Football Workout Receives Mixed Reviews

A report on Thursday night's practice features comments from a pair of coaches and a promising young Auburn football player.

Auburn, Ala.--Defensive coach Tracy Rocker was upbeat while offensive coach Trooper Taylor expressed a different sentiment after Auburn's second two-a-days football practice on Thursday night.

Not happy with his receivers group after the full pads session, Taylor kept them after practice for more workouts and to make a point that he wasn't satisfied with what he had seen in the morning or night sessions.

"Today we didn't have a great day," Taylor said. "Today we were dog-awful as a wideout group, point-blank. It was all of it. Counting periods. Instead of making the days count they were counting the days. I'm not going to tolerate it or accept it. I think they got the message."

Taylor said the defense out-performed the offense on Thursday night. "Overall I thought the defense looked really good and I thought the guys that did practice made plays," he said. "The guys that stood around and watched and found a way to get out of practice didn't. We're going to get all that taken care of."

Taylor wasn't totally down on his receivers. Commenting on the Wednesday night session at Jordan-Hare Stadium, he said, "From the scrimmage I was impressed with the plays the guys made on the perimeter, especially some of the young guys even with the alignments and things like that. There are still some technique things like getting off press coverage and finding a window like some of the guys have to work on, but overall I was really pleased with the way they played."

Rocker, who coaches the Tigers' defensive line, had praise for a variety of players including a quartet of freshmen--ends Craig Sanders and Corey Lemonier plus tackles Jeffrey Whitaker and Corey Lemonier. Rocker said he expects all four to see playing time

"Craig Sanders has been a great plus," said Rocker, who noted that Corey Lemonier got off to a good start. "Corey Lemonier is adjusting. Two-a-days caught up with him a little bit. Those four guys have made some strides."

Rocker said he didn't anticipate redshirting any of the newcomers, including juco transfer Joel Bonomolo. The same is true of the veteran players. "Everybody is going to have a role to do something on this team," he said. "We are going to need everybody for the whole run."

Rocker said he is seeing signs that the players want to play well and "don't want to let anybody down." He added, "That is all you can ask."

Defensive lineman Jamar Travis is shown doing a football tip drill on Thursday. He is from W.S. Neal High in Brewton.

Little-used sophomore noseguard Jamar Travis received praise from Rocker for his performance in the scrimmage. "He had a good day today," said Rocker. "He surprised me. He has very much surprised me."

Derrick Lykes, had his moments in the scrimmage, Rocker said. "Lykes has shown spurts of like wow, then he disappears and comes back. We are just trying to build consistency there."

The coach has no complaints about consistency with one of his seniors. "Zach Clayton has been very steady and is just getting better and better playing at the nose spot," Rocker said. "That has been a key cog for us during camp to just watch Clayton do his thing. He has been exciting to watch. It is just a matter of just keeping doing it."

Another senior, defensive end Antoine Carter, had a great scrimmage, the coach said and noted he is pushing the other players like Nick Fairley, Mike Blanc and Michael Goggans to take their play to a higher level.

"We have created competition and we have numbers," Rocker said, pointing out that unlike last year guys can go hard every play and not have to conserve energy to be on the field for 80 plays. "You see guys trying to lay it on the line a little bit more," he added.

Jeffrey Whitaker is shown at Thursday's practice.

Antonio Goodwin, who caught two touchdowns in the Wednesday night scrimmage, is pushing for immediate playing time at wide receiver as a backup to Darvin Adams and Quindarius Carr.

"Practice is going good," he said. "There is competition everywhere. It is competitive and fun."

Commenting on the scrimmage, he said, "I got a couple of chances to make plays and I made them. I have the confidence of the coaches now."

He hauled in long passes from Cameron Newton and Clint Moseley in the scrimmage at Jordan-Hare Stadium. "Now I have confidence in myself that I can go out there and make plays,"?he said.

Goodwin said his first two weeks of college practice have not surprised him. He pointed out the coaches told him it would be challenging and that has been the case.

The freshman notes that Adams, Auburn's leading receiver in 2009, has been helpful. "He is like my mentor," Adams said. "He is telling me everything in the defense I need to read."

Goodwin said it is exciting to be a receiver in Auburn's offense with quarterbacks that can get him the football, something that was a struggle at times during his high school playing days at Washington in Atlanta. "Now I have quarterbacks who are going to get the ball to me and Cam (Cameron Newton) has got a cannon."

In other news:

Daren Bates works with the linebackers on Thursday. He is making the move from safety where he started every game last year as a freshman.

*The Tigers will be off on Friday prior to a scrimmage on Saturday. Auburn's annual Fan Day will take place from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday at the new Auburn Arena. Admission to Fan Day is free.

*Taylor said he enjoyed listening to former Auburn basketball star Chuck Person speaking to the team prior to Wednesday night's scrimmage.

"He talked about playing defense and you win championships playing defense. It was a good message for our team. He's one of us. He's family. He took time and talked to my 14-year old son like he grew up with him. That tells me something. That's what Auburn is about. He even thanked Coach (Pat) Dye for coming out and being a recruiter for him even though he was the football coach. He came to watch a game. Those are the kinds of things that separate Auburn from other schools."

Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories