April 14, 2012
Auburn Head Coach Gene ChizikOpening statement... "I think today we got some things accomplished in terms of what we set out to do in the beginning. Offensively, we just wanted to play sound football. Protect the football all day, which we did. We didn't leave any balls on the ground. I don't believe we had any turnovers to the best of my recollection. Defensively, we wanted, again, to be able to get out on third downs and stop the run, try to play physical on defense. Again, I wouldn't pay any attention to any of the stats today. It's different guys in there with different personnel groupings and mix and match players. I wouldn't read into any stats that you may see, good or bad. Again, I think this is going to be a good film that we can study and go back and look at and evaluate and learn from. It was nice to see them out there today. I want to say we really appreciate the crowd out there today. Awesome crowd. They had a great reason to be here today with three Heisman Trophy winners and also to see our football team perform. We appreciate the Auburn fans coming out."
On Mike Blakely having a good day and his progression throughout spring practice... "Inconsistent. Very inconsistent. I think he did some nice things today, but overall very inconsistent what he does. Again, today he had a couple of nice runs in there and that was good to see, but overall for him, very inconsistent through 14 days now."
On Zeke Pike going second today and how he's performed... "We're trying to look for the right mix and trying to distribute the reps where we feel is needed. Again, I wouldn't read anything into how the quarterbacks got rotated, who went with what group. Again, that doesn't have any bearing how we did that, other than we're trying to make sure that the reps stay fairly even. So with Zeke, I think he got a good number today. I'm not sure quite how many, but again, he went out there, and I thought he did a nice job."
On Kiehl Frazier's performance... "I thought that there were a couple of nice throws he made in there and a couple of nice catches as well from some of those guys. Again, we're looking for efficiency in our quarterbacks in the passing game, no question about it. Today I felt like Kiehl did some nice things. I think they all did. I think all the quarterbacks did some nice things. We'll evaluate film, and we'll see in detail how they did. From the overall general perspective it looked like they protected the football and were pretty efficient most of the time."
On if it will be August before a starting quarterback is named... "I'll never put a timeline on it, but we're not ready to pull the trigger anytime soon that I see."
On his philosophy in spring games of having a running clock in the second half... "Springs are very physical for us. We do a lot of 11 on 11. We do as much as the NCAA allows you to do. Our objective today was to get somewhere between 60-70 plays. First half, we ran a little bit over 40 I believe, so the second half is a little bit quicker. At the end of the day, for us to be able to evaluate a tape of 60-70 plays is about where we want to be."
On noticing a change in defensive players' approach since Brian Van Gorder began as defensive coordinator... "I think that it's really been very eye-opening for a lot of our defensive players simply because there's a lot of communication and a lot of things that they're required to do in this system that it's mandatory that they're always alert and they're always paying attention to the minute details of everything within the defense. The communication, I think, has been different for them. How they approach it, they've always been great in terms of how they approach it. They're all eager to play. We have competition going on in a lot of positions. I think Coach Van Gorder has brought in a great deal of enthusiasm to our defense. They enjoy playing in it. There's still a lot of learning that has to be done, but I think they've embraced that, and they enjoy it. I think it's been a really productive spring for us, defensively."
On having Auburn's three Heisman winners honored this morning and in attendance today... "Starting with those three guys, those are just three great Auburn men. They were all great players, but they're great Auburn men too. It was outstanding to be out there with those three guys. I've gotten to know all of them well, and I'm blessed to have done that and been able to be a part of those guys. How fitting for those three. It was outstanding the crowd we got today. The crowd that was at the ceremony this morning with the unveiling of the statues I thought was outstanding, but that was what makes Auburn different from a lot of other people. It's a great family atmosphere and they came out today and very well-deserved."
On how the defensive line went after the quarterbacks today... "I've been pleased with the way our defensive line has progressed all spring. We haven't arrived there at all, but we have a bunch of young guys still on that defensive line that I still feel like, as the months and years go on, we're still looking for a lot of production out of those guys. Defensive end-wise, we have a couple of guys that have really stepped forward in rushing the passer. That's with Corey Lemonier and Dee Ford. They're going to be difficult to block in certain situations off the edge. They stepped it up. Even our inside guys, they're starting to develop. They still have a lot of room for growth, but they've stepped it up."
On if it's a blessing in disguise having certain guys out with injury in the spring and younger players getting more reps... "Well, I would say in looking at it like the glass is half full, yes. Obviously, we would've loved to have those guys, especially when you're trying to install a new defense, we would've loved to have had all those guys because most of the guys who are out for the spring were defensive players. We would love to have them involved in the defense. Those reps are invaluable. But we did get an opportunity to look at a lot of young people because of those guys not being able to practice. It was what it was, but we made the most out of it."
On how he assesses Frazier as a passing quarterback... "The thing that just, overall, for Kiehl, is the consistency of his play. If you want to get into the technical details of the position, there's a lot of things that there's some minute details that a lot of people wouldn't recognize. That's body position when he throws, footwork, little things like that, but at the end of the day, we're looking at overall production. There's been some practices where he's been very productive. There's been some practices where he hasn't. I think that comes with being young, but again, the more he does it, the reps are invaluable and the reps building up will continue to help him improve. But he has certainly improved since day one, and I am very proud of him for that."
On LaDarius Owens being one of the defensive players who is improving... "He is. He's not a guy that's arrived, but you have to remember, his whole first year here he was a linebacker, and we tried him at linebacker. We felt like as big as he's gotten, he's grown a lot since he's been here. He's over 250 pounds. We felt like that would be the best suited position for him. We saw flashes last year in games that made us believe we're on the right track, and he's on the right track. With now 14 days done in the spring, him going into the second year doing this, we don't have any reason to believe that he's not on the same track. I think he's improved with a lot of room left to grow."
