AU Coach Pleased With Monday Practice

The Auburn football team returned to the practice field on Monday as the Tigers head into the stretch run of spring drills.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn returned to the football practice field on Monday and head coach Gene Chizik said he liked what he saw as his Tigers worked out for more than two hours in shorts, shoulder pads and helmets correcting mistakes from Saturday's scrimmage.

"I thought practice was really, really good today," Chizik said after the Tigers finished the 11th of their 15th spring practice dates. "I thought they came out with a really good attitude. I thought we practiced hard and had some energy.

"I thought there was some urgency after watching the film from Saturday," he said. "They understand a lot of things we have got to get cleaned up."

Looking at the big picture the head coach said the Tigers are trying to overcome inconsistent play on both sides of the football. There was more of that on offense in the major scrimmage on Saturday.

Chizik said that no player on offense stood out after the video was graded. "We had too many turnovers," he said. "Defensively, we were too inconsistent, especially when we got down in the red area."

The coach said that senior outside linebacker Daren Bates performed well in the scrimmage as did a pair of junior defensive ends, Dee Ford and Corey Lemonier. Ford is making a strong comeback from an injury that sidelined him early last season and he was able to get a medical hardship redshirt.

Ford said he is full speed again and that showed on Saturday as he and Lemonier put plenty of outside pressure on the quarterbacks.

"I think Dee Ford is coming back to playing form, which is really good to see coming off that injury," Chizik said.

"Him and Corey Lemonier at the ends can give you some speed on edge that is really, really challenging for the tackles, which is good to see," Chizik said. "I think those two pressured the passer Saturday the way we expected them to."

Commenting on Bates, who led the Tigers in tackles last season with 104 stops, Chizik said, "I think he is really understanding where he fits in the defense. That was a bright spot in terms of him having a better day. That was a good thing."

Commenting on the offense in Saturday's scrimmage, Chizik said, "There is nobody I would say that just stood out after watching the film."

In other news:

*Offensive line coach Jeff Grimes said that his group needs to get better. "From a consistency standpoint, we are not where we need to be," he said. "We really need to make a lot of progress this week."

*Grimes said that early high school graduate Patrick Miller "didn't do bad" at right offensive tackle in the scrimmage for "a kid who just got here." Grimes added, "I believe he is going to be a good player for us. I am just not sure when."

*Chizik said he hasn't decided what the format will be for the A-Day Game, which will kick off on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Tigers are scheduled to return to practice on Wednesday and will also practice on Friday. The head coach said he hopes to get in some physical work prior to the spring game.

*Running backs coach Curtis Luper continued the coaching staff's theme on Monday when he said that after grading the video of scrimmage two his players were "inconsistent." On the positive side, the coach said there is good competition for playing time with transfer Corey Grant in the mix along with returning starter Onterio McCalebb plus sophomore Tre Mason, who has been having a good overall spring, the coach said.

"With the new offense some good, some bad," Luper said of the scrimmage. "We will get two or three plays where we execute well. The next two or three we don't. We are just inconsistent, but we are getting better."

Luper said that the Tigers are "playing really slow offensively because we are thinking a lot" trying to make sure they execute their assignments properly in the new offensive system being installed by Scot Loeffler. "We expect to play a lot faster this week and execute better offensively."

Practice notes and discussion on the Tiger Ticket forum:

Monday Practice Notes, Part 6

Monday Practice Notes, Part 5

Monday Practice Notes, Part 4

Monday Practice Notes, Part 3

Monday Practice Notes, Part 2

Monday Practice Notes, Part 1

Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories