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Thursday, Apr. 14, 2011

Auburn football notes: Former offensive lineman Chaz Ramsey to talk with NCAA about pay-for-play allegations

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A-Day format set; Carver’s Gabe Wright visits practice

By ANDY BITTER

abitter@ledger-enquirer.com

AUBURN, Ala. -- Former Auburn offensive lineman Chaz Ramsey told the Birmingham News that he’ll meet with NCAA next week to talk about allegations he made on HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” that he received cash payments at Auburn.

Ramsey, who played for the Tigers from 2007-08, was one of four former players who said they received money during their Auburn careers, joining Stanley McClover, Troy Reddick and Raven Gray.

Ramsey said he received money handshakes containing $200 to $300 from unidentified fans and boosters after games and sold tickets he was given by the school.

He said his meeting next week will take place without Auburn’s attorneys present, a sticking point in early discussions.

Of the four who made allegations, McClover is the only one to speak to the NCAA so far. He said he refused to identify any Auburn boosters or coaches by name.

A-Day format set

Auburn will go offense vs. defense when it takes the field for A-Day on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Head coach Gene Chizik confirmed the spring day format after Wednesday’s practice, saying each side can score points in a variety of ways -- big plays, first downs, defensive stops, etc.

Auburn did an offense vs. defense format in Chizik’s first year with the school but split into two teams last spring.

The Tigers’ low number of players limited their options for a format this year.

“We really don’t have a choice to cross over and have teams right now,” Chizik said.

Chizik wasn’t sure how the team would divide the quarterback reps other than saying both Barrett Trotter and Clint Moseley will get work with the first and second teams.

“We’ll really try to balance it up,” he said.

Normally, veterans get to take it easy during the spring game. Chizik doesn’t think too many will qualify for that status this year, however.

“Our whole team’s so young, so nobody is exempt from reps,” he said. “Just because at every position on our football team right now we’ve got a long way to go.”

Chizik cautioned not to read too much into the game itself.

“Historically, our spring game is going to be another scrimmage,” he said. “So it’s going to be more of an evaluation tool in that regard than anything else.”

Lemonier leading

Auburn’s defensive line needed a few leaders to step up with four seniors and Nick Fairley departing after last season. Line coach Mike Pelton thinks sophomore defensive end Corey Lemonier has risen to the occasion.

“He’s really been stepping his game up and really been vocal,” Pelton said. “I noticed it more in the huddle. He’s trying to get the group on the right page.”

The 6-foot-4, 229-pound Lemonier earned Freshman All-SEC honors last season after finishing with 17 tackles, 5 tackles for a loss and 2 sacks as a backup. He’ll start at rush end next season, with high expectations.

“Corey just has those natural abilities of being a superstar,” fellow defensive end Nosa Eguae said. “He’s just that good, just naturally.”

Hanging around

Sophomores Ken Carter and Jeffrey Whitaker are the frontrunners to start at defensive tackle for the Tigers next fall, but someone else has been hanging around practice lately who will contribute: Carver High’s Gabe Wright.

A 2011 signee, Wright has attended a few practices, even though he won’t be able to participate with the team until he arrives for summer workouts.

Pelton has no reservations about throwing the highly ranked tackle into the mix immediately.

“I’m on the phone to those guys communicating how important it’s going to be to come in here with the mindset of, ‘How can I help the team?’” Pelton said. “Gabe Wright is one. … He’s actually a guy we’re counting on.”

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