On getting consistent play at the running back position today... "It was fairly productive at times today. I think probably each guy had one or two decent runs, but again, we have some competition building at that position, and I think they're all aware of that. It's good to have different guys to potentially choose from, so they just have to keep working and staying on track. We have not arrived at that position at all. We're still too inconsistent at that position, and we have to find somebody who will take the ball and run it north and south and do it physical. We're still looking at inconsistency in that regard."
On Blakely's inconsistencies... "That's in everything. That's pass protection. That's catching the football. That's running the football. A good running back does all of those things."
Kiehl Frazier, QB, So.On his performance today... "I thought we did pretty well, I think we took a step forward definitely from the first day of spring. I thought we did pretty well today."
On where he sees himself as a quarterback... "I think all of us as quarterbacks are still learning. We have a long way to go. We don't have our full playbook in yet, and we've still got some fundamental things that we need to work on. But I think we've come a long way from where we were."
On where the offense is at this point... "I think we probably have 20 to 25 percent of the offense in. Not really as much as we wanted to get in, but we're going to work on that this summer. Fundamentally, we're a lot better, like I said, but we still have a ways to go."
On his progress over the past year... "I feel like I have progressed 1,000 percent. I feel a lot more comfortable, and I have caught up to the speed of the game. Hopefully that will show on the film"
Clint Moseley, QB, Jr.On his play in the A-Day Game... "I don't think I'll ever be satisfied, but considering the amount of offense we've put in and a few other factors, I felt like it was an OK day. I was able to connect with my high school teammate Sammie Coates a few times and that was a great feeling. Now that I'm thinking about it, it's pretty crazy that I completed two balls to Sammie. I did it so many times in high school and made Leroy (Ala.) proud. On a bigger note offensively, I thought we did pretty well considering. I know we are nowhere near where Coach [Scott] Loeffler and the rest of us want to be. But I felt like it was an OK day."
On what is next for this team... "The next step from here is getting us ready for the summer mini camps and the days we'll go out there and throw and give us an idea of what we're going to be doing; what plays we're going to put in since we've probably only put in a quarter to a third of our play book, so we've got a lot to go over. We've got the base in. From here we take it to the next level. It gets a little bit more advanced with a lot of learning required, but that is our next step, to get the rest of our offense put in."
Trent Fisher, DB, So.On his performance today... "I feel like I did some good things and some bad things, but overall I feel like I have a long way to go so I'm looking forward to coming back in on Monday and getting into the film and getting myself corrected. I'm looking forward to working hard this summer and getting ready for the fall."
On where the defense is this far in the spring... "I definitely think we're heading in the right direction. Like I said we still have a long way to go and a lot of hard work to put in. We have to learn the game. That is one thing this new system is about is knowing football, not just knowing what to do and why to do it. So I think we still have some work to do. I'm looking forward to it."
Dee Ford, DL, Jr.Overall thoughts on the A-Day game... "Everybody did a good job. We just had to put everything into the right place with having new coordinators. All in all we did a good job.
On what he improved the most this spring... "Communication and fundamentals, that's the name of the game. Communication and fundamentals."
On being named Defensive MVP... "I don't feel like I deserve it, I think I just did what I was supposed to do. I owe it all to my teammates. Anything I do is because of them and my defensive coaches."
On what he plans to improve on this offseason... "Definitely size and eyes. When I say eyes I mean that I have to improve what I see and how quick I react to that."
Emory Blake, WR, Sr.Thoughts on A-Day overall... "We came out and ran most of our basic stuff. We made some plays and looked good. The only negative was that we had a few drops, but that's something we will work on and fix this offseason."
On what he focused on improving this spring... "With me it was really learning the offense first. I had to get my assignments and lining up down. After that I had to really play with speed instead of worrying about extending so much on my routes. Coach Loeffler really wants speed off the ball, so that was the biggest thing for me."
On what he wants to improve this offseason... "Speed, strength, and catching the ball better. I have to keep on working on my routes because you can always improve. I want to work to get better in all areas of the game."
Corey Grant, RB, So.Overall thoughts on the A-Day game... "I think it went great. After three weeks of practice we tried to put it all together. In the end I think we did a pretty good job today."
On personal performance carrying the ball... "I could have done more with the runs I had, but as always all of the credit has to go to my offensive line. Anything I do as a back is because of the line in front of me."
On what he focused on improving this spring... "I really looked forward to learning the new offense. I thought that was going to be the hardest part, so I really tried to get it down. After that I tried to improve physically while keeping my speed."
On what he plans to improve this offseason... "Speed. I really want to improve my explosiveness so I can burst through the hole the line creates in front of me."
Steven Clark, P, Jr.On significance of spring practice and spring games... "It gives us a chance to go out in front of people, and it allows us to prepare for that. It is like a mini game for us, and it is a good way to start getting back into kicking. It also allows us to see where we are at in terms of a game situation. Now we have a whole summer to prepare for next season. This is definitely productive for the team as a whole."
On importance of the spring game for the team... "This is great for the younger guys to get a little experience and a taste of what a real regular season game is going to feel like. A lot of guys did a great job out there today, and it was a great opportunity to see how they perform in front of a crowd of people."
Daren Bates, LB, Sr.On earning the award for team's leading tackler last season... "It was fun being able to get the award and get recognized. I just wanted to make plays for my teammates, and that is what I want to continue doing."
On the spring game and its significance for the younger players on the team... "It is good letting the young guys see kind of what they are going to be dealing with. We only touched the surface, but it is definitely a good start for a lot of guys on this team."
On team mindset throughout spring practice and heading into next season...
"We are just trying to get better as a team, and we are trying to learn the new playbook on both sides of the ball. We are going to keep working, watching film and just keep going at it to prepare for next season."