Neither Side Dominates In First Scrimmage

A report on Auburn's first preseason football scrimmage features comments from players, coaches plus news and notes.

Auburn, Ala.--In the Auburn coaching staff's scoring system, the offense out-pointed the defense 37-28 in the first football scrimmage of the preseason, but No. 1 quarterback Cameron Newton gave the offensive performance a mixed review.

"The first scrimmage went alright," he said. "There were some good, positive things, but there are always things we can work on and we are going to watch them film and get ready for tomorrow.

"We are trying to execute and get in no-huddle shape," the six-foot-six, 250-pound quarterback said. "Coach (Gus) Malzahn said we are nowhere near where we are supposed to be a couple of weeks from now for our opening game. We just try to go out there day to day and just try to get better."

Asked how he thought he performed, Newton said. "I did okay. I feel like I can always get better and get more consistent on my throws."

Newton hit a long pass to freshman Antonio Goodwin and another freshman receiver, Shaun Kitchens, caught multiple passes and won praise from Newton, who said the 6-3, 215-pounder is picking up the offense quickly.

Redshirt freshman Clint Moseley hooked up with Goodwin on a long pass play, too, and won praise from Newton. "Clint Moseley had an excellent day throwing the ball today," said Newton, who added, "As a whole, the offense has to do better."

Antonio Goodwin catches a long pass on Wednesday night behind freshman cornerback Chris Davis

High school All-American tailback Michael Dyer said he enjoyed his first scrimmage even though there was a lot more passing than running in the session. None of the backs broke off a long run on Wednesday night at the stadium.

"It was pretty good and exciting," Dyer said. "My adrenalin was rushing a little bit getting a chance to get in there and get a feel for the speed of the game. It was a good day. I got to carry it a few times just to get a feel for it. We were trying to let everybody get reps to see what they could do.

"Overall I think we did okay on offense," Dyer added. "There were some great passes and great catches."

Head coach Gene Chizik said the scrimmage should give the staff plenty of video to evaluate this week as the staff makes decisions on which newcomers will break into the playing rotation this season.

In other news and notes from the scrimmage at Jordan-Hare Stadium:

*Freshman safety Demetruce McNeal, who played with Kitchens at Banneker High, had multiple good plays in the secondary as did another true freshman at the position, Ryan Smith from Cordova.

*Freshman defensive tackle Jeffrey Whitaker got a lot of action with the second team defense and showed his promise as the coaches work to get him ready for playing time this fall. The other true freshman defensive tackle, Kenneth Carter from Greenville, saw plenty of action.

*For wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor a major theme of the preseason is wide receiver blocking and Terrel Zachery had several nice blocks and catches in the scrimmage.

*Chizik said the lack of turnovers was a plus, but there were too many penalties at the scrimmage that featured game officials.

*Former Tiger basketball star Chuck Person, who was visiting campus on Wednesday, spoke to the team before the scrimmage as did former AU head football coach Pat Dye, who gave a lengthy speech to the team.

*Freshman wide receiver Trovon Reed was held out of the practice due to a leg injury, but he is not expected to be out long.

*Senior safety Zac Etheridge was also held out of the scrimmage as he recovers from a 2009 neck and back injury.

*Senior tackle Zach Clayton said he thought the defensive front had a solid night in the first scrimmage. He split his time between tackle and the noseguard spot.

*Offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn said he wants to see the pace of the offense pick up for scrimmage number two that will be held on Saturday. Although the players said it was a close scrimmage with the offense probably making more plays, Malzahn said the offense has a "lot" of work to do. That work will start with two practices on Thursday.


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