AUBURN, Ala. — Quarterback Cam Newton did a couple of things at Ole Miss he hasn’t done this year: he caught a 20-yard touchdown pass on a fade pattern and made a tackle after Auburn lost a fumble.
How was his form on the tackle?
“We’re still evaluating that. We’re going to do some extra drills Tuesday to make sure that he’s got the proper body position,” Chizik joked.
“He’s got to be a little more athletic when he makes catches, too. He was way too close on (to the sideline) on that. We’ve got to work on that.”
Newton, one of the top players in consideration for the Heisman Trophy, doesn’t seem to have a limit to what he can do on a football field.
“He could probably do all the above,” Chizik said. “He’s that good of an athlete. Right now, we’re going to limit it to handing off, running, throwing and now catching.”
With limited bodies at cornerback, Auburn burned the redshirt on cornerback Ryan White against Ole Miss on Saturday out of necessity.
White, a true freshman from Tallahassee, Fla., got his first defensive taste against the Rebels late in the fourth quarter.
He was one of only four cornerbacks Auburn took on the trip, joining Neiko Thorpe, Demond Washington and Chris Davis.
Junior T’Sharvan Bell has missed the last two games with a hamstring problem, while converted wide receiver Anthony Morgan has an undisclosed injury.
“We had to take him out of the redshirt, which we didn’t want to do,” Chizik said of White. “But we’re at that place and time where we have no choice.”
White got a late start in the secondary after the coaches fulfilled a recruiting promise and gave him a shot at quarterback during the first two weeks of two-a-days.
It stunted his growth at cornerback, where he had to play catch-up with reps. White spent the first half of the season on the scout team, mimicking option quarterbacks whenever the Tigers needed to prepare for one.
But the staff began prepping him for special teams work during the LSU week.
“Against LSU, all of a sudden it was, ‘Wow, I’m redshirting, now I’ve got to go play,’” Chizik said. “That’s pretty eye-opening for a young guy. We’re trying to bring him along in practice every day so he gets a little less of a ‘wow’ factor for him when he gets in there.”
Auburn has played 16 true freshmen this year. Ten are currently redshirting.
“At the end of the day, it was ‘Man, I’ve got a chance to help the team win,’” Chizik said. “That’s the ultimate goal for all of us: we want to win. And he understands that’s his role that he’s got to serve on the team.”
No word on Lutz
Chizik did not have any update on tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen’s status. The sophomore played against Ole Miss but changed into street clothes at some point and was a spectator by the end.
Chizik didn’t give any specifics on what was bothering Lutzenkirchen.
“He’s just beat up like everybody else,” he said.
Linebacker Daren Bates didn’t travel to Ole Miss because of a shoulder injury, but Auburn didn’t struggle without him.
Sophomore Jonathan Evans and junior Eltoro Freeman filled in for him as the Tigers’ third linebacker alongside seniors Josh Bynes and Craig Stevens.
Evans finished with five tackles and a half tackle for a loss.
“I thought they filled in fine,” Chizik said. “I don’t think there was a whole noticeable dropoff in my opinion.”