Scrimmage 3: News, Notes, Quotes, Part 1

Comments from the head coach and players plus scrimmage notes are featured in this Auburn football report.

Auburn, Ala.--The defense, which held the upper hand in scrimmage one and played even with the offense in scrimmage two, was the star of the show in Auburn's third, and perhaps final preseason scrimmage before the Sept. 1st opener vs. Clemson.

On Wednesday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium, Coach Gene Chizik said he hasn't decided if the Tigers will scrimmage again or if number three, on the final day of the "camp" portion of football practice before fall semester classes, will be the end of the full speed, 11-on-11 game simulation practices complete with referees and full contact action.

The Tigers focused on special down and distance situations in the session. Chizik said the scrimmage was a physical one, which he wanted to see, but he repeated the preseason theme about his Tigers needing to improve their consistency. However, he did see some progress.

"Slowly, but surely, we are cutting down on errors," the head coach said.

Also staying in theme, Chizik said that a pecking order has not been established at the quarterback position. However, sophomore Kiehl Frazier took most of the snaps with the first team offense.

Junior quarterback Clint Moseley noted he played one series with the first offense and one with the second. True freshman Jonathan Wallace got more work with the two offense than Moseley did and Wallace had several nice throws including one to walk-on Melvin Ray.

Commenting on the quarterbacks, Chizik said, "We had our moments. There were some good things we did. Again, I think it was too sporadic. In some cases we are really on target, we are commanding the huddle, we are operating the offense, managing the huddle, managing the offense. Other times we are not as sharp."

Offensive linemen (left to right) Chad Slade, Reese Dismukes, John Sullen and Greg Robinson compete against Jeffrey Whitaker and Angelo Blackson work against defensive tackles Jeffrey Whitaker (54) and Angelo Blackson (98).

Chizik said that the Tigers are getting closer to naming a starting five on the offensive line, but are still three or four days away from that. "I am proud of them because they are pushing through," he said. "They are beat up, but they are fighting for jobs so that is good to see."

Reese Dismukes opened the scrimmage at center with Greg Robinson at left tackle, John Sullen at left guard, Alex Kozan at right guard and Chad Slade at right tackle. However, as was the case in scrimmages one and two, there was a lot of shuffling that included Slade working with the ones at right guard and Avery Young working at right tackle.

Dismukes, a returning starter, said, "The scrimmage went pretty good. We did some dumb things and we did some good things. That is just how things go. Obviously, we are going to have some areas we need to improve in and we are just going to have to keep getting better day to day.

"It is like musical chairs out there," Dismukes said of all of the substitutions on the line. "The best five guys are going to play and we have been moving them around every day."

Asked to assess how the scrimmage went for the defense, junior end Dee Ford, "It was really good. Every week we are trying to take a step forward and I think we did that. In the scrimmage we worked on situational football, being aware of what you are supposed to do in particular situations. I think everybody's focus was great tonight.

"We still have room for improvement and I never want to say we played great, but I can say it was good on defense," the junior said.

Defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder talks to his defenders during the scrimmage.

In other news and notes:

*A trio of walk-ons have been placed on scholarship. The group includes tailback Corey Grant, deep snapper Jake Lembke and safety Trent Fisher.

*With Erique Florence held out of the scrimmage, Fisher got plenty of work with the second team along with Demetruce McNeal. Jermaine Whitehead and Ryan Smith ran with the ones at safety.

*During a scrimmage in which there were not a lot of big plays by the offense, wide receiver Quan Bray had two of them, including a play in which he broke two tackles.

*Defensive tackle Jeffrey Whitaker had a strong scrimmage, including a stop on a fourth and one run.

*The Tigers had a morning practice that focused on special teams. They will return to the practice field on Thursday evening.

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