Spring Football News & Notes

Notes, quotes and photos are featured from Auburn University's spring football practice.

New defensive coordinator Gene Chizik, who also coaches the secondary, says that he likes what he has seen with a pair of experiments with the defensive backs.

Junior Rosegreen, who made the move from cornerback to strong safety during the spring, looks like he has found a home at the position. Chizik says he likes how physical the sophomore has been this spring and that is why he is currently running number one on the depth chart. "We want our defensive backs to hit like linebackers," he says.

Gene Chizik watches the Tigers at practice.

Senior Rashaud Walker's move to cornerback from strong safety is likely going to stick, too, Chizik says. Walker, a returning starter, is running on the second team at strong corner behind another senior, Roderick Hood. Walker and Rosegreen are not novices at their new spots. Each played his current college position as high school standouts.

Another move that was made, this one prior to the start of spring drills, is looking very good. Senior Travaris Robinson has steadily improved at free safety and looks like he will be the starter at his new position after struggling at cornerback when he was moved there from wide receiver because the Tigers were short on corners, which is no longer the case.

With four practice days to go this spring, looking at the big picture on defense, Chizik says, "We are at the point where I felt like we would be about at for this time. My main goal is that they understand the concepts and everything and they are understanding where they fit. It doesn't mean they're going to do it right every time yet, but if they understand that right now then I think we're on the right track."

Chizik says he likes to have some versatility with his secondary players. "I think right now we're pretty set," he says. "I think we've got a little bit of flexibility if I wanted to move T-Rob back to corner and get some snaps there or move Junior Rosegreen to corner and get some snaps there. I think I have the flexibility to do that. But, in terms of any more permanent moves right now, I think we're pretty much set where we're at."

Daniel Cobb throws the football in a spring scrimmage.

News And Notes: Commenting on junior defensive tackle Dexter Murphy, position coach Don Dunn says, "He gives great effort. You know that we grade every play for loafs and I believe he has just one all spring. I am excited about him am real happy for him. He was beat up and banged up all last year. I just wish everybody on the defensive front would give the effort he has given."...Defensive coordinator Chizik has praise for Murphy, too. "I'll tell you what," Chizik says. "Dexter Murphy's had a good spring as a backup guy. He's come out and really done some good things."...Chizik says that senior middle linebacker Mark Brown has been very strong this spring, but that is not a big surprise based on the video of his play last season prior to being sidelined by injuries...Sixth-year senior Daniel Cobb is taking advantage of his extra time in college. "I am working on my second degree in entrepreneurial management in the business school," Cobb says. "I think I might be able to finish that in December. My first degree degree is in communications with a minor in business." Cobb, who has learned offenses at Georgia, Butler County Community College and two at Auburn under former coordinator Noel Mazzone and current coordinator Bobby Petrino, says the new style fits him. "This is more of an offense I can feel comfortable in because the quarterback position requires so much discipline and following the rules of every play and what you see getting the ball out on time and making the right decisions," he says...The Tigers are on a spring break and won't be back on the practice field until Tuesday. Auburn has four more practice dates left including the April 6th A-Day Game.

Redshirt freshman Steven Ross snaps the football to true freshman quarterback Wesley Hill.

A pair of redshirt freshmen offensive linemen from Nashville are making progress recovering from injuries and have been out on the practice field learning even though they can't have any contact. Offensive line coach Hugh Nall is teaching Steven Ross how to play center. Taylor Bourgeois can play either guard or tackle and where he lines up this fall probably depends on how the incoming signees look when two-a-days begin in August...Injured defensive end Jay Ratliff, the converted tight end, suffered an MCL sprain in the first drill on the first day of contact practice this spring but could return to action for Auburn's next practice. The Tigers will wrap up spring drills on April 6th at the annual A-Day game.

Offensive line coach Hugh Nall welcomes former Tiger Kendall Simmons to practice. Simmons is expected to be one of the first offensive linemen selected in the 2002 NFL draft.


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