AUBURN, Ala. — To better simulate a game during Saturday’s scrimmage, Auburn put some of its coaches in the Jordan-Hare Stadium press box.
Running backs coach Curtis Luper and cornerbacks coach Phillip Lolley were in the box, an unusually low number compared to other college staffs.
In addition to head coach Gene Chizik and both coordinators, Gus Malzahn on offense and Ted Roof on defense, safeties coach Tommy Thigpen, offensive line coach Jeff Grimes, wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor and special teams coordinator Jay Boulware were on the sideline.
“We’re a little different with how we do things,” Malzahn said. “It was very good. We’re pretty specific on what each coach to look for and stuff like that, so it’s been a work in progress that’s gotten better every time we’ve done it.”
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Malzahn never has coached from the box.
“That’s what I’m used to,” he said. “I like being there with that quarterback and looking him in the eye. A lot of times you can really read your quarterback and, for that matter, read your whole offense when you’re down there. And as long as our coaches do our job, we can be very efficient with that.”
The scrimmage was closed, but some players provided a few details afterward:
Ÿ Running back Onterio McCalebb had a long run.
Ÿ Quarterback Chris Todd threw a long touchdown pass. He also led the team on a nice two-minute drill, according to cornerback Walt McFadden.
Ÿ Freshman wide receiver Anthony Gulley made a one-handed catch. “It was so pretty,” McFadden said. “It was like a post-corner ball. Todd put it out there thinking Gulley was 6-foot-7. He reached out with those long arms and made a great play. It looked like two fingers.”
Ÿ Special teams got a lot of work. “We really needed to do (that) because there’s a lot of timing in that,” Chizik said.
Freshman quarterback Tyrik Rollison ran one series at the beginning of the scrimmage but spent the rest of the day getting “mental reps” while Todd got nearly all the snaps.
Still no word on whether the team plans to redshirt the 6-foot, 194-pound dual-threat quarterback. Chizik answered the question vaguely.
“That’s a really delicate situation,” Chizik said. “The final thought analysis is, is he ready to help us win games right now? That’s what it’s going to be. Not just him, that’s any redshirt. Where can he contribute right now to help us win games?
“If we feel there’s two guys or three guys in front of him, obviously he’s not ready to help us win games right now. That’s what’s going to be our measuring stick. That’s for every position, not just quarterback.”