AU Head Coach Pleased With Second Practice

Auburn had a solid second practice of the preseason according to Coach Gene Chizik.

Auburn, Ala.--Day two of the 2009 preseason was another good one according to first-year Coach Gene Chizik as the Auburn Tigers practiced for just over three hours in hot and humid conditions.

With the focus on retention from the spring and effort, Chizik noted that he saw plenty of that from his team on Thursday.

"I thought it was a really good second day," the coach said. "We had a lot of things to get corrected from yesterday. The effort was very good today. I think it kind of eased everybody's mind because they kind of knew how the day was going to go. That makes it easier. There were a lot of encouraging things out there. We certainly have a long way to go but a good second day overall.

Eric Smith hauls in a pass.

One of the changes on day two was the emergence of two more newcomers out with the first practice group on Thursday. Defensive back Demond Washington and defensive end Nosa Eguae both were on the field with most of the veterans, something Chizik said was purely to give them a look and also help with some depth issues.

"It's just basically a long practice," Chizik said of how the sessions are set up. "He took some extra reps during the day. Some of the young guys need to get some extra reps because of the retention rate and things of that nature. If they learn something the day before they've got to have more carry-over for the next day. A couple of guys got some extra reps and we'll continue to do that."

One of the players who got those reps was Washington. Playing cornerback for the Tigers, a position need, Washington has shown some early good signs according to Chizik.

"Demond has a chance to be a good football player," Chizik said. "Right now we're playing him at corner, which is a little different even though he played is some in junior college. I'm proud because he's really attentive right now. He's paying a lot of attention to detail. You can tell he wants to be a good football player and he wants to play right now. That's a great thing. He's got a lot of skill. We're encouraged by him, but after two days it's hard to tell what path he will take."

Elsewhere on defense middle linebacker Josh Bynes said that he's being backed up by Spencer Pybus in the middle at the moment with walk-on Wade Christopher also in the mix. That means there's a good chance that both incoming freshmen Jonathan Evans and Harris Gaston will be counted on outside for the Tigers this season to provide depth.

Offensively, the quarterbacks continue to be the focus with the battle expected to heat up when the Tigers put the full pads on. Kodi Burns and Neil Caudle worked with the first group in practice with Chris Todd, Tyrik Rollison and Clint Moseley in the second group for practice. Todd was again impressive throwing the football while running back Eric Smith was solid catching passes out of the backfield along with Mario Fannin.

Dee Ford goes through a drill.

One of the most impressive new players on Thursday was defensive end Dee Ford. Still light for a defensive end, Ford's explosiveness and speed off the edge will make him an interesting player to watch for the Tigers down the road.

The Tigers will return to the practice field Friday evening for the third of five practice dates before putting on the full pads beginning Monday.

Tiger Ticket Extra: Safety signee Daren Bates is still waiting to get final clearance and that would be a big help for the defense with safety Mike McNeil still taking it easy to start the fall. Bates' addition could pay dividends for the Tigers sooner rather than later once he's in school and practicing, which could happen on Friday.

"We're very hopeful right now that he's going to clear and be here very soon," Chizik said. "Until he gets here, he's not here. We're very encouraged right now."


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