Auburn, Ala.--Following Friday evening’s football practice, Auburn coach Gene Chizik commented on the arrest of one of his players and talked about his hopes for Auburn’s third major scrimmage of the spring that is scheduled for Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Sophomore running back Eric Smith was arrested at 1:42 a.m. on Friday on a charge of disorderly conduct at the Lexington Inn on South College Street. He was not at Friday evening’s practice that lasted about 90 minutes and finished just before the area was hit by thunderstorms.
“It was an incident that I spent a lot of the day fact-finding, and doing a lot of research on the incident,” Chizik said. “I am not going to go into any details or the specifics of the matter. In my opinion it is a family matter between Eric, myself and our football team, but I can assure it has been addressed.
“I have met with the young man, I have met with our football team,” Chizik added. “We have certain expectations of an Auburn man and quite frankly he did not live up to that. We have addressed it and if you see him in an Auburn uniform again I can guarantee you that he has paid a price to be an Auburn man, and he will be a lot better one at that point than he is now. I don’t want to belabor the point and I don’t want to get into specifics or details of the situation, but again I can assure you I addressed it.”
Chizik wouldn’t confirm nor deny that Smith has been suspended from the team, noting that it was an internal matter.
With Smith’s status in limbo, Onterio McCalebb and Mario Fannin are expected to share the tailback reps behind starter Ben Tate. Smith has also been in the mix for playing time at tailback and he can also play fullback.
Friday Practice Video
If Smith is suspended from the opening game, the door could be opened for true freshman tailback Dontae Aycock to see playing time. He is a player making a conversion from high school quarterback to college running back.
Aycock said he isn’t certain if he is going to play or redshirt this year, but notes that he is making progress and he would like to play. Commenting on the toughest adjustment for him so far, he said, “Just the tempo. Everything is fast now. College football is moving at a fast pace.”
Aycock notes that he has dropped eight pounds since coming to Auburn this summer. He currently checks in at 5-10, 220 pounds, which he said feels like a good weight.
The tailback said that running back coach Curtis Luper has been patient with him as he learns a new position and notes that senior starter Tate “has been a great help to me.”
Dontae Aycock is shown at an Auburn practice.
After a light workout on Friday evening, the Tigers are scheduled to scrimmage for the third, and probably last time, this preseason. With opening night vs. Louisiana Tech two weeks away, the head coach says the focus has been primarily on his own team. “We have so many things we have got to tighten up, but that being said we have worked a little bit on them,” he says of the Bulldogs.
Commenting on what would make him a happy head coach following Saturday’s scrimmage, Chizik said, “I would really like to see a team where there are no stupid penalties--things that just get you beat for no reason.
“I would like to see a football team that operationally runs very smooth,” he added. “That is communication, that is formations, that is calls from the sideline, that is communication between the coaches. We would really love to see a smooth operation tomorrow. And, then us getting out of that scrimmage without getting anybody else dinged up is the top three.”
In other news:
*Juco transfer Nick Fairley worked at defensive end on Friday evening. He is cross-training at the position along with learning the assignments at tackle. Fairley, who played end in high school and junior college, said he feels comfortable outside at that position. He notes that after missing spring training, he feels like he has made progress in the past several weeks, something his position coach, Tracy Rocker, also noted this week.
*Chizik said the coaching staff has not finalized who will be in the press box and who will be on the sideline although the coordinators, Gus Malzahn and Ted Roof, have said they will call their alignments from the sideline.
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