After a sluggish Sunday practice, Assistant Head Coach Trooper Taylor said Monday was a different story for his guys and the team in general.
"Actually it was pretty good," Taylor said. "We had less drops today. Yesterday we were kind of rusty. We had three drops out there and it kind of becomes contagious. I got on the managers because they dropped a ball...they did a much better job. Coach (Gene Chizik) even had to make an emphasis at the end of practice yesterday about the focus. We got that cleared up."
Working on every aspect of the game plan for Northwestern, Auburn had a beautiful day to practice with temperatures in the 60s and plenty of sunshine. Continuing to work some of the younger players into the mix on both sides of the ball, that included in secondary as young players such as Drew Cole, Mike Slade, T'Sharvan Bell and D'Antoine Hood got plenty of work preparing for Northwestern's wide open passing attack.
Much of the previous weeks of practice in Auburn was spent working with younger players on offense with coordinator Gus Malzahn getting a look at the quarterbacks behind Chris Todd. Malzahn said so far he's been pleased with what he's seen out of the guys behind Todd and number two quarterback Neil Caudle as well as the young wide receivers.
"Both Barrett Trotter and (Clint) Moseley have done a solid job at quarterback and we've given them a lot of reps," Malzahn said. "Both, at times, have looked very well. Our young receivers seem to be getting better as well."
Auburn's practice field at the University of Tampa.
Playing a limited role early in the season, receivers such as DeAngelo Benton and Emory Blake came on strong towards the end of the year as they became more comfortable in the offense. Malzahn said the Tigers would like to get them more involved in the bowl game against Northwestern to give guys such as Darvin Adams and Terrell Zachery a little break.
It's hard to imagine taking Adams off the field the way he's played this season. With 48 catches for 855 yards and 10 touchdowns, the sophomore had one of the best years in Auburn history for a receiver. Perhaps as close as anyone to the young receivers because he works with them every day, Adams said he's seen them getting better with every practice.
"They've matured a lot," he said. "D-Lo (DeAngelo Benton) is getting more precise on his routes. Emory is blocking a little better. They're getting better as the year has gone along."
With more weapons at his disposal that could mean new things for Malzahn and the Auburn offense to employ against the Wildcats. Adams said he's always ready for something new and he can't wait to see what happens on New Year's Day.
"Coach Malzahn comes up with a lot of stuff," Adams said. "He doesn't like to play around when it comes to football. Outside of football you do whatever, but when you get between those white lines you better be ready. Everybody is excited because he has a great plan. He's got something up his sleeve so we're waiting on him to pull it out."
Auburn will join players from Northwestern at Busch Gardens on Monday for a relaxed trip at the theme park. On Tuesday the Tigers will have an early practice before the Debartalo Team Luncheon followed by a visit to Gameworks in Ybor City Tuesday night.