VanGorder noted that the Tigers had a good practice on Friday as they worked out in shorts, shoulder pads and helmets.
"I really enjoyed the design of it in terms of the different situations we were giving the guys learning how to play situational football, which is really, really critical," the defensive coordinator said. "I think within the fundamentals of the game we are seeing some improvements. There were a lot of good things about this morning."
Asked what he wants to see during the scrimmage that will take place Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium, VanGorder said, "I think the two areas right now we have got to concentrate on are the mental errors--cut down mental errors throughout positions.
"Then, what is directly tied into that, is we can't give up explosive plays," he added. "I would like to see that not happen in this scrimmage. That is very, very important."
Offensive coordinator Loeffler noted he will be looking to see how tough his guys are in Saturday's scrimmage. "We are going to try to go out there try to establish toughness as a mentality," he said. "Brian is going to try to stop the run and we are going to try to run the ball. We will see where we are at. It will be a great evaluation to see where we are at after 10 days."
Loeffler added that he will be watching to see how the offense functions with the coaches on the sidelines instead of in the middle of the action giving instructions.
The offensive coordinator said that looking at the big picture at this point in spring practice that he is happy with the progress.
"We need to continue with our fundamental work, we need to continue with our technique, but generally speaking the guys are picking up the system quite well," Loeffler said. "We just need to really, really focus in these last four or five days on working on our fundamentals and improving our technique."
With Jawara White having to give up football due to a medical issue, senior Ashton Richardson is now getting work at middle linebacker in addition to outside linebacker. Chris Landrum, who will be a redshirt freshman this fall, is running a distant number two on the depth chart behind junior Jake Holland.
"We will let those two kind of compete for that backup role right now," VanGorder said. "It is pretty clearcut that Jake is the starter."
Brian VanGorder is in his first season as an Auburn coach.
Landrum, who is from small school power Sweet Water High School, missed last fall's practices recovering from knee surgery. Commenting on Landrum, VanGorder said, "He carries a real good attitude into everything. He is a high-character guy who is in that process...he has got a lot of football to learn.
"The speed of the game is on him so he is not ready to respond like you want him to be able to respond right now," the coach added. "He is a hard worker and it is important to him, but there is a lot of work ahead to get him to where he can really play in an SEC game."
VanGorder said it is a challenge for Richardson having to learn two positions, but said so far the former walk-on has had a "pretty good" spring learning his assignments. "He is bright and he is another guy that it is important to him. That is the way we have to move right now and hope he can handle it."
The defensive coordinator said one of the things he liked about Friday's practice was that the Tigers took a step forward with their communication. "It was much better," he said.
Loeffler, who doubles as quarterback coach, said he was pleased to have junior Clint Moseley be able to do the complete practice on Friday. The returning starter has been limited for more than a week with a sore throwing shoulder.
"It is good to have him back out there," the coach said. "Just like any football player, any time you are missing reps it is tough."
Asked if the sore shoulder has put Moseley behind in the competition to be the No. 1 quarterback, Loeffler said, "There isn't any (competition) right now. What we are trying to do right now is focus on everyday improving...To say that he is behind the competition, I would say absolutely not."
Kiehl Frazier, who will be a true sophomore this fall, has taken many of the No. 1 reps this spring. The only other scholarship quarterback on the roster this spring is early high school graduate Zeke Pike.
Loeffler said that Pike is underdoing "a major adjustment," but added, "I am happy where he is at."
"He is learning the ropes. It is great to have him here kind of getting through his freshman adjustment period now rather than in August and September," the coach said.
In other news and notes:
*Commenting on the running backs, Loeffler said that he is encouraged by what he has seen this spring. "Generally speaking, they are a talented group--fast, powerful, they are learning protections."
*With starter Philip Lutzenkirchen rehabbing from shoulder surgery, Brandon Fulse and C.J. Uzomah are getting plenty of reps at tight end. "Of course, we would love to have Lutz for spring, but I always look at that as a little bit of a blessing in disguise because we are able to develop those young guys who are getting all the reps," Loeffler said. "They are developing. Every day there is something new they need to learn. Every day they are making a step in the right direction trying to improve and doing everything in their power to help Auburn."
The tight ends were a major part of the Temple offense last spring. How big a part they will be at Auburn this fall is still to be determined, Loeffler said.
*Loeffler noted that he likes what he is seeing from the offensive line as a group. "They are young and talented, which is very exciting and very encouraging," he said. "They are working every day to have that demeanor and toughness that has been established at Auburn for many, many years."
Practice notes and discussion: