Chizik Talks Practice, Recruiting

Auburn's Gene Chizik talks about Wednesday's practice, updates the status of several players, and talks about the big day on the recruiting front.

Auburn, Ala.--After taking Monday and Tuesday off, the Auburn Tigers returned to practice with a two-hour workout in full pads on Wednesday. Coach Gene Chizik said with just two practice days since the Iron Bowl his team had its share of problems, but overall he was pleased with the effort.

"It was a good practice today," Chizik said. "It was good preparation for Northwestern I felt like. We were in full pads and tried to get after it a little bit. We were kind of rusty and tried to knock some of the dust off. Overall we were active and it was a good practice."

While the Tigers got back to practice as they get ready for the Northwestern Wildcats, the big story was off the practice field as sophomore running back Eric Smith was missing from the workout. Chizik said that he's currently working on his academics, but that's all he would say.

"Eric is finishing up some academic appointments today," Chizik said. "That's what he was doing today."

Chizik said the overall academic question surrounding his team wouldn't be completely known until later this week. That means the questions surrounding Smith will likely go on for at least a few more days.

"Finals just finished and things of that nature so we're going to know more by Friday whether we should have everything in at that point," Chizik said.

Auburn spent much of the early part of practice working on fundamentals on both sides of the ball. For the quarterbacks that meant footwork both in the passing and running game. Chris Todd took the majority of the reps with Neil Caudle getting the second-team reps.

Eltoro Freeman gets ready for Wednesday's practice.

Defensively the good news for the Tigers is that linebacker Eltoro Freeman looks to be moving around well after injuring his foot and having a slight concussion during the Georgia game, causing him to miss the Iron Bowl. Also practicing was safety Mike McNeil, who has missed the entire season because of a broken leg suffered at the end of the spring. Chizik said it has been good to see him out there running around.

"He's moving around well," Chizik said of McNeil. "I feel like he's trying to get back that step that he lost. It has been good to see him out there running around and pretty much cutting it loose. He's having fun out there. It's just good to see him running around out there close to full speed."

Tiger Ticket Extra: On Wednesday Auburn signed four players that are planning to enroll early and go through spring practice, adding to an already impressive class for the Tigers this year. Chizik said he‘s very pleased with how this recruiting class is shaping up.

"I'm very excited about the prospects of being able to bring very good players in here," Chizik said. "Today was a great start to what we feel like is going to be a very good signing class."

Three of the players signed on Wednesday are definite early guys as high school standouts Jessel Curry and Craig Sanders will both be in Auburn in early January along with fellow signee, junior college tight end Brandon Mosley. The wildcard is the fourth signee Roszell Gayden. He could be an early enrollee as well, making Wednesday a huge day for Chizik and the Tigers. He commented on both junior college signees following Wednesday's practice.

"We signed two junior college young men that we are extremely excited about," Chizik said. "Roszell Gayden, we are really excited about the prospects of what he's going to bring to the table to Auburn. Brandon Mosley is a great athlete, a huge tight end/offensive lineman prospect. We think his potential is unlimited. He's got some great days ahead of him. He's such a good athlete he could bring a lot to the table as a tight end or an offensive lineman. We really feel like those two junior college signees are going to make our football team better."

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