job."


Tar Heel Tiger said...

That's a week's worth of information in one very late night update. Thanks, AB!

Tar Heel Tiger said...

“It hurt his pride more than it did his leg,”

I beg to differ.

Clint Richardson said...

All I see that S.Carolina has is a good running back, a good running defense, and a stupid quarterback that goes nuts when he has the slightest of pressure. If we can stick to these recievers and get some pressure on Garcia, we just have to get the offense going. Cam never has gone through any kind of adversity as a quarterback. This is his first year for that. I don't personally know him, so I dont know how he will respond to this. I just hope he can and will and can become more of a leader for this team and offense and start scoring some more.

What was with Malzhan play calling again? Are we going back to a simple, basic offense again??? And reverses don't work anymore, I think everyone knows that now.

Tar Heel Tiger said...

"Auburn is favored by 2.5 at some places."

wow. The people in "some places" haven't watched the same AU and SC teams that I've watched thus far.

Andy Bitter said...

Vegas always figures 3 points for homefield advantage. On a neutral field, South Carolina would be the favorite.

Tar Heel Tiger said...

I wonder what kind of odds Vegas has put on when (if?) AU puts together a strong game on both sides of the ball.

Or when (if?) AU will win the turnover stat.

Anonymous said...

So what's up with that Newton quote about throwing it only to Adams? What is your take on that, Andy? Seems like a strange thing to say.

Andy Bitter said...

I think Newton is just being deferential to Malzahn. He doesn't want to speak out of line on anything.

When it comes to play-calling or decision stuff, he always refers those questions to Malzahn. Did it a couple times earlier in the interview too.

Anonymous said...

Well, that makes me feel better. It was more a "no comment" than throwing Gus under the bus.

Andy Bitter said...

Yeah, I'd say that.

AUsome04 said...

Great job AB. Newton just needs to calm down and go through the progressions. He missed TZac wide open in overtime when he tried to force it to Darvin in the end zone.

Aeronaut said...

AUsome04 said...<...> He missed TZac wide open in overtime when he tried to force it to Darvin in the end zone.

I don't know who started this 'TZac was wide open' thing. At snap TZac was on the right, he motioned over after the snap for the fake handoff.

When Newton was throwing the ball TZac was still 4 yards behind the LOS (and 10 yards from first down marker).