Tigers Put On the Pads in Off Week Practice

A report on Auburn's off-week football practice is featured with comments from defensive line coach Mike Pelton and head man Gene Chizik.

Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn football Tigers had a lengthy, full pads workout on Thursday night during their off-week that got another thumbs up assessment from head coach Gene Chizik.

"I feel like we have put together two very good days of practice," Chizik said. "I thought our guys went back to work. Again, it was a very energetic practice, a lot of competition. Kids competing was very good to see."

Chizik will send his players back on the practice field before breakfast on Friday and then give them the rest of the weekend off from football. "We want to give kids a chance to go home and see their high school plays if they are close enough," the coach said.

Gene Chizik

Chizik's staff will be on the road checking out prospects this weekend with no game until next week when Arkansas visits Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Rather than focus on the Razorbacks and the game plan for Arkansas, Chizik said the main theme for the week has been getting his team better.

"We did a lot of third down, a lot of blitz pickup and has a really good physical inside drill running the football," Chizik said. "Again, it was very high tempo."

Defensive line coach Mike Pelton has been less than pleased with his group's play this year. He said he saw progress in the 12-10 loss to LSU, but noted his linemen need to do more. "By no means are we satisfied," he said. "This is Auburn and we expect win those games."

Pelton said junior end Corey Lemonier, who had two sacks vs, LSU, graded well ad he liked the whole group's effort. "They played with passion like the game meant something to them," he said. "We were excited to see that. We are preaching that."

He said that tackles Gabe Wright, Jeff Whitaker and Angelo Blackson all had good plays vs. LSU. Pelton noted that sophomore defensive tackle Devaunte Sigler is making progress and will have a chance to play as the season progresses. He noted that Sigler is the fifth guy in the mix at the defensive tackle spots where the Tigers are using four players.

"Sigler is still really a young guy," said Pelton, who added that although the sophomore hasn't earned the playing time yet, he is getting closer.

Devaunte Sigler moved from end to tackle last season as a true freshman.

Another sophomore, end Justin Delaine, has not played yet this season. "Justin is coming off an injury and that is probably one of the deepest positions," said Pelton, who noted that Delaine will have to continue to work to get into the playing rotation this season, but said it is something that could happen.

Coach Mike Pelton

Commenting on another sophomore defensive end, LaDarius Owens, the coach said Owens is expected to be a big part of the game plan for Arkansas because quarterback Tyler Wilson will likely throw the ball a lot.

Living In the Basement: Auburn is at the bottom of many of the Southeastern Conference's key offensive statistical categories and the Tigers are not exactly impressing folks with their defensive play either. The Tigers are last of the 14 SEC teams in rushing yards allowed, surrendering 208.2 per game. Kentucky is No. 13 giving up 191.0 per contest. LSU leads the league at 56.8 rushing yards allowed per game.

Living Near the Basement: Auburn isn't last in SEC total defense, but is within shouting range of the cellar where Arkansas resides heading into its road trip to Texas A&M this week. The Tigers are allowing 419.2 yards per game while Arkansas is giving up 458.8. Alabama is ranked first allowing 185.0 yards per game.

Living Above the Basement: The Tigers are closer to the middle of the league statistics in defending passes. They are giving up 211.0 yards per game through the air, which is ninth in the SEC, but they are just 3.2 yards from the sixth place Georgia Bulldogs. The Tigers are 10th in the league for pass efficiency defense with a 129.5 rating. Florida leads the league at 88.3.

Living In the Penthouse: The Tigers are at the top of the SEC in four categories, all involving special teams play. They are first in kickoff returns average (31.5 yards), kickoff coverage (45.9 yards), field goal percentage (1.000) and PAT percentage (1.000).

Short Passing Game: Philip Lutzenkirchen caught five passes vs. LSU, but those plays netted just 29 yards. The five receptions are the most for an Auburn tight end since Cooper Wallace caught five vs. Georgia Tech in 2003.

Razorbacks for Brunch: The Arkansas at Auburn football game will kick off at approximately 11 a.m. a week from Saturday. TV coverage will be either on ESPN or ESPN2.

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