One of the veterans of the unit, despite very little play, Ages says this past week was a good one for the defense. Already very deep into the playbook as they get ready to begin preparations for USC, Ages notes that he's seen some good things out of the group to this point.
"It's going pretty good," Ages says. "We're just putting in the defenses and everybody is getting adjusted and learning assignments. We're just getting back to the basics.
"We take the morning practices as more of a learning phase to make sure everyone knows what to do in the defenses that we put in for the evening practice. Then we go out in the evening and everyone should know because it's the same things we did in the morning. It's a good learning practice."
Ages takes part in a drill while Coach Phillip Lolley looks on.
Despite the pressure of challenging for the starting position, Ages is always a player that seems to be having fun on the football field. An intelligent player that plays the position like it's second nature, Ages notes that the battle for the number one job only makes everyone better.
"Football is just fun," Ages says. "I enjoy myself everyday. Everyone is out competing right now. That's the whole secondary, from the corners to the safeties. We're all competing. We're at each other each and every day. We're just trying to make the whole secondary as a group better."
An aggressive coach by nature, Chizik is loved by his defensive players because of his style of play that allows players to make plays without sacrificing fundamental football. Ages says that while they are learning new things every day, having a year of the system under their belts makes things happen much easier than last fall.
"Everything is going a little slower and a little smoother," Ages says. "You can understand the assignments of the players around you. That's the main thing with Coach Chizik (Gene Chizik). He went back and taught everyone's assignments around you so you know what the linebackers do, the defensive line, and the safeties. That enables you to play a lot better."
Along with Pitts, Ages spent much of Wednesday morning's practice at first team as both Rosegreen and Carlos Rogers observed while nursing slight groin pulls. The same is true at linebacker as both Dontarrious Thomas and Karlos Dansby sat out the morning workout with minor sprains. That allowed several of the young linebackers to get the bulk of the work in team drills and gets them ready to go full speed in the evening workout.
A very veteran team, the Tigers are further along than any Auburn team in recent memory. While there is learning going on with the younger players, the morning practice is essentially a walk-through with the coaches and players going through plays and sets in a game setting.
Among the players that stood out in the morning workout was quarterback Josh Sullivan. Continuing to throw the ball extremely well, he took all of the second team reps with starter Jason Campbell handling the first team. Sullivan has firmly taken hold of the backup job and the only race remaining at quarterback is to see who is number three between Wesley Hill and Brandon Cox.
The Tigers will practice in full pads Wednesday afternoon on the intramural fields. With a scrimmage scheduled for Saturday morning at 9:30, the bulk of the session will be spent working on polishing what was learning in the morning practice while going against an opponent. Special teams should also get some major emphasis once again as both the punting and field goal jobs remain open. The workout is open to the public.