Scrimmage notebook: Good day to evaluate

Aug. 10, 2013

JohnathanFord

Johnathan Ford is tripped up by Anthony Swain in Saturday's scrimmage (Todd Van Emst photo)

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AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn was in evaluation mode in Saturday's scrimmage, and it went beyond the much-publicized quarterback race. 

(That QB story is here.) 

Likely starting cornerbacks Jonathon Mincy and Chris Davis didn't play, for example, as coaches spent time evaluating their backups. 

"If we had the proper information and we were trying to worry about the guy behind them, there were certain players that we did hold out," said coach Gus Malzahn

Mincy endorsed the strategy. 

"I felt it was a great practice," he said. "I felt it was a great evaluation for the coaches. They have something that is good to see." 

And as far as giving other players a chance, "they know the coaches are evaluating  them. They're going out there competing for a spot." 

Though he didn't play on defense, Mincy did see action in the live punt drills.
-- Charles Goldberg

We interurpt this notebook...

...to say Fan Day will be 3:30 p.m. Sunday in Auburn Arena. Players and Gus Malzahn — and more — will be on hand to sign autographs.  

Looking for balance on offense 

Auburn’s running game has been a highlight of the preseason, and it was again Saturday. Bray said he welcomes it. 

"We know we have to make plays to open it up for the run game," Bray said. "We have some great backs. Once we get the running and passing games going, we will be hard to stop."
-- Phillip Marshall

The quarterback quartet wasn't live 

The quarterbacks weren't live in Saturday's scrimmage, as they were in Wednesday's scrimmage. Wearing the non-contact orange jerseys were Kiehl Frazier, Nick Marshall, Jonathan Wallace and Jeremy Johnson. One quarterback who was live was walk-on Tucker Tuberville, but he can't play this year because he's transferred in from Texas Tech.
-- Charles Goldberg 

Ricardo Louis wins praise 

The scrimmage was closed to the public and media, and the school didn't provide stats. But two players confirmed that receiver>Ricardo Louis had a good day. 

"He made a lot of big plays. That's something I expect from Ricardo," Mincy said. 

"I think he did have a touchdown,” junior wide receiver Quan Bray said. 

Bray said Louis’ fellow wide receivers weren’t surprised by his big day. 

"Today was a breakout to show everybody he can do it,” Bray said. “We definitely know he’s a baller."

Malzahn wasn't as specific, but said he's getting a handle on his receivers. 

"We're starting to figure out what the receivers' strong points are and what they're good at and what they need to improve on," he said. 

"We work very hard without the ball, playing without the ball, blocking, being physical, releases, everything that goes with that."
-- Phillip Marshall

Live punt returns 

Quan Braysaid he enjoyed returning punts against live coverage early in Saturday’s scrimmage. 

"I had about a 15-20-yard return," Bray said. "We finally had a live punt return. That was the first one since last year some time." 

Bray said freshman wide receiver Marcus Davis might have been the star of the first live punt returns of preseason camp. 

Marcus Davis,"  Bray said, "he’s going to be a big-time player for us."
-- Phillip Marshall

Work, work, work 

The scrimmage was the highlight of the day, but the Tigers didn't stop there. Saturday was a two-a-day practice day. The Tigers practiced again late in the afternoon.
-- Charles Goldberg

JordanHare

At Jordan-Hare Stadium..