Frazier And Other Freshmen Getting Attention

A report on Auburn's Tuesday practice includes notes and quotes as the Tigers prepare for their bowl game.

Auburn, Ala.--Kiehl Frazier said he is hoping to use the practices leading up to Auburn's New Year's Eve bowl game as a chance to show the coaches he is ready for an expanded role as quarterback of the Tigers.

The freshman from Springdale, Ark., the 2010 USA Today Offensive Player of the Year, has seen action in all 12 games, but has thrown just a dozen passes. He has completed five for 34 yards and two interceptions.

Frazier's main role has been running the football. He is third on the team in carries with 60 and has netted 272 yards, a 4.5 yards per carry average, with one touchdown.

"We are all splitting reps out there so it is definitely a way for me to show how much I?have progressed since the beginning until now," Frazier said.

Barrett Trotter opened the season as the starter with Frazier running the wildcat formation as a backup. Frazier's role has stayed the same since Clint Moseley replaced Trotter in the starting lineup

With the Tigers having plenty of practice time before they line up against Virginia in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, Frazier said the coaching staff is spending extra time working with the freshmen and other young players this week. "Coach (Gus) Malzahn is trying to put some young guys in there so they can get more reps," he said.

Frazier noted that he goes into practice with the attitude every day that he wants to show the coaches he is ready to be the starter. "For our team to get better, I have to get better personally," he said.

Defensive tackle Jeffrey Whitaker said after having a two-week layoff from football, practice this week feels like the Tigers are starting another season. Frazier agrees. "The (bowl) game is pretty much in next year," the quarterback said. "We are all looking at it like last year is over and we have to progress next year so we can kind of get the goals we set for next year."

Frazier said the offensive players were disappointed in their performance in the regular season finale. "We just know we have to get a lot better," said Frazier, who added that he wasn't pleased with how he performed in the last game.

Head coach Gene Chizik said after Tuesday's practice that the freshman quarterback is getting plenty of attention from the coaches. "He is getting more reps in the regular offense," stated Chizik, who added there is "no question" that the QB is making progress with his overall understanding of the offensive system. Chizik said bowl practices this week are like "spring practice number one" for Frazier and the other first-year players.

The Tigers practiced for two hours in helmets, shorts and shoulder pads on their second day of on-the-field bowl preparations. Chizik said he liked what he saw. "I feel like our practice was upbeat and we got a lot accomplished again staying focused day two more on us and getting better at the fundamentals of the game," the head coach stated.

With fall semester grades reported, Chizik said that "everybody is good to go" for eligibility in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. "They actually did a really good job," he said. "We are proud of how they finished the semester."

Chizik had praise for linebacker Eltoro Freeman after Tuesday's practice. "I am just extremely, extremely proud of him," Chizik said. The coach noted that the senior, who graduated on Monday, made major strides as a football player during the last half of the season.

Eltoro Freeman opened the season as a backup at middle linebacker, but is finishing it as a starter.

Chizik said he has enjoyed watching Freeman become a good football player during the last five or six weeks of the season and playing up to his potential. "He has had a journey, an up and down journey--I think he will tell you that," Chizik said. "He has grown up off the field--unbelievably--and he has grown up on the field.

"That is the great satisfaction in coaching," Chizik added. "They all have different journeys. When he leaves here in a month you can say that guy came in this and he left as an Auburn man--a true Auburn man--and you can't put a price on that."

In other news and notes:

*Chizik said after practice on Tuesday he has several defensive coordinator candidates who would be good fits for the vacant job. The coach did not give a time frame on when he would announce a replacement for Ted Roof. In the interim the head coach is working as the defensive coordinator and coaching linebackers.

*Frazier said that he believes fellow freshman running Tre Mason is ready to step up and play a major role in the offense with starting tailback Michael Dyer suspended from the team. "He is really confident in himself and he thinks he can do it," Frazier said. "Plus, with his size and his speed he has the ability to run inside and outside the tackles for us."

Commenting on Dyer's suspension, Frazier said, "Coach Chizik is a great coach and when he sets guidelines we know that we have to follow them and if we get off some of those guidelines we will be disciplined."

*Walk-on senior running back Davis Hooper has been cleared to practice by Dr. James Andrews. Hooper was put on scholarship on August 15th and suffered an ACL injury on the 16th. He immediately had surgery with a goal of getting back in time for bowl practice and he has accomplished that.

Hooper said he handled contact with no problems in the Tuesday practice. He gives the Tigers a third option at tailback and he also knows how to play fullback. Hooper earned high praise from running backs coach Curtis Luper for his play in spring practice and in the first two weeks of preseason practice.

*Chizik said the coaches still have not decided if they will move anyone else to tailback with Michael Dyer suspended for the bowl game. Quan Bray has gotten some work there and so has walk-on freshman Garrett Harper.

Kris Frost

*Redshirting freshman linebacker Kris Frost, who had preseason shoulder surgery, is practicing, but is limited in what he can do regarding contact.

*Redshirting freshman wide receiver Sammie Coates is able to go through some limited contact in the bowl practices. "He has definitely made a lot of strides," Chizik said.

Video of Coach Gene Chizik:

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