Tigers Making Progress According To Chizik

Coach Gene Chizik talks about his team's recent performance at practice and getting a key performer back on the field.

Auburn, Ala.--After taking a well-deserved day off on Monday, the Auburn Tigers got back to work on Tuesday with a full pad practice that lasted for just over two hours. With the first game against Louisiana Tech only a week and a half way, Coach Gene Chizik said the team has started to narrow things down to get ready for the Bulldogs.

"I thought we practiced well," Chizik said. "We're getting down to seven or eight days left to practice before we play. We're obviously trying to refine a lot of things. We're working towards Louisiana Tech. That's kind of where our efforts were today. We've got a long way to go but I thought we made some progress today.

"We've gotten to the point now where we're really trying to do some looks teams," he added. "We spent some of the day going against each other always trying to keep that fast mentality. Yet we're trying to work enough Louisiana Tech. We've got so many things within ourself that we've got to fix that we just go fully to Louisiana Tech yet."

There are several questions left to answer on both sides of the ball. One of those is at wide receiver where senior Montez Billings was wearing #18 on Tuesday and working some with the scout team. After missing spring practice because of an academic situation, Chizik said the senior's status is still up in the air.

"We don't really know exactly where we are," Chizik said. "We'll play close attention to that in the next few days." When asked if the decision was in his hands or someone else Chizik said it was someone else's decision to be made.

One of the best signs on was the linebacker situation looked much better at Tuesday's practice with Eltoro Freeman back on the field for the first time in over a week. Bothered by hamstring and hand injuries, Chizik said it was good to see the redshirt sophomore on the field. Also practicing was sophomore Adam Herring after he missed the entire spring and much of the fall because of knee and ankle injuries.

"It was really good," Chizik said. "I feel like our numbers are starting to get back as far as the players that have been banged up. I feel like we are slowly and surely getting more guys to practice. He (Eltoro) is one we're trying to be smart with. It was good to see him and some others kind of resurface."

Offensively, Chizik said he's seen a nice progression since senior Chris Todd was named the starter. He said the fact that they're getting more time to practice as a first unit should only help as they get closer to opening the season.

"I think the offense is executing better," Chizik said. "I thought they made a lot of progress in practice on Sunday. I think slowly but surely we're making progress as far as execution goes offensively."

Freshman quarterback Tyrik Rollison missed Tuesday's practice with flu-like symptoms. Chizik said because of the concern with the number of cases in the area that they didn't want to take any chances with the rest of the team.

The Tigers will practice Wednesday afternoon with workouts scheduled Thursday and Friday before taking Saturday off.

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