Practice Two: Auburn Football News and Notes

News, notes and quotes from Auburn football practice 2011 are featured.

Auburn, Ala.--With tailback Tre Mason qualifying academically, Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn says that another freshman, Quan Bray, will focus on playing wide receiver this season for the Tigers.

Bray, a versatile prospect who was ranked as a four star running back by Scout.com as part of Auburn's top-rated 2011 signee class, spent most of his time at quarterback last season. That will make him a candidate to run the football in Malzahn's "wildcat" formation offense as the guy taking the direct shotgun snap from the center.

"Quan is a receiver, but he has running back skills so he gives us a versatility to do some things after he picks up the offense."

Mason is expected to compete with running back Anthony Gulley Morgan for playing time this fall to give the Tigers depth at a position they were short on bodies at last year and in the spring. Morgan made the move from cornerback to offense in spring training this year.

Bray's new teammates at Auburn, including the leading returning receiver Emory Blake, have singled out Bray for praise and note he should be a fun player to watch develop.

Bray joined another freshman wide receiver, Sammie Coates, in catching punts at Thursday evening's Auburn practice. Both have excellent speed and good hands.

In other news and notes from day two of Auburn's preseason football practices:

*The Tigers got a nice break from the heat wave on Thursday. They had a cooling breeze on the outdoor practice fields with rain clouds in the area, but no rain on campus.

*Sophomore punter Steven Clark had a solid day kicking the ball on Thursday and was consistently getting good hang time. He is the favorite to win the vacant spot where Ryan Shoemaker was the starter last year as a senior.

*Safety Erique Florence is off to a good start in practice. The freshman from Valley High School got some work with the first team defense at practice two. He is a smooth athlete with excellent closing speed.

*Tre Mason, the freshman running back from Lake Worth, Fla., is really hustling on the practice field to try to get the attention of the coaches. He got some work on kickoff returns this evening.

*In the kickoff coverage drills, a big point of emphasis was getting the proper spacing so there will not been a seam for opposing returner to make a big play.

*Defensive line coach Mike Pelton is spending a lot of time with this guys working on hand position, balance and pre-snap reads.

Christian Westerman, the true freshman offensive line, got work on the left side of the line this evening. He is getting a shot at both guard and tackle.

*Greg Robinson, the freshman offensive tackle from Thibodaux, La., is one of the more imposing physical specimens on the practice field. He was working at left tackle this evening.

*The quarterbacks continued to work on basics with Gus Malzahn in the Thursday practice. The offensive coordinator said that true freshman Kiehl Frazier is off to a good start helped by his knowledge of Auburn's offensive system. Frazier's team, Shiloh Christian, ran a variation of Malzahn's offense and the quarterback led his team to three consecutive state championships.

*Jake Holland said that he feels like he has a much better knowledge of how to play middle linebacker for Auburn than he did at this time last year. The true sophomore said he is currently 240 pounds, a bit higher than he plans to be at for the opener. He noted he gained the weight on purpose so he wouldn't get too light going through the heat of August practices.

Angelo Blackson is shown during a Thursday evening drill.

*Angelo Blackson, the freshman defensive tackle from Philadelphia, Pa. and Red Lion Christian Academy in Delaware, said he is currently 6-5, 326 pounds. He said so far so good in his adjustment to being a student and a football player at Auburn. He notes that he likes his position coach, Mike Pelton. Blackson said his goal is to get to 320 pounds this season.

*Blackson, who was also a Division I basketball prospect, said he believes he made the right decision to play football. He said playing hoops helped him with playing football. He notes that he went from 245 to 307 pounds in one summer and that told him that basketball wasn't going to be his sport even though he got an offer from Syracuse.

*Dee Ford said he is happy with how his weight gaining project is going this summer. He said today he was up to 242 pounds. He notes that he has gained three pounds this week. Dee was a small defensive end when he arrived at Auburn as a freshman. He said he was around 205-210 when he got here.

*On the subject of weight gain, defensive coordinator Ted Roof said that freshman Anthony Swain is up to 235 pounds, prompting the move from safety where he played in high school at Gadsden City to outside linebacker at Auburn.


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