A-Day 2011: Advantage Defense

The defense allowed just one touchdown at Auburn's annual spring football game.

Auburn, Ala.--It was advantage defense once again as the offense managed just one touchdown in Auburn's A-Day football game on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

As was the case in the previous scrimmages, the two major ones and the two less extensive midweek sessions, the offense struggled to score.

Junior Barrett Trotter was the quarterback for the only touchdown in the game, a 19-yard pass to Philip Lutzenkirchen on the first series of the scrimmage which featured the first offense vs. the first defense.

Trotter, who completed 6-12 passes for 120 yards, should have had better statistics. Several perfect passes he threw were dropped included a would-be touchdown toss to junior wide receiver DeAngelo Benton.

Barrett Trotter is shown in action in the A-Day contest.

Sophomore Clint Moseley, the other Tiger in the quarterback battle, completed 9-15 passes for 82 yards.

After the scrimmage both head coach Gene Chizik and Gus Malzahn, the offensive coordinator, said they aren't ready to name a starting quarterback yet and said the decision may wait until August during preseason drills.

"You would like for it to be done (the quarterback race), but you never can tell," Trotter said.

A week earlier, the defense won the scrimmage 51-15 using the coaching staff's unusual scoring system. On Saturday it was closer with the margin being 63-32 on a sunny and windy day at Jordan-Hare Stadium that featured no blitzing by the defense while the offense didn't go deep into its playbook.

"We definitely did better (on offense) than we did last Saturday," said Trotter, who did a good job throwing the football on a windy day at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Asked what will be the determining factor on who will win the QB job, Malzahn said, "Whoever gives us the best chance of winning."

The scoring system for A-Day and the previous scrimmages awarded six points for a touchdown, three for a field goal, two for an offensive play of 15-plus yards, two points for three consecutive first downs and one point for a PAT. Defensive touchdowns are worth seven points, a turnover that is not a touchdown is worth five points, a sack counts four points, a blocked field goal is worth three points, a tackle for a loss and a three-and-out possession is two points and a blocked PAT is worth a point.

"Overall, we got out of the game healthy and we still have got one day of spring practice yet so it is not the end," said Chizik whose Tigers will hit the field gain on Monday. "We have gotten some things accomplished."

The head coach added, "We are close to being in the direction we felt we needed to be coming here winding spring ball down."

Comparing the A-Day Game to the first two major scrimmages of the spring, Chizik said the Tigers stuck to the basics more for the A-Day Game that was watched by a crowd estimated at 54,290 and a regional TV audience. "It was kind of a base offense, base defense day, let's get some guys out there and let them run around and hit and try to tackle well and block well," he said. "It was more of a generic scrimmage."

Ted Roof

Defensive coordinator Ted Roof noted that his guys played vanilla football on Saturday, but he saw some things he liked on a day when there was no blitzing. "I liked the effort and it looked like the intensity was good," he said. "We are making progress. We have improved a lot since the first scrimmage, but we have a long way to go."

Defensive end Joel Bonomolo, who redshirted last season as a junior, led all of the tacklers with six solos and one assist including two sacks. He worked with the twos and the threes.

Joel Bonomolo (91) is headed for a sack of walk-on quarterback Logan Paul.

Redshirt freshman linebacker LaDarius Owens had five solo tackles and one assist playing with the backups. First team cornerback T'Sharvan Bell had five solos, one assist and one sack.

Redshirt freshman defensive end Justin Delaine, working with the twos and threes, had four solo tackles and two assists.

Anthony Gulley Morgan was the leading rusher on a day when Michael Dyer and Onterio McCalebb spent most of the scrimmage watching on the sideline with the coaches knowing what they can do. Morgan carried the ball six times for 57 yards. Walk-on Davis Hooper had 11 carries for 30 yards and walk-on Chandler Shakespeare ran the ball 12 times for 25 yards. Dyer had three carries for 15 yards.

Lutzenkirchen was the leading receiver with three catches for 51 yards.

"Philip is one of those guys that can play a lot of different things," Chizik said. "He can play an H-back. He can play a tight end. You can move him out. You can move him in. We can put him in some different places because we know he is a great athlete. He has tremendous hands. He has been very productive for us over two years, and he will continue to get better.

"Gus does a great job of moving guys around and putting guys in spots they need to be at to be productive in the offense so we will continue to move him around wherever we need to put him," Chizik added. "We feel strongly that wherever we do put him, he will produce."

Walk-on Chandler Brooks was 3-5 on field goals. He made his three first half kicks with the wind at his back, but was 0-2 in the second half kicking into the brisk wind. Cody Parkey was on the sideline with his leg wrapped. "He is going to be fine," Chizik said. "He is beat up like our defensive tackles." Brooks made field goals of 43, 41 and 48 yards.


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