Scrimmage Up And Down For Defense

Defensive coordinator Ted Roof and senior cornerback Walter McFadden talk about Tuesday night's first scrimmage for the Tigers.

Auburn, Ala.--The first scrimmage of any preseason practice is always one for scrutiny from the coaching staff and mixed results on the field and Tuesday night that was the case with Auburn defensive coordinator Ted Roof. After watching roughly 80 plays he said in so many words that it was an up and down performance for his unit.

"There were some good things and there were some not so good things," Roof said. "I know that comes as a real shock.

"I was looking for contact speed," he added. "I thought there was a lot of good contact speed, guys flying around and playing hard and throwing their bodies around. There were too many mistakes but I'm happy about the way we threw our bodies around."

With a lack of depth at several positions, it makes a night like Tuesday a rough one for Roof. Because proven players need reps but you don't want to push them too hard, it makes for a tough call for everyone involved.

"There's a fine balance when you are thin in some spots of how physical you are and how much you rep guys," Roof said. "You want to get guys to the season but if you get to the season and you're not ready to play then that's no good. There's a fine balance between that and we're right there now."

With the older guys not getting as much work, it means extra snaps for young players such as Jonathan Evans at linebacker and Demond Washington and Harry Adams in the secondary. Roof said it was a chance for all the younger players and newcomers to make a statement.

"They need to see what it's like after they've been in it for a while now," Roof said. "They need to see how much they remember what we're teaching and how much they can translate from the practice field and meeting rooms to playing football."

Perhaps the most-trained eye on the field for the Auburn defense is senior cornerback Walter McFadden. In his fifth preseason camp for the Tigers, McFadden said he saw some good things from the first-team defense on Tuesday.

"For the first scrimmage it went well but there are a lot of improvements we have to get working on," McFadden said. "The offense is so fast-paced we probably got 45-50 plays in as a first-team. Both sides went pretty hard. Both sides have to do a lot of improving."

Focusing his attention on the secondary, McFadden said there were two players in particular that he thought played well in the first scrimmage.

"The corners are my group," McFadden said. "I'm trying to be a leader for them. Demond Washington stepped up today and Harry Adams stepped up today. They just had a good scrimmage. In the beginning they were getting down because they were getting tired. That's just something you have to push through as a corner. They pushed through it and showed up today."

While watching the defense it also gave McFadden a chance to see some offensive action as well in the scrimmage. He said it was a good day for some of young guys on the offensive side of the ball.

"Rollison (Tyrik Rollison) had a great day," McFadden said. "He stood out to me a lot. Emory Blake stood out today. A lot of the receivers stood out. Aycock (Dontae Aycock) stood out. He had a good scrimmage today. The young guys seemed to step it up today."

Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories