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Tuesday, Apr. 06, 2010

Auburn QB Newton getting the hang of offense

- abitter@ledger- enquirer.com
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AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn’s quarterback rotation continued Monday, with Cam Newton and Barrett Trotter getting more reps than the rest as coaches inch closer to whittling down the field from four to possibly two or three.

“I think it’s just another chance for me to prove, first to myself and then my teammates, what I can do, especially to the coaches,” Newton said. “I got more reps today but it really wasn’t a big deal. Evaluation time is here and everyone knows it.”

Newton, who enrolled in January after transferring from Blinn (Texas) Community College, has performed well through eight practices this spring.

Although he is the presumed frontrunner for the job — he is the most physically gifted and, it’s reasoned, didn’t transfer to sit on the bench — Newton has tried to keep his focus on improving and earning the trust of his teammates.

“Everything has been very smooth,” Newton said. “Right now, a lot of guys, we talk on the field, off the field. You see the camaraderie coming along with the team. That’s what I wanted to see. .. You get out there and grind it out with your guys. It’s becoming clear who you’re going to be with and who’s going to play.”

Newton has had to make some adjustments. The pace is unlike anything he’s used to, a common adjustment for players coming into offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn’s system. Malzahn also wants the ball out quick, meaning his quarterbacks don’t always have time to find the laces on the ball before throwing it.

“That was kind of new to me because all my life I’ve been taught to feel for the laces, that’s where you get the spiral from,” Newton said. “Of course it’s going to be awkward but I think I’m getting comfortable throwing without the laces.”

Newton came in with two goals this spring: learn the system and carry it out. He thinks he’s done well so far.

“I’m a confident person in myself,” he said. “Not too confident, but self-esteem with a quarterback, can’t everybody get that. You have to have that for yourself. If you don’t have that, you’re going to hear something of everything; the good, the bad, the ugly. You’ve got to keep yourself up, motivated daily.”

No word on Pierre-Louis

Auburn didn’t have any more information on the status of wide receiver/punt returner Philip Pierre-Louis, who suffered a knee injury in the latter half of Saturday’s scrimmage.

Head coach Gene Chizik said that the staff will have a better idea of his status in the next 48 hours.

Pierre-Louis missed all of 2008 with a knee injury and was in the coaches’ doghouse for most of last year.

But he was having one of his best performances of the spring in the scrimmage before the injury, according to coaches and teammates.

“He was back to playing the way that he can play,” quarterback Neil Caudle said. “He was moving real well when we got the ball to him.”

Quick hits

Sophomore John Sullen is working at left guard in place of Mike Berry and Bart Eddins, who are both out with knee injuries. ... Senior walk-on offensive lineman Jorrell Bostrom probably will not participate in drills the rest of the spring. Bostrom was seen wearing a sling on one of his arms. ... Offensive line Jeff Grimes said he’s in no rush to name a starter at right tackle between junior college transfers Roszell Gayden and Brandon Mosley. “If we still feel like the position is up for grabs, there still is a lot of work than can be done throughout the summer,” Grimes said.

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