AUBURN, AL - The Auburn football team held its first scrimmage of the season Wednesday evening in Jordan-Hare Stadium, running approximately 70 plays.
"Tonight, for our first scrimmage, there were a lot of good things that happened," said Auburn head coach Gene Chizik. "We really put together back-to-back practices that I was proud of and I think they responded well to what we feel like we need to do to make our football team better.
With a full-speed scrimmage under their belts, Chizik said it was good to see some big plays being made on both sides of the ball.
"Offensively, we had some really nice explosive plays, mostly in the passing game," said Chizik. "Defensively, we did some things as well, but gave up too many big plays, obviously. There were a lot of plays being made on both sides and I really feel that for the first scrimmage there can be a lot of great teaching from this and we are going to come back out Saturday and do it again."
With a senior-laden roster and a lot of experience returning on both sides of the ball, Chizik and his staff also used the scrimmage as an opportunity to evaluate some of the newcomers.
"When you have a lot of seniors, you know what they can do for the most part," said Chizik. "We are trying to get enough reps with the older guys to get our timing right on some different things. But, for the most part, our young guys got a lot of good reps tonight, which is going to be good for us to evaluate and grade. It is going to be a learning experience."
Auburn will return to the practice fields behind the Auburn Athletic Complex at 10 a.m., Thursday for its second two-a-day of the season. All practices are closed to the public.
Auburn opens the 2010 season on Sept. 4 against Arkansas State at 6 p.m. CT in Jordan-Hare Stadium. The game will be televised by Fox Sports Net.
A limited number of season, mini-season and single-game tickets are still available. For more information, please visit www.auburntigers.com or call 1-800-AUB-1957.
AUBURN PLAYER QUOTES
Dee Ford, DE
On retaining entire coaching staff from last season…
"We are part of a program and we're used to it. Everybody knows they are supposed to be doing the same things over and over. I think it's going to help in allowing us to build a stronger team. We're confident. We have strong quarterbacks and some more depth on defense this year. We're feeling really good."
On progress through preseason…
"We're going real hard at practice right now. We just started camp. Once the season gets closer, it's going to get easier. Practices are going smooth. Everybody is getting used to the system and we're all just practicing hard."
Josh Bynes, LB
On young talent…
"The talent was there with all the young guys, especially Ryan Smith and Demetruce McNeal. They came in and played well. The freshmen who came in, especially the linebackers, played well. It's great for the young guys to come in and get some reps. They did a great job in the end stopping the offense."
Cam Newton, QB
Thoughts on Auburn offense as the season approaches…
"Everyone knows the season is right around the corner. It's here. There's not a lot more to say. The guys are out there knowing they have to get better. They have to know their assignments. Coach (Gus) Malzahn is coaching the quarterbacks up and pointing out our mistakes – telling us how we can make ourselves better."
On personal performance…
"I had an OK performance but I can always do better - some throws that I'm capable of making. There were some throws I had to make but didn't."
Onterio McCalebb, RB
On offense's big play potential following first scrimmage…
"I'm used to the offense making big plays. That's what we do at practice – make big plays. Preseason practices are coming out well. We go out there and work hard every day. We'll go into the film room tonight and correct our mistakes. We go out there every day doing what we have to do to win."
On team spirits heading into the season…
"I'm feeling really good. Everybody is pumped up for the season. We're all just counting down the days until Arkansas State. Everybody is having fun and working hard."
Craig Stevens, LB
On lower classman performance at scrimmage…
"One guy that really stood out was Demetruce McNeal. He made a lot of big plays today. Ryan Smith made a couple big plays today too. Overall I feel like we did pretty good offensively and defensively. The offense had a couple of big plays but we came around at the end and had a couple of big stops. Overall, I think it was a great scrimmage on both sides.
"The young guys got a lot of reps. All the young guys had a great day. They might not have known where to go right when the ball was snapped, but once they figured it out they hustled toward it."
Terrell Zachery, WR
On offensive performance in tonight's scrimmage
"The offense had a great night. We still have a lot of small stuff we need to correct but everything looked real good. Antonio Goodwin and Shaun Kitchens are really picking up the offense. Shaun is a bigger receiver. He went out there and made some plays."