AU Spring Scrimmage One: Notes and Quotes

A report on Auburn's first major scrimmage of spring football is featured.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn's punt return production has been a sore spot the past two seasons for head coach Gene Chizik, who is putting a major emphasis on that part of the kicking game this spring.

Wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor, who is in charge of the punt returners, said he liked what he saw from the group during Auburn's scrimmage on Saturday.

"They actually did a nice job," he said of the foursome that includes receiver Trovon Reed, receiver Quindarius Carr, cornerback Jonathan Mincey and safety Demetruce McNeal.

"Trovon Reed looked really good back there and so did Mincey and so did Quindarius Carr," Taylor said. "We are actually ahead of where were last year because we are more structured and we have more guys who are natural at doing it."

Trooper Taylor

However, the Auburn coach noted he is not satisifed. "We really have to improve on decision-making," Taylor said. "We went live today because we had officials at the scrimmage. It was good to see those guys make some plays. It is difficult because (the coverage teams) have on different color jerseys and it is hard to see who is blocking for you and not, but you want to strain the returners as much as possible in practice.

"It is important to improve the decision-making process on when to catch the football and not let it hit the ground let it roll 18 to 20 yards," Taylor added. "That is big for us."

In other notes from Saturday's scrimmage:

*Taylor said that DeAngelo Benton, who will be a junior this fall, is making progress. "DeAngelo is having his best spring so far and not only with his playmaking--his leadership is improving, too. It was tough for him in the past when he was behind Darvin Adams when you know no matter what you do it is going to be hard to pass the other guy ahead of you.

"The experience he got from the bowl game and the other times he has been in when we were ahead, that has all paid off for him as has being on the team with Darvin the past two years," Taylor added.

*Taylor also had praise for other receivers. "Emory Blake had an excellent day," the wide receivers coach said. "He played hard and made some plays with guys all over him. It was really big."

The coach said he saw some good things from Carr, too, who he noted caught a touchdown pass in the scrimmage along with Blake and Philip Lutzenkirchen, the returning starter at tight end who is getting work at the slot receiver spot.

"Lutz really had an outstanding day today," Taylor said. "Lutz has moved and he is in my room. He is that inside receiver for us where Kodi Burns played last year. He has taken that spot."

*Chris Humphries, a 6-2, 224 walk-on from Somerville, Ala., has played defensive end and linebacker. For his senior season he has moved to fullback and is getting plenty of work there after Eric Smith was kicked off the team over the winter. Humphries, a hard-nosed player, had several nice blocks in the scrimmage.

*New defensive line coach Mike Pelton said he saw a lot of mistakes in the scrimmage that are attributable to youth, but liked the effort. "The desire is there," he said. "They want to be good. They are not satisfied with being mediocre."

*Defensive end Nosa Eguae, who made a sack on Saturday, said he thought if had been a real game he would have had two sacks because when the quarterbacks are in orange jerseys the defenders have to pull up and put on the brakes when they get near the quarterback.

*Another defensive lineman, tackle Jeffrey Whitaker, said that he believes Pelton is doing a good job replacing Tracy Rocker, who was hired by the Tennessee Titans. "Coach Pelton, I believe, was the perfect hire," Whitaker said of the former Tiger All-SEC defensive lineman, who he noted has fit in nicely to his new job.

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