AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn has three practices left before classes get under way Wednesday. Head coach Gene Chizik plans to make good use of all of them.
“We’re coming down to the end of the camp and in camp it’s pretty much 24/7 football and we just know how it works,” he said.
“They’ve got a lot of things on their mind when school starts, academically. So we’re going to try to be focused and locked in here over the next three days and try to continue to grow as a football team. I think we’re making some strides.”
The Tigers have an evening practice tonight before their final two-a-day Tuesday.
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One of those practices will be a scrimmage, the team’s third this August.
Sunday was a walkthrough after the team scrimmaged Saturday morning, which gave the coaching staff plenty of time to critique film.
“I saw a little more consistency in what we were trying to do,” Chizik said of the scrimmage. “I thought we tackled a little bit better defensively.
“Offensively, I think we had a few more explosive plays, certainly in the running game that we really, really need to shore up and get the running game going.”
Zac Etheridge didn’t participate in Saturday’s scrimmage, the second time the senior safety has not gone live this August at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Chizik said he and his coaches are simply following the advice of the medical staff as Etheridge returns from a career-threatening neck injury he suffered last fall.
He offered no timetable for when that might change.
“We’ll cross that bridge when we get there,” Chizik said. “But right now medically we’re following the instructions of our staff. They’re on top of it.”
A full Fan Day
An estimated 8,500 people showed up for the Tigers’ Fan Day at the Auburn Arena, setting a school record.
Chizik thought it was a good experience for the young players.
“I think some of them were really big-eyed,” he said.
“Even though they’ve been to the games and kind of seen it, now it was them. … I think they were exposed to more of the passion of this place than they ever have been because for the first time they were directly affected by it.”
Tate to have surgery
Former Auburn running back Ben Tate suffered a serious ankle injury in his NFL preseason debut for the Houston Texans on Saturday night and will undergo surgery Tuesday, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Tate, a second round pick by the Texans last spring, injured himself after a 12-yard run in the third quarter against the Arizona Cardinals.
He posted on his Facebook page that his ankle was not broken, but Texans head coach Gary Kubiak said Tate will have surgery and be placed on the injured reserve, which would end his season.
“(Stinks) to be hurt and not be out there with my teammates working to make the playoffs but what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger,” Tate wrote on his Twitter page.