AU's Competition for Backup QB Continues

After a two-day break, the Auburn Tigers returned to the football practice field. A report that session is featured.

Auburn, Ala.--To avoid conflicts with fall semester classes, Gene Chizik's Tigers practiced for more than two hours under the lights on Tuesday night and the head coach said he was generally pleased with what he saw following a two-day layoff.

The Tigers worked out in full pads for the first time since having a major scrimmage on Saturday evening at Jordan-Hare Stadium. In that session, number one quarterback Chris Todd firmly established himself as the number one guy.

Another quarterback who had a solid scrimmage, freshman Tyrik Rollison, is still in the mix for the backup spot along with junior Neil Caudle, Chizik says. Kodi Burns, a junior who is playing some quarterback, some wildcat quarterback and wide receiver, said on Tuesday night that he is not giving up on his quest to regain the starting job he held to finish the 2008 season. The other quarterback, true freshman Clint Moseley, is likely to redshirt.

Commenting on Rollison, Chizik said, "We are going to continue to really rep him and evaluate him. We are just going to really, really evaluate him...We have given enough repetitions to some of the others we have a really good idea of where they stand. We are going to keep reping him and keep spoon-feeding Tyrik and just kind of see how him comes day by day."

Gene Chizik

Chizik said the coaching staff hasn't decided when, or if, they will have another major scrimmage before the Sept. 5th season opener vs. Louisiana Tech.

"We got back into the swing of things tonight," Chizik said regarding practice. "I thought it went pretty well. We knocked a little bit of the rust off during the first few minutes of practice. Overall, we had a nice tempo and I thought we got better today."

After grading video of the scrimmage, Chizik said, "There were a lot of good things. I think we really made some strides offensively. The offensive line played in a physical manner and showed some flashes of where we would like them to be. We're still coming together. Obviously there are a lot of things we need to work on to get better."

Unlike recent years when the Tigers practiced on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, they will be working out after classes instead of before them. However, they normally won't go late into the night like they did on Tuesday and plan to do again on Wednesday.

"We're doing this until we get everyone's class schedules in order," Chizik explained. "Normally we'll practice during the afternoon, but this week there's a lot of dropping and adding classes and getting things worked out, that we thought this was best."

In other news:

*Freshman offensive tackle Aubrey Phillips, who has been undergoing medical tests for more than a week, has not yet been cleared to practice, but he is taking classes and watching the workouts. "He is doing a great job, he is in the flow of everything and he is back in school so we are very encouraged by where he is at," Chizik said. The coached added that he is "fairly confident" the big lineman will be cleared to play football, but noted he doesn't know when.

Originally signed by FSU, Phillips transferred to Auburn this summer. On Tuesday night Chizik would not rule out the possibility that the tackle will be cleared to play this season by the doctors and the NCAA, which must grant a waiver of its transfer rule that requires a redshirt year.

*The head coach again had praise for true freshman Daren Bates, who is pushing for a starting job at safety opposite of returning starter Zac Etheridge. "He showed some flashes in that scrimmage that I thought were very, very encouraging," Chizik said.

*Freshman defensive end Dee Ford, who worked at linebacker in the Saturday scrimmage, has returned to defensive end, the position he played in high school. The 220-pound defensive end noted he got a lot of work with his position coach Tracy Rocker on Tuesday night and said he thinks the coaches are trying to get him ready to play this season.

*Linebackers Eltoro Freeman (hamstring) and Spencer Pybus (concussion) were hoping to return to practice on Tuesday night, but haven't been cleared yet for full contact. Chizik said he isn't sure when they will be back in action.

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