Auburn, Ala.—One day after Clint Moseley came on to replace Barrett Trotter and helped the Auburn Tigers to a 17-6 win over Florida, Coach Gene Chizik wouldn’t say whether or not the job was officially his. Completing four of seven passes for 90 yards the sophomore got praise from Chizik, but he stopped short at naming him the starter just yet.
“Obviously we watched the film,” Chizik said. “We'll come back tonight. We're going to evaluate it some more. Gus and I will talk through it. Obviously by the next time we practice, we'll know what we're going to do. We're still going to talk through it and evaluate it some more.
“I thought he did some good things,” he added of Moseley. “I thought there were some things he could have done better. He did some good things. One errant ball almost got picked, so we have those things out there, too. But for a guy coming into a football game and being asked to move the football team and be productive, I think he did a good job.”
Whether it’s Moseley or Trotter, Auburn’s offense will face a tough challenge this weekend at LSU as the Bengal Tigers allow just 11.7 points and 251.0 yards of offense per game this season.
“When you're going to play the No. 1 team in the country, that's going to be a hard start for anybody, especially defensively how they play,” Chizik said. “It's just another great SEC team we've got to play against. They're just a very good football team. Whoever starts, it's going to be a challenge.”
One of the real bright spots on defense for the Tigers the last two weeks has been Eltoro Freeman. With sophomore Jake Holland battling through two injured ankles and a thumb injury, Freeman stepped in as the starter at middle linebacker and responded with a solid game. Chizik said the senior from Alexander City earned it and responded by playing well.
"I think Toro's earned it,” Chizik said. “I don't think there's any question the last couple of weeks, his play's been at another level. I think he earned the start. He played well two weeks ago. I thought he played well last night at times. There's no question we can all improve, but I think the game has slowed down for him some. I think he's done a good job with stepping in and being able to produce. That's why he got the start.”
Another defensive player that has come on strong is sophomore Corey Lemonier. With two sacks in the win over Florida he now has six on the season to lead the Southeastern Conference. He is tied for second in the league with 10 tackles for a loss this season. Chizik said it’s just a matter of experience and learning for Lemonier.
“I just think that he's to the point in his career where he's got the game, I think he's got it figured out,” Chizik said. “He's getting better and better. I think the game has slowed down for him. We talked after the first couple of games; I was not pleased with his production at all. He knew that's how I felt.
“I feel like he's really taken it upon himself to try to take his game to a new level. He's a very talent kid and he has the ability to make those kinds of plays you see -- he just wasn't doing it. He hasn't had to play as many plays. I think that helps. He's definitely been much more productive over the last couple of weeks.”
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Wide receiver Emory Blake saw limited action on Saturday against Florida and Chizik said that the risk-reward was just too high to play him a big number of snaps against the Gators. He said the junior should have a much better chance of playing this week however.
“We're going to know more by Tuesday,” Chizik said. “I think he's definitely closer than he was this time last week. How far along that really is, I don't know. If Emory has to sit the whole week, by game time he knows this offense inside and out. He knows what he's supposed to be doing. That's really not going to be an issue, but we would prefer for him to practice if he can. It's going to take a lot of treatment and a lot of time devoted to getting him healthy because he's still not there.”
Chizik said that running back Tre Mason was banged up and held out of Saturday’s game. He said they are hopeful to have the freshman available for this week’s game.
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