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Spring Practice Wrapup


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Auburn finished their 15-day spring practice schedule on Monday with a final practice designated to clean up mistakes made during Saturday's A-Day game. Head coach Gene Chizik focused on ball handling issues, quarterback reads, the footwork from the offensive line, and run fits by the defensive line. Alignments on both offense and defense were also a top priority.

Now that a complete spring is finished under new offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler and defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder, Chizik likes the progress.

"We certainly aren't anywhere near where we need to be," Chizik said. "But taking into consideration just the newness of the offenses and the defenses, I feel like we ended in a place that's about where we thought we'd be."

The end of spring marks the beginning of summer workouts. The time when players have to take it upon themselves to improve and dedicate themselves without the watchful eye of the coaching staff every second.

Chizik certainly knows the significance of the next few months.

"You hate to say this is the most important time of year, but certainly what happens in the next three months is very critical to how your football team is formed," Chizik said. "These guys have summer workouts that bond your team. They've got a lot of work ahead of them. They've got to come in on their own and do some film work and be very motivated."

Quick Hitters

**Dee Ford liked the progress of the defensive line this spring, noting the difference in the style of attack from a year ago. Ford isn't satisfied, but feels like strides were made.

"Making that transition from reading to playing vertical and reacting more than just trying to figure out what the offense was doing. We're playing very fast right now," Ford said. "There's still a few select things I can work on."

Ford on the defenses A-Day performance: "I think we were flying around. We were very confident in what we were doing. Communication was great. There were still a lot of mistakes, but the biggest thing is that we were flying around."

**Jeffrey Whitaker felt the impact of his offseason weight loss this spring: "I'm quicker. You can tell a noticeable difference just running to the ball, there's a difference."

Whitaker said while summer workouts are "voluntary", they are anything but that:

"It's all about commitment. Anything you do, it's all about commitment. We all have to be on the same page. From this point until the time we get back in pads, coach Yoxall should be kicking guys out of the weight room and telling guys not to come."

Whitaker saw improvement from young tackles Angelo Blackson, Jabrian Niles, and Devaunte Sigler:

"I saw improvement. Attention to detail, more. It's a big jump for them, from freshman to sophomore year. Some say it's one of the biggest jumps you're going to have, your freshman to your sophomore year."

Whitaker noted the defense has gained a better understanding of what to expect from VanGorder this spring, including gaining trust in where they are lining up and knowing they will be in the right position to make plays:

"One of his details is just make sure that you trust him. He's going to put you in the right position, just play the defense, and trust what he calls, and everything's going to be alright. I think that was a big deal for us, and I think we're buying into it, and understand that if I'm in B gap, and he's in A gap, and he gets the right fit, we'll be alright. I don't think we're there yet, but we've just got to keep working."

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