AU FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: A-Day format to return to normal

So a TD equals 6 right?

There won’t be any need for extra explanation of the scoring system used at this year’s A-Day game.

The Tigers will break up into two separate teams and play football like the founders envisioned, with the only points coming from touchdowns, extra points, field goals and safeties.

“We’re trying to make it as competitive as we can,” wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor said. “It’s not just going to be 1s on 1s or 1s on 2s.
We’re going to mix it up.”

Taylor said the only aspect that needs to be ironed out is special teams, where players will likely have to flip back and forth.

Last year, Auburn used an elaborate point system that pitted the offense versus the defense. Special teams, particularly field goal kicks, was largely an afterthought at the end of the scrimmage.

Taylor said he counts himself among those who take A-Day seriously when it pertains to performance evaluation.

“It’s big time, because now you’re doing it in front of a crowd,” Taylor said. “Some guys are real good when there’s nobody in there. It’s a little different catching a punt or catching a pass or running route when people are cheering.”

Fans also shouldn’t expect a watered-down version of Auburn’s playbook, Taylor said, echoing what coach Gene Chizik said earlier in the week about the potential pitfalls of playing on national TV.

“We’re going to polish on Friday, but we’re not going to put the vanilla stuff in,” Taylor said. “We’re going to go play football and find who the playmakers are.”

Defense, Newton excel in scrimmage
Auburn made its first midweek journey of the spring to Jordan-Hare Stadium for Wednesday’s practice and devoted the final half to a scrimmage.

Just four days after defensive players admitted that the offense got the best of them in a Saturday scrimmage, members of the Tigers offense
Wednesday were left lamenting about numerous turnovers and penalties caused by an aggressive defense.

“We made amazing improvement today,” linebacker Craig Stevens said.

Drew Cole and Ikeem Means had two of the defense’s three interceptions, Stevens said. He couldn’t remember who had the third.

Cameron Newton hit DeAngelo Benton for a long touchdown pass and also connected with Kodi Burns for another score, Taylor said.

“The ball placement was unbelievable. If he had missed it, it would have gone out of bounds,” Taylor said of Newton’s throw to Benton. “That’s what you’re looking for.

“We talk about catching balls in windows, and that was a peephole.”

Kicking it with Byrum
Wes Byrum may not have to sweat out this spring as much as last year, when the competition was wide open for the job he currently has locked down, but he assured Wednesday that he hasn’t grown complacent.

“We always have competition,” Byrum said. “We’re always working hard with each other. It’s never anybody’s spot, particularly. So it’s just been a normal spring.”

That competition has come in the form of walk-on Chandler Brooks, who stepped in for Byrum twice last week while he rested his kicking knee.

Byrum said his focus this summer will center on two aspects of his game: gaining length on his kickoffs — a job he and departed Morgan Hull shared last season — and establishing chemistry with new holder Neil Caudle.

“We’re still working with a couple of other people to see what’s the best, because it’s hard to get a lot of work with him, doing the quarterback thing,” Byrum said.

“Basically, it takes a lot of repetition with each other.”

Resting up
Wide receiver Darvin Adams was “Coach Adams” at Wednesday’s scrimmage, sitting out because Taylor told him to, Adams said.

“I was just really trying to help those guys get a better feel,” the receiver said.

Adams wore a massive pack of ice on his left shoulder after Wednesday’s practice, the same shoulder that has given him problems since last August.

He said the time off during the summer should be just what the doctor ordered.

“I’m fine,” Adams said. “I’ll play Saturday.” | 737-2561

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