Tommy Trott's Take on AU's Offense

Following Saturday's sluggish scrimmage and Sunday's practice, tight end Tommy Trott evaulates the Auburn offense.

How did the scrimmage go on Saturday?
I think we thought we might have been a little further along than we showed. That's just as an offense as a whole. It was easy to see from being out there and being on the field that we've got a ways to go. The defense is a few steps ahead of us right now. That's something we can improve on and it's a good thing we've got another week of fall camp.

The tight ends didn't get thrown to much during the scrimmage, did they?
We didn't and I don't think we wanted to. We didn't run many boots or nakeds to get them off the run really, and not all too many play-actions. We were really trying to run the ball and that was our goal going out there. I think at the same time (Al) Borges might have wanted to keep the quarterbacks in the pocket just to see who would be able to stay in there as opposed to getting on the outside and running--just seeing the happy feet. It's their first time being live since high school really. It was big for them. We didn't open it up too much though.

Was it a gut-check thing just lining it up and going at it in the heat?
That's a big concern this year is the offensive line, and we've had some guys step up. Myself included, we're going to have to step up even more. For the tight end unit and the offensive line it was a challenge to go out there and block knowing we were going to run the ball. We didn't do what we should have and we didn't block as well as we would have liked to.

What was your take on the backup quarterbacks?
They're all really good quarterbacks. Kodi (Burns) is really athletic and the other three have obviously had a year or more in the system. I think they're all going to be great quarterbacks.

Did any of those guys stand out to you?
Obviously if you watched the scrimmage all the offense did (successfully) was let Kodi Burns take the snap and run with it and get some positive yards out of it. That stood out to me. The kid's athletic and he made some good throws, too. A lot of them were a little more poised in the pocket than some people were expecting. They didn't get happy feet and they stood in there about as long as they could. Obviously there was some leakage in our offensive line allowing people through, but I think they all performed well.

How many two and three tight end sets has the offense been running?
We've done it a lot more in practice and we didn't really do much of it in the scrimmage. We have a couple of formations and personnel groups with three tight ends and we're starting to do a lot out of two tight ends, especially after Carl (Stewart) went down. We started motioning a little more in the backfield and basically took on a little bit of a fullback role. All of us, besides Bailey (Woods) who is a freshman, we've had a year in the program and a feel like all three of us know the offense pretty well and it's time to take on a bigger role. We can all do it. Cole (Bennett) usually runs most of the tight end stuff, but if they asked to he could easily step off and motion behind the line. Gabe (McKenzie) can do both and I can do both. I'd say we have an equal role probably.

One day after the scrimmage where the pass protection didn't go so well, what happened as far as meetings and practice?
The O-line got out here pretty early and I'm sure they met and I'm sure they've been working on that. And it's not just the O-line. There were pass-block problems, but it's the whole offense--us receivers not getting open and it's a combination. We really just didn't have an effective scrimmage.

How much are the tight ends pass blocking so far this August?
Last year it seemed like we were in there a whole lot. As of right now we're not in there as much as we were last year. Obviously we have some max-protection stuff that we do. We pass block a decent amount, not quite like last year, but hopefully we can stay out on the routes if we can pass block better.

The Tigers are rotating between three tight ends this season, but Trott is hoping to have his opportunity to catch the ball down field.

Did (tight ends coach Steve) Ensminger have a bone to pick with the tight ends about the scrimmage, or was it about (offensive line coach Hugh) Nall and his guys?
It was bad passing the ball yesterday, but that was the whole offense. Ensminger was on us as I'm sure Nall was on them. The backs have to do some blitz pick-up. There were some breakdowns back there. It was the whole offense. That's what you expect out of the first scrimmage of the season. You've got to work the kinks out.

Has it also been a case of going against a more talented and deeper defensive line than in years past?
You're not going to see, well now that Tez (Doolittle) got hurt, but earlier in camp you're not going to see a better three-deep at that defensive tackle spot than Josh (Thompson), Pat (Sims), Tez and the list goes on. Not to stop there--Zach Clayton, (Mike) Blanc is playing real good for being a freshman. He's going to step up and make some plays.

Is there an offensive package designed for you this year?
We had last year, but we haven't quite put that in there this year. I hope we do because usually that's good for me. It's usually the third-down package or something like that. We did that last year, but as of right now, across the board at the tight end spot, we're really interchangeable. I feel pretty good about our position as a whole.

Trott is shown following Sunday night's practice.

Last year you said you lost some speed putting on the weight, where do you stand now?
Speed-wise I feel better than I did last year. Last year at this point during the camp my legs were gone and really they should be, but probably not to the extent that I was last year. I just wasn't used to the weight. Today, I don't know if it was the 24-hour rest that we got or what, but my legs felt fresh today and I felt really good. I felt like I've handled the camp a little better and I've been in the ice tub a little more and stuff like that. I've adjusted the weight a little better.

In the 2006 A-Day game and last preseason we saw you catching the ball down field, but it disappeared a bit during the season. Are we going to see that this year?
That's a fun thing about playing tight end is catching balls down field. Hopefully I can get down field a little bit more this year. Like we were talking about earlier, last year we were asked to stay in and protect more on deeper routes because it takes a little more time. Hopefully this year we can get out more on deeper routes. It depends on how everything is going this year.

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