Chizik Looking for Strong Finish to Spring

The Auburn Tigers returned to the practice on Monday as they work toward their annual spring football game that will be played this week.

Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn Tigers returned to their football practice fields on Monday for their 11th of 15 spring practices and head coach Gene Chizik said he liked what he saw as the Tigers practiced for 2 1/2 hours in shorts.

"I thought today the tempo was good and we got some things accomplished out there," Chizik noted.

"Week four is a week of nothing but urgency in spring practice," Chizik added. "We can't let them look forward to letting them get it over with and all of those things that naturally come with it this time of the year. Today is about urgency, today is about really focusing and trying to get better at our trade--each player. We talked about that before practice."

Saturday's second major scrimmage of the spring didn't provide any resolution on the big question on offense regarding the quarterback depth chart. Although junior college transfer Cameron Newton looks to be the guy to beat for the spot, Chizik said that no depth chart has been set at the position.

The quarterbacks and the rest of the Tigers are scheduled to practice again on Wednesday and Friday prior to Saturday's spring game, which is set for 1 p.m. at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

The Tigers are scheduled to practice again one more time on the day after the A-Day Game. Senior Josh Bynes said that is when he expects the Tigers will scrimmage and use all of their playbook on both offense and defense. He predicts the Tigers will hold back in the spring game, which will be televised nationally on ESPNU.

Commenting on the spring game, Bynes said, "A-Day, of course, is for the fans because everybody is out there to see what is going. A lot of times we won't really do everything. We just do some things."

Josh Bynes

Bynes added, "It is all about that last practice after A-Day what is going on--all the plays, tricks and everything out of the book and going against each other."

Chizik said he and his staff haven't decided on how the A-Day game will be played and whether or not it will feature the No. 1 offense going against the No. 1 defense. "I don't know what type of format we are going to have,"?he said, noting that it depends on the injury situation at the end of the week and the number of players available to scrimmage on Saturday.

"We are going to just run our offense, run our defense," Chizik said of the A-Day format. "How exotic we will get with anything...everybody has really seen us on film and everybody really knows what we do. We just have to do it better than we did last year. We will open things up on both sides of the ball."

Chizik notes that the coaches hope to get in a half scrimmage prior to Saturday's spring game.

News and Notes: Chizik and Auburn players will be available to sign autographs on the field at Jordan-Hare Stadium following the A-Day Game...After watching the Saturday scrimmage video, Chizik said Mario Fannin, Darvin Adams and Demond Washington are the three guys who stood out...Chizik said he is looking for linebacker Eltoro Freeman to develop more as an all-around player. Freeman missed Saturday's scrimmage with a hamstring problem...Chizik said he is looking to see safety Mike McNeil step up his level of play. The former starter missed the entire 2009 season recovering from a broken bone in his leg...John Sullen, who started at guard in the second scrimmage with Mike Berry and Bart Eddins out with injuries, is making significant progress this spring, according to offensive line coach Jeff Grimes. Sullen started one game last season as a true freshman...Grimes said his whole offensive group is ahead of where it was last fall as far as understanding how to play their positions...Middle linebacker Bynes said he has been impressed with the way running backs Fannin and Onterio McCalebb have run the football this spring. Defensively, he said that walk-on safety Ikeem Means is playing well. Means played last fall as a true freshman with most of his duty on special teams. "He has been getting after it," Bynes said. The senior linebacker noted that sophomore Jonathan Evans, who started last year vs. Alabama, is really improving this spring. Bynes Craig Stevens (weakside) and Evans (strongside) were the linebacker starters in scrimmage two.


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