Monday Football Practice Receives Mixed Reviews

A report on Monday evening's Auburn football practice is featured.

Auburn, Ala.--Tommy Tuberville liked the intensity of Auburn's final two-a-days football practice on Monday, but defensive coordinator Gene Chizik gave his secondary mixed reviews following the two-hour plus session at the intramural fields.

Chizik, who is trying to settle on two new starters in the secondary, said, "It is going slow. We are making a little bit of progress. We did OK today, but it is a slow process with these guys. We are still making mistakes out on the field. We are learning from them and hopefully we will try to not repeat the same mistakes.

"I think overall we are making progress," said Chizik, who must replace starting free safety Travaris Robinson as well as the cornerback spot opposite Carlos Rogers that was shared by three players last year. "We still have a long way to go and today I think they did a little bit better.

"Donnay Young is at strong safety now and Karibi Dede and Will Herring are at free safety," Chizik said. "Karibi is running one now. Will has the option to run with them, too. We are still searching. It is going to be a few days before we get settled on what we are going to do."

Donnay Young is shown in pass coverage at Monday's practice.

Chizik said that Roshard Gilyard, who suffered a shoulder bruise in the Saturday scrimmage, will be a backup at strong safety. The coach said that Gilyard is not scheduled to have contact for a couple of more days. Gilyard watched on the sidelines as the Tigers did some 11 on 11 contact drills on monday with no tackling allowed.

Andrew Letts, the walk-on who can play both safety spots, is also trying to get in the mix. Letts was a wide receiver last season. "He is doing good," Chizik said. "He has his moments. He is learning. It is a whole new world for him. He is going through the growing pains and is an effort guy. He is coming along, but today he blew a few things that he shouldn't have blown but he is coming along right now."

As expected, Rogers is running No. 1 at cornerback along with Junior Rosegreen with Lamel Ages and Montae Pitts running on the second team. Freshman defensive backs Eric Brock, who is at safety, and Patrick Lee, at cornerback, are likely to redshirt the secondary coach said.

The Tigers worked on the kicking game in the morning as well as the afternoon on Monday. The punting competition between redshirt freshman Michael Gibson and true freshman Kody Bliss continues to be tight. Both hit several long punts on Monday.

John Vaughn had another strong day kicking field goals, making six of six to close practice with the longest from 45 yards out. Philip Yost made four of seven field goals and missed a 45-yarder in a hurry-up situation that would have gotten the team out of running post-practice wind sprints.

"That was the best practice we have had," Tuberville said of Monday's second practice. "The effort was excellent. We still made a lot of mistakes. The guys were a lot more focused today. They practiced hard. We are getting a lot more leadership. You can tell it is getting closer to August 30th.

"As I told them yesterday we have a long way to go," Tuberville said. "We have a lot to build on from that last Saturday scrimmage. We have got to make sure we improve in all areas. The kickers are doing good. The punters are doing excellent."

Practice Notes: Tuberville said he hopes to get word on Stanley McClover's eligibility on Tuesday. AU officials were in contact with the NCAA Clearinghouse about McClover's status on Monday...The head coach had praise for the play of backup quarterback Josh Sullivan. "He is really making improvement," Tuberville said. Dexter Murphy showed good feet as a pass blocker and quickness as a run blocker in his first full contact practice as an offensive guard. Tuberville said the move of Murphy to the OL "looks like it is working out great." Murphy now has three practices under his belt at guard and Tuberville said that the redshirt senior could also see some action at defensive tackle...The end of two-a-days is traditionally celebrated with a watermelon cutting and that was the case on Monday evening. The Tigers will have their final intramural field practice of the year on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. and that will be the last the fans can attend, Tuberville said. The Tigers will take their first day off this preseason on Wednesday, which is the start of fall semester classes. On Thursday, practice will move to the football complex and the team will practice on Friday. The Tigers may take Saturday off, but Tuberville said that hasn't been determined. Next week, the Tigers will likely be off on Monday.


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