Tigers Tune Up for First Spring Scrimmage

A report on Auburn's sixth spring football practice features comments from a trio of Tiger coaches.

Auburn, Ala.--Bad weather forced the Tigers indoors on Thursday evening as they tuned up for Saturday's first major scrimmage of spring football practice.

Head coach Gene Chizik said he liked what he saw at the session that started outdoors and ended up at Auburn's indoor facility due to rain and lightning.

"I thought it was a really crisp practice," he said. "I thought we really focused today. We tried to fix some little issues offensively and defensively, slow down the pace a little bit and teach more in preparation for Saturday's scrimmage.

"I think we got out of it what we needed to get out of it even though we had to adapt and adjust to the weather," Chizik added. "I'm really proud of the way the kids focused and stayed with us in practice and just kind of adapted on the run."

Chizik noted that the Tigers will have a scrimmage that will feature between 90 and 110 plays at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday with officials in to call the action just like a regular game. The Tigers will also have some live kicking game work.

"What we are planning on doing right now is playing it as much as a game-like situation as we can," Chizik said. "We have been doing so much situational in practice right now putting them in different situations they are going to run into on Saturdays so now we would like to see them with no coaches on the field with everybody playing down and distance situationally and everybody executing our offense and defense based on the situation."

The Tigers had to move indoors on Thursday evening.

The Tigers will not practice on Friday, but are scheduled to be back at it for workouts on Saturday and Sunday.

Defensive line coach Tracy Rocker noted that three inside players and three outside players have stepped up as the guys at the top of the depth chart through six practices. Rocker said that Jermarcus Ricks, Mike Blanc and Zach Clayton are playing at the inside spots while Michael Goggans, Antoine Carter and Antonio Coleman are rotating at both end positions.

"We are trying to create a little competition there and see who wants those spots," Rocker said.

"The young guys have to keep working," Rocker said of the backups. Redshirt freshmen Derrick Lykes, Jomarcus Savage and Cameron Henderson are getting in-depth looks from Rocker. Savage is still bothered by the shoulder injury that caused him to redshirt last year. Henderson is practicing with an ankle problem, but should be able to scrimmage on Saturday.

"I hope to see consistency," Rocker said when asked about the upcoming scrimmage. "Two, is great effort and guys who are trying to fight and take a stand...You know you are going to have missed assignments, you are going to have some things break down, but the substitute for that is effort and that is the biggest thing you have to look for."

Cornerbacks coach Phillip Lolley said he is looking forward to seeing how several of the young defensive backs do in Saturday's scrimmage. Walt McFadden and Neiko Thorpe are currently running first team, although Aairon Savage, who is still recovering from a shoulder injury, is a guy who could earn first string status when he is cleared for contact.

Lolley said he is really pleased how Savage is doing in non-contact drills. "I let Aairon do certain drills, and I am sure he could do more, but it is like ‘why?' at this point. I don't want to push him to the point and push him backward. What he has done has been remarkable. He has worked at it. His strength is back a lot. It is not where it needs to be. His range of motion looks really good."

The coach said that young cornerbacks T'Sharvan Bell, Harry Adams and D'Antoine Hood are making progress as is walk-on 5-10, 205 sophomore Jeremy Flowers from Gadsden. Another walk-on, Landry Bodie, a 5-9, 189 senior from Harvest, Ala., has also looked good in spring drills, according to Lolley. The coach said he is also curious to see how Jeremiah Haley, a 5-9, 162 redshirt freshman walk-on from Hazel Green, performs in Saturday's scrimmage.

"Now is the time to work with the walk-ons because you never know," Lolley pointed out. "I did it when I coached here before and folks asked me why I was spending so much time with certain ones. One of those guys, Mr. Hobbs (Kevin Hobbs), is still in the NFL now. All of the kids we have at cornerback are enjoying learning and working with us and that is a part of coaching I really enjoy."

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