Aug. 7, 2009
The Auburn football team continued the opening week of practice for the 2009 season Friday, conducting its third workout in as many days on the practice fields behind the Athletics Complex. The temperatures continued to climb for the third straight day, but the late afternoon start time allowed the Tigers to stay out of the worst heat of the day.
The Tigers worked in shells for the first time on Friday, giving the workout a more physical nature as drills involving contact were included in the practice.
Following the workout, head coach Gene Chizik said that the combination of the heat and the first time wearing extra pads caused the team to look a little more tired than in the previous two days.
"It was a hot day and I thought we were sluggish, which a lot of times is expected in the first day of shells," said Chizik. "We tried to be physical at times, but we're still a long way off from where we need to be. Overall, it was OK. I'm not going to go out on a limb and say it was a great day. Mentally right now, we're getting a little bit tired. It was the first day in pads, so we're going to pick it up tomorrow."
For the third straight day, the Tigers held a split-session practice that enabled players to receive more repetitions while keeping the workout shorter and more intense for each group. The Tigers had one group practicing on the fields while the other group was in the weight room with the Tigers' strength and conditioning staff. After a lengthy special teams session during the mid-point of the workout, the two groups switched roles.
The Tigers continued to stress fundamentals with individual and small group work throughout the practice, with some team drills included.
The Tigers will return to the practice fields Saturday at 4:20 p.m. CT.
Auburn opens the 2009 season on Sept. 5 against Louisiana Tech at 6 p.m. in Jordan-Hare Stadium. The game will be nationally televised by ESPNU.
Quick Hit Q&A With Eltoro Freeman
Today is practice number three, how do you feel physically so far?
"Physically I feel tired and beat down, but we are really getting after it out there. Coach Chizik is really giving us a lot to deal with in the meetings, so when we get out there we can really move with a fast tempo."
Do the linebackers as a group have a sense of cohesion yet?
"Coach Roof is really teaching us to play all different positions and different techniques, so that way if someone gets hurt, someone can step right in immediately. As a group, we all get along and respect each other."
Is the excitement building for the first game yet or are you still in preparation stages?
"For me personally the excitement has been building since day one. I can't wait. I feel we have a statement to make, and we're going to do big things."
Coming from junior college (Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C.), how has the transition been so far?
"The biggest thing so far has been the different terminology. As far as the speed and things like that, I feel like I've caught on pretty quickly."
Being relatively local (Alexander City, Ala.) how does it feel to be playing so close to home?
"It feels great. Now my family gets a chance to come around and watch me play. I don't even think that my mom has ever seen a DI football game, actually no games except for high school, so this is going to be big for her as well as the rest of my family."