Tigers Go Indoors And Chizik Likes the Result

A report on Auburn's off-week football practice features comments from the head coach plus news and notes.

Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn football team used its new indoor facility for what Coach Gene Chizik said was a "good" two-hour, off-week practice on Thursday night with plenty of focus from his Tigers.

He is going to put the team through a walk-through on Friday morning and then give the players the weekend off.

Commenting on the off-week schedule, which includes four days away from practice, Chizik said, "Everybody has got different ideas, but my idea is that they need to get away and spend the weekend with their families.

"Most of our guys are close enough to be able to do that," the coach noted. "We encourage them to do that, go home and see their parents, their aunts and uncles or grandmas or grandpas. We encourage them to get away and watch football over the weekend."

Chizik said that one of the reasons he wants his players to watch college games on TV is to give them perspective "and embrace the fact that how lucky they are to have the same opportunities."

The coach added, "Sometimes you don't have see that when you are in the middle of it. You step back a little bit and watch games unfold on TV, I?think you have a greater appreciation of that is going to be me next week."

Chizik seemed to appreciate what he saw from the Tigers on Thursday night. "I?thought the players were very attuned to improving," he said. "We finished our practice on a very upbeat, high-energy note, I felt like. We definitely made progress in the last two days in terms of being a better football team."

Commenting on what the Tigers worked on, Chizik said, "A lot of the fundamentals. Offensively, angles of blocks, working to the right people when it comes to the running game. Pass protection-wise, picking up different blitzes and being on the correct leverages when we are picking those blitzes up.

"Defensively, we worked a lot of the base-run fits in stopping the run and a lot of play-action passes that has got us a couple of times this year," he said.

"Special teams-wise we really tried to zero in on some things on our kicking game we started out strong during the season and we have taken a little step back in our kickoff return game. We got some of those things ironed out, I feel like today."

Chizik said the two practices this week have been good and noted having the new indoor facility "made all of the difference in the world" in the quality of work the Tigers were able to accomplish on Thursday night. "I thought the players were really focused," the coach said. "It was one of the few days we have had to go in because of the weather."

The coach said he has seen no signs that his team is a threat to get too emotionally high too soon for the rivalry game coming up vs. Georgia. "For our guys, I think it is has been instilled in them for three years now we don't want you to be gameday ready until it is gameday. We literally live in the world of one day at a time.

"Although they will be excited when they go home, and they may think about it before they sleep, while they are out there practicing they are really focused on trying to get better at their trade.," Chizik said. "They have been really good about that even though there are a lot of young guys out there. I think they understand the need for improvement. That is our focus every day.

"The game is so far away right now I don't think at this point in time you get really excited for the game," he added. "You have got to get to practice and do the little things that give you a chance to win. That is where they are at."

In other news and notes:

*Carolina Panthers offensive lineman Lee Ziemba, who is off this weekend, was a visitor to Thursday night's practice.

*It will be next week before kickoff time is set for the Georgia game. CBS has the first selection for its 2:30 p.m. Central time slot. ESPN has the second selection for its 6:45 p.m. time slot. Other possibilities are 5 p.m. on ESPN2 or 11 a.m. on CBS.

*Onterio McCalebb leads the Southeastern Conference for receptions by a running back with 23. He is closing to double his combined total from his freshman and sophomore seasons. He made six catches in 2009 and seven last season.

*Michael Dyer has rushed for 989 yards this season with an average per game of 109.9 per contest. That ranks him third in the league in yards per game behind Trent Richardson of Alabama at 123.6 and Marcus Lattimore, who averaged 116.9 yards in seven games this season before being sidelined with an injury.

*Middle linebacker Eltoro Freeman had just three solo tackles and three assists in Auburn's four games played in September. During Auburn's five games in October the senior linebacker made 19 solo tackles with 14 assists.

*Freeman made nine solo tackles with two assists vs. Ole Miss. Not only was it his season high for total tackles, it was the second most in his Auburn career behind the 2009 LSU game when he was in on a dozen stops.

*Middle linebacker Jake Holland was held out of action vs. Ole Miss to give the sophomore time to heal from an assortment of injuries, which include a pair of sprained ankles.

*Of Auburn's 12 regular season opponents, seven currently have winning records, three have losing records and two teams, Mississippi State and Florida, each have 4-4 marks. Utah State (2-5), Florida Atlantic (0-7) and Ole Miss (2-6) are the opponents with losing records.

*Cody Parkey is 6-6 on field goals of less than 40 yards and 5-8 on attempts of 40 yards or longer. Parkey, who says he feels comfortable kicking field goals beyond 50 yards out, has a longest attempt this season for 47 vs. Florida Atlantic, a kick he missed.

Gene Chizik video interview:

Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories