Moseley's injury and inconsistent play highlight the team's first scrimmage
The Tigers ran about 65 plays in addition to assorted drills today in Jordan-Hare Stadium in the team's first scrimmage of fall practice, according to Gene Chizik.
With the players competing on the field and the Auburn marching band practicing a couple blocks away, for a second it almost sounded like the football season was already here.
However, after what Chizik and coordinators Scot Loeffler and Brian VanGorder labeled an inconsistent practice, they were probably glad that it wasn't.
"Big picture, the whole scrimmage is about what we thought it would be: inconsistent on both sides of the ball," Chizik said after the scrimmage.
"The effort is where it needs to be, but the execution is not," Chizik said.
Perhaps the biggest story of the day was the continuance of junior quarterback Clint Moseley's shoulder problems.
Moseley missed some practice time in the spring because of shoulder soreness, and is now having to play through the pain while trying to earn the starting job over sophomore Kiehl Frazier.
"It was hurting, but I knew I could throw through the pain today," Moseley said. "It's probably as frustrating as you can imagine."
Moseley had an MRI last month that came back negative for any tearing.
Dr. James Andrews, a widely respected surgeon who is called on by NFL and NCAA teams alike, also looked at the shoulder recently and said it was inflamed tendinitis that requires no surgery.
For now, all Moseley can do is rehab, however, he still hopes to secure the starting quarterback job and be 100 percent in time for Auburn's first game.
"I think (I'll be ready)," Moseley said. "With the amount of therapy I've been putting in I really hope so."
As for the rest of the team, the coaches avoided naming specific players who stood out until they watch the film, but Chizik did say senior running back Onterio McCalebb hasn't missed a beat.
"We all know how productive he is when he touches the ball, and he was the same way today," Chizik said.
VanGorder said his defense stopped the run well for the most part, but let up too many big plays.
"You got a 70 play game, and you play 66 of them real well and four explosive plays, that's a bad game," VanGorder said. "There's a lot of things we did well, but it all equals inconsistency in the end."
The tackling at today's scrimmage was "sloppy," according to VanGorder, but even the bad reps are good reps when used to learn from the mistakes.
Junior linebacker Jake Holland was a bit more pleased with the play of his group today and said that he had his best day of practice in the new system so far.
The favorite for the starting middle linebacker spot, Holland said the linebackers communicated well, but were burned on some missed fits allowing them to get beat by outside runs and stretch plays.
"We've got to get into the film room everyday, just keep studying, keep grinding," Holland said.
On the other side of the ball, Loeffler said the offensive line played well for being so young and freshman quarterback Jonathan Wallace had good command of the huddle, despite it being his first time calling plays without his coach next to him.
And yet, overall, Loeffler agreed with his fellow coaches in his assessment of the scrimmage.
"We're not where we want to be yet, and we're going to bust our rear end these next couple weeks to get us in position to compete in Atlanta," Loeffler said. "We need to continue to be consistent with our execution on an every-down basis."
All in all, today was a good learning day for a young team with a lot to learn in a very short amount of time.
"We've got a long way to go," Chizik said of his team's comfort with the new systems.
Now the coaches have to hope that three weeks is enough time to get there.