Back to Practice, Back to Basics for Tigers

Comments from Auburn coaches and players are featured in this football practice report.

Auburn, Ala.--As Auburn returned to the football practice field on Wednesday night, coordinator Gus Malzahn said despite major improvement vs. Ole Miss the Tigers still have plenty of work left to do on offense.

"This week we would really like to clean up and shore up the mistakes we made and really try to get better in some areas," he said. "We are focused on us a lot.

"Today was more about us than Georgia," he said. "We will slowly implement that plan (Georgia game plan), but we have got to get better in some areas and that is what we are working hard to do."

Malzahn had praise for quarterback Clint Moseley's performance in the redshirt sophomore's second college start. "He was a lot more relaxed," the coach said. "Playing at home, obviously that helped him, too.

"Our offensive line did a good job," the coach said. "I think he (Moseley) only got hit one time all night. When you are a quarterback and only get hit one time it really makes a difference.

"I thought he did a really good job of managing our offense and not putting the ball in jeopardy, and finding a way to get us in the end zone," Malzahn added.

Auburn began putting in some of the game plan for Georgia, but that wasn't the focus of the practice. "Right now I am more worried about us," Malzahn said. "They have a great defense, we know that. In practice we really focused on us, correcting mistakes. We have played some really good defenses previously this year so it is another one we have to find a way to be balanced against and take what they give us."

Moseley agreed with Malzahn that the Tigers need to improve offensively. "Overall, scoring 41 points, it is tough to say it was a bad night, but at the same time there were things that we did that were just real stupid," the quarterback said of the Ole Miss game. "The penalties are something we have to cut back on and the small mistakes."

The quarterback said he believes having an off-week to focus on details of the offense's execution is important. "That is big because there are so many little things...we are close to hitting a lot more big plays," he said.

"This week is good for us," he added. "Normally we are game-planning and we are on a tight schedule. This week we can rep a play as many times as we have to for it to be a perfect play, and that is what we did today. I think that is really going to help."

Moseley said that he has already started watching video of Georgia's defense. Asked if he was concerned about going against UGA's strong pass rush, he said, "I am very confident in what we can do, especially coming off of last week."

Clint Moseley is shown in action vs. Ole Miss.

Moseley said the Tigers needed some time off before returning to practice, a sentiment that junior cornerback T'Sharvan Bell agreed with on Wednesday night. Bell pointed out the Tigers had a "productive practice" and one of the reasons for it was the players were rested.

"Practice was good," Bell said. "I had fresh legs and was flying around. I think a lot of guys were excited to get back out there and practice."

The Tigers practiced for a little more than two hours on Wednesday in helmets and shorts after taking three days off. Head coach Gene Chizik said, "I thought we had a good practice tonight. We are really kind of going back to the basics and taking a close look in evaluating our football team from top to bottom.

"We worked on Auburn a lot tonight," the coach said. "We started a little bit on Georgia, but mainly we kind of focused in on the basics and the things we need to improve as a team."

Chizik said after his team's win over Ole Miss on Saturday the time was right for an off week. He said he was pleased the Tigers improved their record to 6-3 with a 41-23 victory over the Rebels, but added, "We didn't really play great in a lot of spots."

The Tigers are planning to practice again on Thursday and Friday before taking Saturday off. Chizik said the plan is to strike a balance between teaching, getting players "healed up" and being physical. "We are doing enough physically with the pads on, we think we are getting some things done," he said.

"We are trying to make this so much of a learning week, a teaching week, and kind of going back to some of the fundamentals and basics we were able to really implement all the way back as far as two-a-days go."

In other news and notes:

*This year's Auburn vs. Georgia game will be the 30th in the series played on UGA's campus in Athens where the Tigers have an 18-11 record. Overall, Auburn leads the oldest rivalry in the SEC 54-52-8.

*The last season there wasn't an Auburn-Georgia game was in 1943. The Tigers did not field a squad that year because of World War II.

*Chizik is 1-1 vs. the Bulldogs as head coach of the Tigers. Georgia's Mark Richt is 6-4 vs. the Tigers and has an overall record 102-36 in his 11 seasons as head coach on Athens.

*Richt's winning percentage is .739 in Athens. Chizik's winning percentage in Auburn is .778 with a 28-8 record since taking over the program in 2009.

*Auburn and the Oregon State-Oregon series are tied for the sixth most played rivalry with 114 games played. The leader is the Minnesota-Wisconsin rivalry with 120 games played between the Gophers and Badgers.

Reese Dismukes

*Malzahn and offensive line coach Jeff Grimes said after practice on Wednesday night that true freshman center Reese Dismukes is making progress. "Our center is just as important as our quarterback," Malzahn said. "Reese has to ID?a lot of different things. He is getting better each week and he is playing at a pretty high level right now."

*Steven Clark is ranked No. 2 nationally with his 25 punts downed inside the opposition's 20-yard line. He is four behind leader Ryan Allen of Louisiana Tech.

*Since Chizik took over as head coach of the Tigers for the 2009 season, if his team intercepts a pass the probability of the Tigers winning is 95 percent. Auburn is 19-1 in games an AU player intercepts a pass.

*Redshirt freshman defensive end LaDarius Owens has still not been cleared to play. Chizik said on Wednesday night he isn't sure when Owens will be back. "We will keep our eye on it and see where it goes," he said. The Tigers have two other injured defensive ends, Dee Ford and Justin Delaine, who are out for the remainder of the season.


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