Aug. 7, 2013
AUBURN, Ala. - Offensive line coach J.B. Grimes missed Auburn's first scrimmage of preseason camp Wednesday for what head coach Gus Malzahn called a "medical procedure."
"He'll be back tomorrow," Malzahn said. "It shouldn't be a problem at all."
Filling in for Grimes, Malzahn said, was a group effort.
"I kind of helped a little bit more with that a little bit more, and (offensive graduate assistant) Johnny Moore also. Coach (Rhett) Lashlee was on top of them a little bit more. I think we all combined. We have good leadership in (center) Reese Dismukes. It wasn't an issue today."
The scrimmage was scheduled for Jordan-Hare Stadium but move into the indoor practice facility after an afternoon storm.
Big play for Jake Holland
With the offense threatening to score early in the scrimmage, senior linebacker Jake Holland made a big play. He picked off a Jonathan Wallace pass and returned it some 70 yards. But he didn't score.
"We were doing a blitz there in red zone," Holland said. "I got lucky because he threw it right to me. I didn't get in the end zone. I was gassed at the end."
First two-a-day set for Thursday
The Tigers will practice twice Thursday, the first two-a-day practices of preseason camp. Malzahn said they will have a normal practice in the morning and concentrate more on special teams in the afternoon.
"We'll clean up mistakes," Malzahn said.
Defense gets interceptions, wants more
Junior safety Jermaine Whitehead said Tiger defenders "had two or three" interceptions, but in a 107-play scrimmage, he said that wasn't enough.
"We should have a had a couple of more," Whitehead said. "We're going to get better on tight coverage and reading routes. I know Chris Davis had one and Jake Holland had one while I was on the field. Getting our hands on the ball is something we definitely have to improve on going forward this year."
More efficient on defense
Last season, in Brian VanGorder's NFL-style defense, the Tigers had problems getting calls in quickly enough to make their presnap reads. There have been no such problems in Ellis Johnson's defense.
"Everything is meshing together well," Holland said. "People are able to make plays. The system and the management of the game is a little bit better because we can get our calls in quicker and keep up with the pace of the offense."
Freshman running backs stand out
True freshman running backs Rudy Ford and Peyton Barber have gotten junior running back Corey Grant's attention.
"They are doing great," Grant said. "They really stood out to me today."
Stevens impresses Whitehead
From the other side of the ball, freshman wide receiver Tony Stevens has impressed junior safety Jermaine Whitehead.
He's long and he can go get the ball," Whitehead said. "He's a great route runner. He's just embracing everything he can, trying to get himself a spot. I like that."
Auburn pushes on
Gus Malzahn said Auburn has reached the point in practice "where everybody is going to be a little bit sore, but that's a good thing from a coach's standpoint.
"You can see where they're at and who can fight through. This is a mental grind. We're straining them and making them uncomfortable. Seeing how they react is good information for coaches."
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: