Speedy Defense Dominates A-Day Game

Tommy Trott

Auburn, Ala.--The defensive coordinator was smiling after the annual A-Day Game, a great indication of which side played better in the annual scrimmage that wrapped up Auburn's spring training.

In a football game with 12-minute quarters, the first offense scored on a 53-yard pass play from junior quarterback Brandon Cox to redshirt freshman tight end Tommy Trott early in the first quarter. That turned out to be the only score of the contest as the Blue team, featuring the number one offense and number two defense, pitched a 7-0 shutout on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

"Physical play and tackling was what I was looking for out there today and for the most part I saw that," said Will Muschamp, who took over just before the start of spring training as Auburn's new defensive coordinator.

"We just have to continue to coach that and have a great offseason in which we get physically and mentally stronger," said Muschamp.

David Irons makes an interception on a pass thrown to Courtney Taylor.

"We need to have a get physical mindset," Muschamp added. "That is what Coach (Tommy) Tuberville wants. I think we got better in the spring. I think there were only two days in the spring we didn't do that.

"In the A-Day Game we just wanted to have a lot of intensity and emotion," Muschamp said. "We learned a great lesson on Thursday night when we came out flat and our kids understand that when you play defense at Auburn you better play with intensity or emotion or you won't play here."

In defense of the offense, it looked there was really a second touchdown scored, but the officials made a strange ruling of offensive pass interference on sophomore wideout Robert Dunn, who scored on a 30-yard pass play from Cox. Somehow, despite a lack of contact on the play, the officials called Dunn for pushing off and that TD was wiped off the scoreboard.

"The officials were pretty strict out there today on some of the calls," said Cox, who completed 12-21 passes for 104 yards. He was intercepted in the first quarter on a play in which the defense appeared to jump offsides. Cox threw a lob pass down the sideline for Courtney Taylor that was picked off by cornerback David Irons, who was one of the leaders of the defense on Saturday.

Playing exclusively for the White team, Blake Field completed 6-12 passes for 39 yards and Calvin Booker was 1-6 for 22 yards with one interception by senior cornerback Montae Pitts.

Brad Lester led all rushers with nine carries for 59 yards for the White team and five for 21 for the Blue. He was voted offensive MVP and David Irons was voted defensive MVP.

Trott had two catches for 69 yards for the Blue and two for 43 for the White was clearly the most productive offensive player.

With a crowd of 9,923 watching (only 10,000 tickets were sold because of stadium renovation), the first team defense allowed the first team offense just 118 net yards on 42 plays. Counting sacks, which happened with a touch on the QB (and sometimes with a defender just being close) the first offense netted just 14 yards on 21 carries.

The second offense didn't do a lot better vs. the two defense. That group gained just 146 yards on 45 plays. On 27 running plays, the White offense netted 85 yards.

"We are going to have to continue work on running the football a lot more consistently," Tuberville said. "That will make everything on offense go a lot better. As I just told the team, we have five months to get this thing the way we really want it. We made some progress, but we still have got a lot of work to do.

"We will continue to work on physical and mental toughness with our strength and conditioning program and hopefully we will make some progress on some things we need to do," Tuberville added.

The offense played without All-SEC tailback Kenny Irons, who watched from the sidelines. Irons, who scrimmaged on Thursday, was held out because he had nothing to prove, Auburn coaches said.

The offense also played without perhaps its top lineman, Tim Duckworth, who rested a knee that he is rehabbing after offseason surgery.

"Today was a pretty good game," Tuberville said. "We didn't do a lot on defense. Offensively, we limited a little bit what they can do. It was pretty much what we expected.

"Tommy Trott continues to improve, which we all expected him to do," the head coach said. "Tre Smith had another good day.

"Defensively, all of our speed showed up, even though we played a lot of base defense. You saw a lot of speed out of our defensive ends and linebackers. You saw a lot of good plays out of our defensive backs who made some plays. I thought David Irons played good."

Defensive end Antonio Coleman had a big day for the Tigers.

The leading tackler in the scrimmage was redshirt freshman defensive end Antonio Coleman, who had seven solo tackles and one assist including two sacks and one QB hurry. Irons was next with five tackles, safety Eric Brock had three solos and two assists.

Redshirt freshman linebacker Patrick Trahan had three solos and one assist, including a sack. Senior defensive end Marquies Gunn had two sacks.

True freshman tailback Ben Tate had 10 carries for 26 yards for the second offense and four carries for eight yards for the Blue offense.

Carl Stewart had five carries for 16 yards and had a nice run on a toss sweep negated by a penalty. He carried once for nine yards for the White. Tre Smith carried 5 times for 21 yards for the Blue team.

Other than Trott, none of the receivers had a big day. Montez Billings totaled 11 yards on two receptions for the Blue and Stewart had two catches for seven, Lee Guess one for nine and Prechae Rodriguez one for five yards. For the White, Rodgeriqus Smith had one catch for 12, Ulysses Alexander had one for eight and Tre Smith one for five yards.

"I limited their formations, too.," Tuberville said of the offense. "One thing you have to remember. Our defense knows our offense pretty good. At times when we do audible, it is very obvious and they know where the running play is going and the passing plays. It is a big edge for the defense at the end of spring practice. Even the younger guys fall into the fold of knowing the offense pretty well. There is no concern. We made a lot of progress on defense.

"I allowed the defense to do a few things today that the offense didn't even know they were going to do by bringing (blitzing) one linebacker at times or a safety. We didn't adjust very well at times. At times we did."

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