The Auburn Tigers held their third scrimmage in a week on Tuesday night. This was a series of scrimmages designed to reproduce game fatigue. The staff wanted to see what players they could depend on as opening kickoff quickly approaches.
There was both good and bad in this scrimmage. The offense committed four penalties when running at the up-tempo pace. This was a fact that Gus Malzhan was quick to point out as unacceptable and correctable.
The offensive line has yet to dominate the defensive line, as was expected. Coach Malzhan was quick to point out the offensive line performance was expected to be better by this experienced group.
The defensive secondary was taken to the woodshed in epic fashion during this scrimmage. Kodi Burns had two touchdown receptions as the secondary concentrated on covering more visible, explosive playmakers. Defenses will find it hard to double team a player without paying a price this season.
There were missed tackles and bad angles as fatigue started to set in. This brings back the specter of 2009 again. Much of this was by design as the staff put players in compromising positions to see their reaction.
The defensive line and receiving corps seem to be solidifying their position as strong points for 2010. It would seem the defensive line has put the veteran offensive line on notice.
- There is a consensus that believes this offense is much improved over 2009.
- The defensive line has continued to improve, and it is showing.
- The weak link, if there is one, for this Auburn defense seems to be through the air.
- Quarterback will be a strong point in 2010.
- Running back is a position of strength this year.
- Starting defensive backs are solid, but third string defensive backs have a ways to go.
- The linebackers are deeper than in 2009.
- There is a definite link between offensive tempo and offensive penalties.
- The defensive line is going to be a huge obstacle for any offense.
- Cameron Newton is getting really good at his count downs and finding the open receiver.
- Defenses are not going to be able to focus on any particular playmaker without paying the price.
- Cameron Newton is extremely difficult to intercept.
- There are at least two good options behind Newton at quarterback.
- The staff is being careful to avoid injuries to key players as much as possible.
- Much of the missed tackles in 2009 were due to fatigue.
- Missed tackles continues to be an issue if the tempo is turned up enough.
Auburn ran 80 plays in this scrimmage at an accelerated tempo. The scrimmages seem to be set more around the play count than time. Mario Fannin broke a screen for a touchdown in what seemed to be a total breakdown in defensive coverage.
Judging by the receivers that made the big plays, it seems as if the staff had the defense focusing on the major play makers to see how Cameron Newton would respond. It would seem he passed this test with a bit of a margin.
Gene Chizik seemed to be pleased with the scrimmage even though Ted Roof and Gus Malzhan were far from satisfied.
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