Tigers Begin Spring Practice

Senior QB Neil Caudle makes a handoff.

A report on Auburn's first spring practice of 2010 features comments from players and coaches.

Auburn, Ala.--Gene Chizik's football Tigers began their second spring under his direction with a two-hour and 15-minute workout in shorts and shoulder pads on a warm and sunny day on the Auburn University campus.

The head coach called the workout a good one although he noted he saw signs of rust as the Tigers switched from winter workout mode to on-the-field practice.

"It felt great to finally get out on the field," said Brandon Mosley, one of five early signees who went through his first Auburn practice on Wednesday. "I think it went well today."

Brandon Mosley is shown at Wednesday's practice.

Mosley, a 6-6, 295-pounder from Coffeyville Community College in Kansas, is making a transition from tight end and defensive end to offensive tackle. The battle competition Mosley and fellow early arrival Roszell Gayden, a juco transfer from College of the Sequoias, is expected to be one of the highlights of spring drills.

The two transfers are competing for the vacant right tackle spot where Andrew McCain started last year as a senior. Both Chizik and offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn said they liked the work ethic they saw from both newcomers during the winter workouts.

After Wednesday's practice, Gayden said he felt good about the way the things went and noted that his expectation is to be the starter at right tackle this season.

Overall, the head coach said he was pleased with what he saw. "I thought it was a good opening day," Chizik said of the practice. "I?thought there was a lot of great effort out there. Obviously, we are very rusty in a lot of ways, but obviously it is easier your second time around.

"I think the expectations and everybody knowing where they are supposed to be at practice, and the tempo of practice and things of that nature are obviously easier and were better today," Chizik added.

"We are looking for consistency in our practices in terms of not only our effort but in execution on both sides of the ball," the coach said. "Hopefully, Friday will be much better."

It is doubtful anybody enjoyed the first practice of the spring any more than sixth-year senior Aairon Savage. "It felt great to be back out there," he said. "As a football player getting back out on the field is what you enjoy."

He noted that the offseason workouts were a challenge and that everybody on the team was eager to move into the next phase of preparations for the 2010 season.

Aairon Savage

Savage, who has missed the last two seasons with injuries, will be worked into the mix slowly to make sure he is 100 percent physically before he has contact after coming off an Achilles injury that put his football career in jeopardy in the summer of 2009.

"Everything is coming along nicely," Savage said. "I am just going to take it one day at a time, but I am excited to be back out there again."

Savage, a former starter at safety who has also worked at cornerback, noted that he is currently working with the safeties.

In other news and notes from the practice:

*As expected, redshirt freshman quarterback Tyrik Rollison was not at the session. Commenting on the quarterback, Chizik said, "He is still in school and he is focusing solely on his academics. That is where his concentration is. We will see how it unfolds by the end of the semester, but right now it is an academic plan." Chizk said that Rollison is still considered a member of the football team and said he didn't want to speculate on whether or not he would be a part of the team this fall or transfer elsewhere.

Tyrik Rollison

*Chizik said he is no rush to name a starting quarterback and isn't going to put on deadline for that happening.

*Fullback John Douglas is no longer with the team and plans to transfer to another college. Another running back, walk-on Jason King, is no longer on the team.

*Safety Zac Etheridge is at practice, but is very limited in what he can do as he continues to recover from a back and neck injury suffered in the Ole Miss game last season.

*Daren Bates, who is making the move from safety to outside linebacker, is limited in what he can do this spring after having offseason surgery. Chizik said that Bates, who started at safety as a true freshman, will play in a similar role to a nickel back. The coach also noted it was possible that Bates could see duty at safety again this fall.

"We are trying to get as much speed on the field as possible," Chizik said in explaining why Bates is getting a look at linebacker. "Sometimes that involves moving guys closer to the line of scrimmage."

The Tigers will practice two more times this week with workouts scheduled on Friday and Saturday.

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