"We gathered a lot of information off yesterday," the head coach said about Tuesday evening's scrimmage. "Obviously, the goal is to narrow this thing down as quick as we can. We certainly are working in that direction. We feel closer than where we were three days ago. That's for sure.
"Yesterday's information gathering...it was a very productive night in terms of that. We are getting close. We are getting to the point where we are narrowing it down."
The Tigers had a practice in shorts on Wednesday morning and what Chizik called a "really physical" full pads session in the evening. The Tigers had three practices in a little more than a 24-hour window.
"They're trying to push through," the coach says. "This is day eight of camp, and you can tell they're a little leg weary, but they did a really nice job of trying to push through on both practices. Overall, it was a really good day for day eight."
The Tigers are scheduled to practice once on Thursday night, twice on Friday and will have their second scrimmage on Saturday. On Sunday the Tigers will be at Fan Day from 2-4 p.m. at Jordan-Hare Stadium, but will not practice.
The Tigers will also be off on Monday as classes begin. When they get back to practice on Tuesday the head coach says the team will still be in camp mode and won't begin putting in the game plan for the Sept. 5th opener vs. Louisiana Tech until about eight or nine days prior to the opener.
In other news:
*Chizik says that Montez Billings, who missed spring practice with academic problems, is practicing with the assumption he will be able to play this fall. "Right now we are going to be working through some of those issues and we will know more soon."
*Chizik says he has been pleased with how well the juco college signees have performed this preseason. He says defensive tackle Nick Fairley, linebacker Eltoro Freeman and cornerback Demond Washington are performing well and showing intensity.
*The head coach says that senior cornerback Walt McFadden is doing a good job as both a player and a team leader.
*Freshman Tyrik Rollison said after practice on Wednesday night he isn't sure if he is in the mix for the starting QB role or not. He notes that he has improved since the start of spring practice, but is still learning how to read college defensive coverages, which he says is a lot tougher than high school. In the full pads second practice, he notes his arm was sore, but says the offense mainly worked on the running game.
*Freshman safety Daren Bates won praise from his position coach, Tommy Thigpen, for his play in the first scrimmage on Tuesday evening. Bates intercepted a pass, caused a fumble and had several big hits. With returning starter Mike McNeil still not cleared for practice, Thigpen says he is working Bates overtime to get him ready or action if needed. Another safety, D'Antoine Hood, is out for several weeks with an ankle sprain.
*Quarterback Chris Todd says his arm continues to feel good and he is able to make all of the throws called for in Gus Malzahn's offense. The senior had shoulder surgery after the 2008 season and was not able to practice in spring drills.
*Sophomore tailback Eric Smith won praise from Chizik for his scrimmage performance. Smith, who is also playing fullback, scored on a short run in the scrimmage. "I thought he had some very impressive runs," Chizik says.