Tigers Stay Busy at Day 2 Of Football Drills

Comments from players and coaches are featured in this report on Auburn's second preseason football practice.

Auburn, Ala.--Coach Gene Chizik gave Auburn's second preseason practice a thumbs up, but noted his young players were "swimming a little bit more" through the drills trying to figure out what to do as the Tigers installed more of the offense, defense and kicking game on Thursday evening.

In a two-hour plus workout at the new outdoor practice field, the Tigers drilled in shorts. On Friday they will put on shoulder pads for the first time in preseason and turn up the intensity.

"I think the older guys had a really good practice and again the energy level was there," Chizik said. "They were trying to focus and do the little things the right way, which is what it is going to take for us to win."

The head coach said the Tigers will get a more realistic picture of where the team is at after the pads go on at practice.

Sophomore running back Mike Dyer said he has been impressed with how the Tigers have practiced the first two days. On Friday evening the Tigers will put the pads on for the first time since spring training.

"Everybody is anxious to see what we are going to do in pads tomorrow," Dyer said. "A lot of people are trying to figure out where they stand."

Dyer pointed out the first two practices have been focused on installing plays and working on timing. He said that he and other players can become better players by sweating the details in those practices and notes that from what he has seen a lot of players have been "in their playbooks" to learn assignments. He said that explains why the Tigers have looked relatively smooth to start practice considering this is a youthful team looking to replace 18 starters.

"We are just trying to get the feel for it again," said Dyer, a Freshman All-SEC selection last season who broke Bo Jackson's rushing yardage record for an AU freshman.

"I just feel for myself, I have gotten better in a lot of areas," Dyer said. "We are just ready to go out there and play."

The tailback said he is not the slightest bit concerned about predictions the Tigers will struggle this fall, including forecasts that Auburn will drop from 14-0 last season to six or fewer wins in 2011. He noted that people have a right to their opinions, but said he doesn't believe his Tigers will be way own this year.

Dyer said despite the loss of quarterback Cam Newton the Tigers should be productive again in 2011 after leading the SEC in scoring last year. "We are going to miss Cam because he brought a lot to our offense, but I think a lot guys on this team are really ready to show what they have."

Dyer will have at least four new starters on the offensive line blocking for him. Chizik said from what he has seen so far he is encouraged by the possibilities for the offensive front.

A.J. Greene opened the 2010 season as a starter at right tackle before being lost for the season with a knee injury in game three. The redshirt senior is pushing for a starting assignment at left tackle this season.

Freshman center Reese Dismukes has added size and strength since arriving on campus in January as an early high school graduate. He is up to 6-3, 297 pounds.

In other news:

*Chizik said that junior defensive tackle Derrick Lykes, who has been dismissed from the team, will not be given an opportunity to return. The head coach didn't give specifics other than to say the former Chilton County High star broke a team rule. "He will no longer be with Auburn," Chizik said.

Derrick Lykes

*Lykes has barely played since arriving at Auburn and was expected to be jumped on the depth chart by true freshmen like Gabe Wright. The head coach said he likes what he is seeing from the former Carver High star from Columbus, Ga.

"He is really, really working every day like he is going to take someone's position," Chizik said. "That is the way every one of them need to think."

*Under Armour All-American Erique Florence said he is excited that the Tigers are finally into preseason drills after being on campus since May when he graduated from Valley High School. The 6-2, 187-pound safety said he is excited about his opportunity to contribute to the team as a freshman.

Florence said it is up to him to prove to the coaches in practice he is ready to play on defense or special teams. "Everyone goes out thinking I am going to work hard today, tomorrow and the next day. When everyone has the same mentality, it is up to me outdo the person beside me. Auburn is about competition and being physical."

Florence said the early start with his college classes has been a good idea. "The football part is great, but working toward my education is even better."

*Offensive guard John Sullen said that he is currently 325 pounds, which he noted is a good weight for him as he tries to break into the starting lineup. The former Auburn High School star is getting snaps with the first unit.

*Dyer had praise for a pair of freshmen on offense, Quan Bray and Sammie Coates. Both are receivers although Bray may get some spot duty at running back or wildcat QB.

*Chizik said that although South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier has banned Twitter for his players, he said that he will let his players do it as long as they are not causing a problem for the team. Issues will be looked at on a case by case basis, the coach noted.

*Offensive guard Thomas O'Reilly, who missed spring training after having shoulder surgery, has been cleared for full contact. He was an early high school grad who enrolled at Auburn in January. The Under Armour All-American is from Pope High in Marietta, Ga.

*Another guard, redshirt freshman Ed Christian, is making progress from his knee and back problems that forced him to miss spring training. Chizik said he is looking forward to seeing what the former Lowndes High star from Valdosta, Ga., will do when the pads go on.

*The Tigers are scheduled to practice again on Friday starting at 5 p.m. and will have a 5 p.m. start on Saturday before taking Sunday off.


Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories