Plenty of Work to Do, Football Tigers Say

Nosa Eguae

Comments from Auburn players and coaches are featured in a report on the Monday football practice.

Auburn, Ala.--The Tigers focused on correcting mistakes from the second major scrimmage of the spring in Monday's two-hour practice in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts at the Hutsell-Rosen Track and Field and the Auburn women's soccer complex.

Coach Gene Chizik continued with his spring training theme that the Tigers are a "work in progress" with just four more practices remaining including the annual A-Day Game that will be played on Saturday.

So what did the coach think of his team after watching video of Saturday's scrimmage? "We have a long way to go in about every department," he said. "I can just throw an umbrella over everything."

Although he will just be a redshirt sophomore, Nosa Eguae will be one of the more experienced players on the defensive front this fall.

Eguae took over a starting assignment midway through the 2010 season and held on to it through Auburn's BCS Championship Game victory over the Oregon Ducks.

With end Antoine Carter and tackle Zach Clayton being seniors last season and 2010 SEC Defensive Player of the Year Nick Fairley going pro after his junior season at tackle, Eguae is the only returning starter on the front four. He is trying to take a leadership role despite his youth and that showed on Saturday.

Eguae stepped up with a strong performance in Auburn's second major scrimmage of the spring as the defense held the upper hand on the offense. He had a sack and was one of the reasons why the defense outscored the offense 51-15 in the scrimmage.

"We just want to come out and get better," Eguae said about the defense. "We started a little slow and that is something our coaches harp on us about because we were a great finishing team last year. At times we would get down by 14 points and even more last season, but that is something we can't do again this year.

"We started a little flat at the start of the scrimmage, but the thing I like about our group is we picked it up to a point where we were flying around out there making plays," Eguae said. "That is how we need to start it off and finish it."

The Tigers now have 11 practice dates in the book with four five scheduled including the annual spring game, which will kick off at 2 p.m. CDT on Saturday, April 16th at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

"On defense we are improving and we know we can continue to improve every day," Eguae said. "If we do that by fall we can be ready to play, but we are not there yet.

"Getting better is what it is all about in this league," the defensive end adds. "If you stay the same you are going to get beat. You can't get complacent, you can't get stagnant, you have got to get better."

In other news and notes:

*Redshirt freshman offensive guard Tunde Fariyike, who was carted off the field on Saturday, was not seriously hurt and will be available for the spring game, Chizik said.

*Jay Boulware, who is in charge of the special teams, said he likes the way Cody Parkey has been kicking field goals in practice this spring. The sophomore made a 49-yarder on Saturday that would have been good from 60 yards out, Boulware said. Walk-on Chandler Brooks, the backup kicker and cornerback Ryan White, are holding for field goals and extra points.

*Boulware said that he is pleased with the hang time that Steven Clark is showing on his punts, but would like to see the sophomore get the ball farther down range more consistently so his average can move into the 40s. The coach said Clark is averaging around 38 yards per punt this spring.

*Boulware said the kickoffs from Parkey and Brooks needs to improve although at times they are getting the ball high enough and deep enough.

Daren Bates is "trying to pick up his level of play" this spring. "He is looking like he is very knowledgeable and understanding in what we are trying to do," the coach stated. "He still has to perfect it."

Chizik added that Bates is a physical player, a comment seconded by cornerback T'Sharvan Bell, who said he considers Bates, himself and Eguae as the most physical players on defense.

*Like he mentioned on Saturday after the scrimmage, the race between quarterbacks Barrett Trotter and Clint Moseley for the starting assignment is very close, Chizik said on Monday. "I don't think there has really been much, if any, separation."

*QB Moseley said after looking at video of the scrimmage on Saturday it was a "real bad" day for the offense. The final score in the scrimmage was 51-15 in favor of the defense.

*Commenting on redshirt freshman receiver Trovon Reed, Chizik said he has "not arrived," but added the shifty wideout has done a lot of good things in practice this spring.

*The Tigers are scheduled to practice again on Wednesday and Friday prior to Saturday's spring game.

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