Football Tigers Preparing For Scrimmage 2

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

Auburn, Ala.--Sophomore C.J. Uzomah, who made the move from wide receiver to tight end in spring training this year, said he likes his new position, but noted he is still a work in progress as he and his teammates prepare for their second preseason scrimmage on Saturday.

"I still have a lot to learn," he told Inside the Auburn Tigers. "Lutz (Philip Lutzenkirchen, Coach (Jay) Boulware and Brandon (Fulse) are all helping me learn me how to do the combo blocks with the offensive line and things like that.

"I think I am starting to get a feel for it, but I still have a lot to learn" he said. "We still only have about half of the offense in."

Commenting on how the first scrimmage of preseason went, Uzomah said, "We had a lot of fun. We have a lot in and the process is going really fast and we are all picking it up pretty well."

Asked about the offense as a whole, the former high school quarterback said, "I think we are doing really well considering it is a new offense and everything that is going on. We have a lot of corrections. We need to pick up the tempo and make sure we get on and off the ball--little things like that.

"We need to make sure we minimize turnovers and penalties, but I?think as a whole we did pretty well in the first scrimmage," he added.

The tight ends caught every pass thrown their way in the Wednesday scrimmage. "I?thought that was huge for us," said Uzomah. "Coach Boulware tells us we have to catch everything thrown our way--no matter what."

Senior Philip Lutzenkirchen is shown at Friday's practice. He is a preseason All-SEC pick at tight end.

On Friday the Tigers had their second of four two-a-days sessions and ninth and 10th overall practices of the preseason. On Saturday they will be back in Jordan-Hare Stadium for their second scrimmage.

Head coach Gene Chizik said that he wants to see a cleaner performance and more consistency on both sides of the football in scrimmage two. He was unhappy with the quarterback/center exchanges on offense on Wednesday evening and said in general there were too many mistakes on that side of the ball.

The defense held the upper hand for most of scrimmage one, but the coach said several "explosive plays" by the offense like a 65-yard touchdown run by Onterio McCalebb spoiled the defensive performance.

Asked what he is going to be looking for on Saturday, Chizik said, "Much improved consistency. We have got to protect the ball much better."

The Wednesday scrimmage ran approximately 65 plays. The head coach said the plans are for a similar scrimmage on Saturday.

"Defensively, our stress is not giving up big plays and offensively our number one goal is to protect the football and be able to run it."

Jay Boulware, who is in charge of special teams, said that the Tigers are working on shorter, high kickoffs by Cody Parkey to avoid touchbacks that in 2012 will bring the football out to the 25 instead of the 20.

Parkey said that he feels like he is making progress in that area. In the Wednesday scrimmage he had succes with high kickoffs that landed inside the 10-yard line.

"My goal is to have a hang-time of at least four seconds," he said. "That is what the coaches want. Personally, I am shooting for 4.3 seconds per kickoff,"?he said.

Jay Boulware makes a point during Wednesday's practice.

In other news and notes:

*Senior offensive guard John Sullen is getting closer to being full speed, but is not there yet, Chizik said.

*Chizik put the Tigers through a full pads workout in the first of the two Friday practices. The coach said he liked what he saw in the session that included the first goal line 11 on 11 work of the preseason. "It was fun to see those guys tackle on the goal line some and the offense punch the ball in," he said.

*Fan Day is scheduled from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday and admission is free. The gates at the Auburn Arena will open at 1:30 p.m. The Tigers do not have a practice scheduled that day, but are planning to work out twice on Monday.

*Freshman Shane Callahan, who joined the team in January after graduating early from high school, is getting work as the third team center behind Blake Burgess and Tunde Fariyike.

*Chizik said again there is no change on the quarterback battle. He said that the coaches need to see significant separation between sophomore Kiehl Frazier and junior Clint Moseley, something he said has not happened so far this preseason. "Right now, we are just not there yet," Chizik said.

Moseley has been limited by a sore shoulder. "It is bothersome, but he is trying to push through it," Chizik said. "We are trying to be smart on how we use his reps and how many times he throws the football every day. It is something we are really on top of and we are trying to do the best we can so he doesn't miss any (practice) time."

*Chizik had praise for junior Blake Burgess, who walked on to the team as an offensive lineman. He is currently working as a backup fullback behind Jay Prosch. Burgess has played center, guard and tight end.

"I am proud of him," Chizik said. "He split his nose open in the scrimmage the other day and kept going and never pulled out. He got stitched up afterwards. He is just a tough kid. He is just a great kid, a tough kid...He is the kind of guy you love having on the team."

Burgess said he is enjoying the position and getting plenty of help on assignments from first-stringer Jay Prosch.

*Chizik said that tight end Brandon Fulse is improving as a blocker, but needs to continue to make progress in that area and in his consistency as a receiver. "He is a big target, a very athletic kid. There is no reason he can't get in space, catch the football and be effective down the field. He has got to improve there."

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