In a departure from past years, Auburn’s A-Day scrimmage, 2 p.m. Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium, will feature an offense vs. defense format instead of the Tigers splitting into two full teams.
“With depth issues and things of that nature, it’s really hard to split up with two teams right now,” coach Gene Chizik said Tuesday night. “We just feel that’s the best way. That’s the way we’ve been doing it all spring.”
The Tigers will use a scoring system that rewards big plays on both sides of the ball. They have used this system in each of the first two scrimmages this spring. The defense won both scrimmages, 45-40 and 61-34.
On offense, touchdowns are worth six points, field goals are three points, explosive plays (15-plus yards) are two points, three consecutive first downs are two points and a point after touchdown is one point.
On defense, a touchdown is seven points, a turnover (unless it’s a touchdown) is five points, sacks are four points, a blocked field goal is three points, forcing a three-and-out is two points, a tackle for loss is two points and a blocked point after touchdown is one point.
Chizik said the team will fit in some special-teams work but added that kickoffs will not be done at a regular tempo. He also said the defense won’t be allowed to hit the quarterbacks during the scrimmage.
Kicks and punts
Place-kicker Wes Byrum and punter Clinton Durst are back atop the depth chart in their position battles.
Walk-on Chandler Brooks, the spring’s early leader, is sidelined with an undisclosed injury, and Byrum has taken advantage. He went 7-for-8 on field goal attempts Tuesday.
“We’re shooting for him to be 100 percent during that little, brief period we have at the beginning of practice,” special-teams coach Jay Boulware said. “If he can get to that point and start striving for the next thing — to do that a couple of days in a row — we’ll be on track for getting the consistency that we want.
“We haven’t arrived by any means, but it is getting better.”
At punter, Boulware said Durst has done a “phenomenal job” and has moved past Ryan Shoemaker.
“He’s a better punter,” Boulware said. “He’s a better technician. That’s the key. Durst had some good qualities coming into it. Being All-SEC, you don’t do that unless you have something good about you.”
An academic issue
Although coaches have said wide receiver Montez Billings has been out with an injury this spring, Chizik confirmed Tuesday night that the senior has been sidelined while trying to clear up an academic situation.
The 6-foot-2, 184-pound Billings is Auburn’s most experienced receiver, having started 20 games the past two seasons. He caught 24 passes for 277 yards last year, making him the Tigers’ leading returning receiver.
’10 UCLA game nixed
Auburn turned down a proposed made-for-TV game that would have pitted the Tigers against UCLA at the Georgia Dome in 2010, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times. ABC attempted to put the game together.
The Tigers already have a full schedule in 2010, with eight home games, including the start of a home-and-home series with Clemson that will conclude in 2011.
Playing UCLA at a neutral site would have required breaking a contract with another team and surrendering a home game.