Tigers Ready for A-Day Game

A preview of Saturday's A-Day football game features comments from Auburn coaches and players.

Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn Tigers tuned up for their A-Day football scrimmage on Saturday with a light workout for two hours and 15 minutes that focused on preparations for playing a game that will feature a regular first half followed by offense vs. defense in the second half.

Coach Gene Chizik has divided the squad into Blue and White teams trying to get an even first half of action. The Blue squad features the first team offensive players and the White squad features the first team defense.

Those two teams will play 12-minute first and second quarters with the regular clock stoppages. In the third quarter the session will change to offense vs. defense with 12-minute quarters featuring a running clock.

Saturday's A-Day Game, which kicks off at 1 p.m. CDT, will be televised on ESPNU. It will be the 14th of 15 spring practices. The Tigers will close their spring schedule with a workout on Monday that will not include a scrimmage, Chizik said.

Commenting on what it will take on Saturday to make it a successful A-Day Game, Chizik said, "I want to make sure we get accomplished during the scrimmage consistency on both sides of the football. Offensively, obviously, get a number of explosive plays in there.

"Defensively, I would like to see us get some turnovers," Chizik said. "Again, at the end of the day, the goal is making sure we are healthy." The coach said the Tigers have had good luck on the injury front so far this spring.

"I want them to have fun," Chizik added of his goals for A-Day. "I would like to see some guys, under game conditions, produce."

The offense dominated the first part of spring drills, but the defense has been improving.

Senior defensive end Michael Goggans, who has earned praise from Chizik for his improved play this spring, said he can see signs of improvement from the defense as a whole.

"I am really proud of Michael," Chizik said. "I think he has really tried to up his game this spring a little bit in terms of the tempo he plays and the urgency he plays with. That has been noticeable to me."

Michael Goggans

Goggans, who is up to 268 pounds this spring, is playing at close to 10 pounds more than he weighed last season. "I feel like Coach Yox (Kevin Yoxall) has done a great job of getting us all prepared," he said. "I feel like I have gained weight and gained some more muscle strength and it is paying off on the field."

The senior said he is hoping for a strong performance in his final spring game. "I know I can be a whole lot better than what I have produced in the past," Goggans said. "I just came out there with a sense of urgency to just be the best and that is how I produced this spring."

Commenting on the overall defense, he said the group "has come a long way."

"Everybody was justing getting adjusted to Coach (Ted) Roof's defense last year," Goggans said. "You can see a big change in how we have progressed from last year to this year."

With no announced depth chart at the quarterback position, Chizik said it will be an important scrimmage for the group that includes Cameron Newton, Neil Caudle, Barrett Trotter and Clint Moseley.

Cameron Newton

"I want to see the operate in front of a lot of people," Chizik said. "Obviously, I want to see them execute in more of a game setting than they have probably had all spring. I?think for all four of them it is going to be a nice test." The quarterbacks will move between the Blue and White teams in the first half, Chizik pointed.

The coach has said the coaches will discuss the QB depth chart after the final spring practice before making a decision on the pecking order.

The Tigers had more than 45,000 fans at last year's Day Game and are expecting another large turnout this year.

News and Notes: Chizik said the Tigers will go into the spring game as a healthy football team. Offensive tackle Roszell Gayden, who is in a battle for the starting right tackle spot with fellow juco transfer Brandon Mosley, is scheduled to play on Saturday after missing the previous Saturday's scrimmage with an injury...Cornerback Neiko Thorpe, the hero in overtime in Auburn's bowl victory over Northwestern, is injured and is not expected to play on Saturday...Senior defensive end Michael Goggans is having a good spring. He says he is bigger and stronger than ever (268 pounds) and notes he is excited to see what he can do on Saturday...Cornerback coach Phillip Lolley says that T'Sharvan Bell has made progress at cornerback and is happier playing that position than safety where he lined up last season....Lolley says Demond Washington is having a good spring at cornerback and notes his playing time at safety late last season has made him a better overall player...Defensive tackle Mike Blanc says the defense has come a long way so far this spring. He says the defenders have a better understanding of the overall scheme, something that defensive end Goggans also says is the case...Chizik says that cornerback T'Sharvan Bell has made a jump in his performance level this spring.

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