March 24, 2012

AU holds second spring practice

With new coordinators comes new schemes and lingo.

When it comes to the offense, Scot Loeffler has shaken things up from top to bottom.

"It's completely different," said junior quarterback Clint Moseley. "Completely different pretty much sums it
up. Everything is different."

Moseley started the last six games of the 2011 season as he replaced a struggling Barrett Trotter halfway through the Oct. 15 Florida game.

Former offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn utilized the spread and had his quarterback takes snaps out of the shotgun. Loeffler, on the other hand, likes the pro-set offense and his quarterback under center.

"Just when I think I'm settling in, it comes a pro-style offense that is real sophisticated," Moseley said. "It helps being a little bit older -- not really panicking, I guess -- it's still pretty hard adjust to it. It's all moving so fast. It's tough. But it's not as bad as it was before. I guess I've grown up a little bit."

Moseley had a quick answer when asked the last time he took snaps from under center.

"In pee-wees," Moseley said.

Kiehl Frazier isn't used to the new scheme either, but he's working on changing that.

"I like it," Frazier said. "I haven't done it much ever in my career. We're working on it a lot with Coach Loeffler and I'm getting the hang of it."

Aside from the style of offense, players are also getting used to Loeffler's personality.

"Coach Loeffler is more excited, more out there," Frazier said. "Coach Malzahn is more strictly business."

Quarterbacks aren't the only ones who have noticed the new energy that has come with a new coordinator and offense at practice. Redshirt freshman receiver Sammie Coates has picked up on it too.

"I love it," Coates said. "The new coach, he's good. He's young, so we get to have fun with him. The whole team loves it. It's going to be a good thing."

Loeffler is also the quarterbacks coach and has an impressive track record that proves his success.

Moseley said he likes Loeffler's style.

"He's really intense," Moseley said. "He knows what he's doing, for sure. The thing about him that's really getting to everybody that he is serious, he makes sure our work is done, but he makes it fun. He makes it interesting. He's on us, but he finds a pretty good medium of not stressing us out too much. If he knows somebody is having a really hard time, he doesn't pound them. That's when he kind of steps back and tells them when they're doing good. He really has a good idea how to coach us guys in college."

Position battles run rampant on this year's team, especially at quarterback.

"I can promise you that's one thing about Coach Loeffler: If he says it's wide open, it's wide open," Moseley said. "He doesn't beat around the bush about anything. He's pretty direct. You can take it to the bank if he says it.

"He doesn't owe me anything, he doesn't owe Kiehl anything, he doesn't owe Zeke (Pike) anything. He really doesn't know us. He's going to pick the best one. That's how it should be."

The probable starters on the offensive line, however, aren't nearly as uncertain.

With two returning starters, a returning backup and two redshirt freshmen, the starting lineup appears to be set.

Left tackle Greg Robinson was considered one of the best offensive linemen in the country in the 2011 signing class. Like many freshmen college students, Robinson, a Thibodaux, La., native, needed time to adjust to the college life style.

"When I first started, I was exhausted from going to practice, then going to class and trying to keep up with all that," Robinson said. "It was really tiring."

Combined with learning a new offense in the Southeastern Conference, and redshirting was inevitable for Robinson.

Although sitting out for a year was tough, Robinson is glad he redshirted.

"It gave me time to develop, get stronger, smarter, understand it more," Robinson said. "Like, working with Coach (Jeff) Grimes, taking his coaching. I know exactly what he's expecting. Just basically, I'm more comfortable, and I stay focused now."

Offensive guard Christian Westerman, who was considered the No. 1 recruit from the state of Arizona in 2011, also redshirted with Robinson.

Together, they are slated to start in 2012. As are sophomore Reese Dismukes at center, senior John Sullen at right guard, sophomore Chad Slade at right tackle. Westerman has been sharing time with Eric Mack at left guard.

At running back, the Tigers are without All-SEC running back Mike Dyer now that he has transferred to Arkansas State.

Auburn did, however, redshirt two talented backs who are anticipated to contribute this season. They include Corey Grant, an Opelika native, and Mike Blakely. Both transferred to Auburn from Alabama and Florida, respectively.

Grant said throughout their redshirting season he and Blakely were motivated to prepare for the spring.

"We talked a lot, trying to push each other every day," Grant said. "We knew that even though we couldn't play, we could still just work to get better. When our time's around, we'll be ready."

With a new offensive coordinator and scheme, Grant said he is fired up knowing that he is able to compete for a job this season.

"It's kind of a motivator knowing that I can actually work for a position, other than just helping out the team," Grant said.



 

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