Chizik Likes Practice After Tigers Name QB

The Auburn Tigers hit the practice field for the first time on Thursday evening after naming the starting QB. The report features news and notes with updates on players as the season opener nears.

Auburn, Ala.--In Auburn's first practice since naming Kiehl Frazier the starting quarterback for the opener vs. Clemson, Coach Gene Chizik said he liked what he saw on the field for a second consecutive day and liked how Frazier and fellow QB Clint Moseley handled the news on who would start.

Commenting on the reason why Frazier, a sophomore, moved to the top of the depth chart, Chizik said, "It was a comprehensive evaluation of a lot of things.

"As I have said before we are always going to choose the one we think gives us the best chance to win. We think Kiehl is that. We are excited about it and we have a lot of confidence in him.

"Again, it is the whole body of work dating back to last year and getting some work and being effective with his role then. It is not like he has never played in a game, It is everything--that, spring ball, the accumulation of reps in training camp."

Chizik said he and offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler wanted to make the decision on the starting quarterback after evaluating the preseason scrimmages, which are all completed, plus several days of practice this week that feature installation of the game plan for the Sept. 1st contest vs. Clemson.

The head coach said that Moseley handled the news calmly that he wouldn't be the starter when he found out on Thursday. "Clint was good," Chizik noted. "He was very business-like, he was very matter of fact. He was very disappointed, obviously, but he handled it well and Kiehl handled it good."

Chizik said that Moseley is the clear No. 2 quarterback even though the redshirt junior has missed a significant amount of practice reps with a sore throwing arm. Chizik said it was disappointing that Moseley has been limited by being less than full speed.

"Kiehl was able to push his way through," the coach said. "The accumulation of reps mattered.

The head coach noted that the team's other scholarship quarterback, Jonathan Wallace, still has a lot to learn being a true freshman.

"He has had a lot of learning to do," Chizik said about Wallace. "It is tough to get in there as a true freshmen just coming in and absorb all of the offense so it is a work in progress with him. He is out there working every day and we are proud of what he has done, but Clint is the backup."

Loeffler said the process for choosing the No. 1 quarterback was "extremely thorough." Commenting on Frazier, the QB coach said, "He is a very talented player, a young player. We are in a developmental process. As good as he looks, as big as he is, he is still 19 or 20 years old and he has only been on campus for a year so he is learning/"

Loeffler said one of the exciting aspects is the "changing of guard" at the quarterback position. He noted that Frazier has worked hard throughout the year for his shot at being the starter.

Chizik was unhappy with the Tuesday practice, but has been more upbeat since then. "We have got a lot of work to do, but the last two days have been really good," he said.

"Today was a big situational day, both with special teams and offense and defense," Chizik pointed out. "We worked on clock management. We worked on different scenarios down and distance-wise, we worked on different scenarios in the kicking game. It was a good work day. There was a lot of teaching."

Chizik said he likes the work ethic he is seeing from both sides of the ball. "There has been a lot of competition out there."

In other news and notes:

*Sophomore safety Erique Florence is back in the competition for playing time after missing practices with an ankle problem. "He is getting healthier," Chizik said. "He has got to improve. There is no question about it."

Jordan Diamond is a freshman from Chicago.

*Freshman offensive guard Jordan Diamond, who won praise for his play earlier in the preseason, has been sidelined since last week with a shoulder problem that he said will require surgery, which means he will certainly be redshirted this year. Three other freshmen, guard Alex Kozan, and tackles Patrick Miller and Avery Young are not expected to be redshirted and are battling for starting spots, offensive line coach Jeff Grimes said.

*Chizik said that redshirt freshman Chris Landrum, who has moved from middle linebacker to fullback, has shown promise on offense. The former Sweetwater High star arrived at AU with limited experience on defense and struggled to play linebacker. "He has done a nice job up to this point," Chizik said.

Chris Landrum

*On the subject of running backs, the head coach praised senior tailback Onterio McCalebb on Thursday night for having a "great camp."

The coach said the tailbacks as a group are getting healthier after missing practice time last week, but are "still a work in progress." Chizik said there is a possibility the Tigers will take a "tailback by committee" approach into the season with Tre Mason, Corey Grant and Mike Blakely in the mix for playing time.

*Loeffler said after the practice he is seeing improvement with the offense as a whole, but is looking for more consistency. "Offensive football is assignment football," he said. "If you know where to line up and you are tough and smart, execution is going to come. At times we have played well, at times we have looked like a young football team.

"I am very happy with their effort," Loeffler added. "I am very happy where we are at. As a coach you are never satisfied. It doesn't matter if you are No. 1 in the country, you are always striving to improve something. We are going to be a very hungry staff and a very hungry team."

*Chizik said the Tigers are close to getting their starting lineup set for the opener and should have that mostly done by Sunday.

*Chizik said there is still no final word about signees Darrion Hutcherson and Jaquay Williams on whether or not they will be academically qualified to enroll. The coach said it looks like the coaches are close to getting a final report on their status.

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