Auburn Football Scrimmage News & Notes:

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

Auburn, Ala.--The most experienced player on Auburn's defense said the Tigers had plenty of good moments in their first scrimmage of the preseason even though their coaches said the team has a long way to go to be ready to play a football game.

"Our defense started with Jake (Jake Holland), our middle linebacker, getting after them and making a lot of plays," said senior outside linebacker Daren Bates. "The defensive line made plays, too."

Looking at the big picture following the scrimmage at the stadium, which featured approximately 65 plays, Bates said, "It is always good to come to Jordan-Hare and play and you feel good when you leave and know you played good as a whole."

Bates said that he thought the linebackers stepped up and performed well in the scrimmage. "I thought it was our best day of the whole camp" he noted. "We came out and communicated, got our alignments right for the most part and played well together.

"The linebackers are getting better at pass coverage and the secondary is coming along playing tough," he added, noting that in addition to himself and Holland that senior Jonathan Evans and sophomore Justin Garrett got a lot work with the first team at the linebacker spots."

Commenting on the defense as a whole, Bates said, "I thought we played well, but we gave up too many explosive plays. I think we did a pretty good job of getting off the field on third downs."

One of those plays was a 65-yard run by senior Onterio McCalebb, who scored on the speed sweep.

Onterio McCalebb breaks away for a big gainer in Wednesday's scrimmage.

"I thought the defensive line made some good plays today," Bates added. "We are still making some mistakes, but overall we played pretty well and we can grow from this."

Defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder was less enthusiastic after the session, calling it a typical first scrimmage with too many mistakes.

Offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler was even less enthusiastic than VanGorder. "We need to get consistent with our execution on an every down basis," Loeffler said.

Asked how far away the quarterbacks are from being ready to play a game, Loeffler said, "We have got some work to do still. We are not where we want to be yet. We are going to bust our rear end the next couple of weeks to get us in a position to compete in Atlanta."

Loeffler said the quarterbacks did some good things, but made too many mistakes. The offensive coordinator had the same observation about the wide receivers and noted the rebuilding offensive line is making progress although it has a long way to go.

Sophomore quarterback Kiehl Frazier ran the first team in the scrimmage, which is where he spent most of the spring with Clint Moseley bothered with a sore throwing shoulder. Unfortunately for Moseley, the shoulder was bothering him again on Wednesday evening and he went to see the team doctor after the scrimmage.

Moseley said, "It is probably as frustrating as you can imagine. It is just right there. I am learning the offense. I am getting into it. I am trying to be a better leader--all these things. The one thing I have always known how to do (pass a football) is the only thing I can't do right now. It is frustrating, but it is therapy, therapy, therapy and it will come around.

Asked how Frazier performed, Loeffler said, "Inconsistent. We need to improve."

True freshman Jonathan Wallace had a solid outing in his first scrimmage as both a passer and runner. "It was the first time he was ever out there by himself," Loeffler said. "I thought he managed the huddle well. "Very similar to the other freshmen he needs to learn to be a little more consistent."

Jonathan Wallace had a solid first scrimmage for the Tigers.

In other news and notes:

*Redshirt freshman wide receiver Sammie Coates had several impressive catches as he continues his push for playing time.

Sammie Coates missed last season with an ankle injury.

*Defensive tackle Gabe Wright has praise for Coates. "Sammie had a real good night. I'm not going to say he had a problem dropping balls (in the spring), but besides his physical and mental abilities, they're out the roof, Sammie has ability like no other. He's a young guy and the sky is the limit. He did a good job of catching all his balls.

"Kiehl did a good job on his throws and so did Clint," Wright added. "I couldn't really focus on the offense too much.

"Defensively, Jermaine Whitehead had a real good day from what I have been hearing from Coach VanGorder," Wright said. "Ryan Smith and Chris Davis had a good day, too."

*Freshman running back Jovon Robinson had several nice runs in the scrimmage.

*Junior defensive tackle Kenneth Carter, in his first scrimmage back from shoulder surgery, had a quarterback sack.

*Junior defensive end Dee Ford, who finished the spring impressively, picked up where he left off in the spring and had a sack on Wednesday.

*The tight ends had a good day catching the ball. The group, which is expected to be a larger part of the offense this fall, did not have a drop.

*Chizik said he liked the effort, but noted the Tigers have a long way to go to be as consistent as they need to be. Part of the session was devoted to special teams play. The head coach said the Tigers were solid in that portion of the practice.

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