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April 9, 2012

Practice notes: Dee Ford coming back from injury, Kris Frost improving on technique and Gene Chizik says finding a backup at middle linebacker is still a work in progress

Photo by Todd Van Emst

Dee Ford has emerged in the last week as a player who can be a force for Auburn at the defensive end position.

For most of Saturday’s scrimmage, he was paired with Corey Lemonier to bring pressure off the edge, and Gene Chizik was pleased with the way those two players were able to push the pocket during Saturday’s scrimmage, the second of the spring.

“(Ford) and Corey Lemonier at the ends right now can give you some speed on the edge that’s really, really challenging for our tackles, which is good to see,” Chizik said. “Those two pressured the passer Saturday, when they were expected to.”

Ford is coming back from a badly herniated disc that required a micro discectomy last fall. At the time, the decision to have surgery was for cautionary purposes.

Down for two months, Ford said he could have come back and played late in the season, but Auburn made the decision to hold Ford out and apply for a medical redshirt, which was granted.

He had tried to play with the injury early in the season, but the pain became too much.

“I was about to cry,” Ford said. “I couldn’t go to sleep at night. Whew. Mine was pretty intense because I tried to play with it. I was getting weak. I couldn’t step off.”

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  • Ford had to learn to train a different way as he recovered from back surgery. “It’s not hard because what you have to do, you hate to take a different route,” Ford said. “Now I’m experiencing and learning new things I can do for my body if I hadn’t had the surgery.”
  • Part of Ford’s alternate training involved a lot of stretching to strengthen his core. “Yoga. A lot of yoga, which is very hard,” Ford said. “It will increase your athleticism almost instantly if you do just one. A lot of yoga, a lot of core work, which I hated. I’d never have done that on my own.”
  • So far, Ford’s been impressed with Greg Robinson’s blocking skills on the outside at left tackle. “He’s quick to be a big guy like that. He’s very quick, very explosive. He can move,” Ford said. “He’s doing a great job.”
  • Kris Frost has been focused on the fundamentals lately. “I’m still in the process of staying low and using my hands more,
    that’s something I’m struggling with right now,” Frost said.
  • Frost has tried to learn from Auburn’s older linebackers. “I still look at all the other guys and how (Daren) Bates and Jake Holland move,” Frost said. “Just getting in the flow and getting in the speed.”
  • Gene Chizik said there were too many big plays — of the bad variety — for both units in the scrimmage. “Offensively, we had too many turnovers,” Chizik said. “Defensively, we were too inconsistent, especially when we got down in the red area which is extremely important down there.”
  • Daren Bates had a very good scrimmage on Saturday, according to Chizik. “Daren Bates had a really good scrimmage Saturday,” Chizik said. “I thought he was coming around. He’s really understanding where he fits within the defense.”
  • Chizik has not come up with an A-Day format yet. A lot of the decision-making on the format will be related to Auburn’s injury situation.
  • According to Chizik, Jake Holland and Chris Landrum are the two guys working at middle linebacker right now. That could mean Ashton Richardson is still primarily playing outside. “There’s nobody this spring that’s going to get a lot of reps at it,” Chizik said. “There may be some guys you throw in there to give guys a breather. For the most part, Chris Landrum’s been it, Jake Holland’s been it.”
  • On Frost, Chizik repeated what he’s been saying since Auburn recruited him. The young linebacker has plenty of ability. “He’s got the tools to be a good player,” Chizik said. “I don’t think there’s any question about that. Confidence will come when he feels a degree of comfort with what we’re doing. But he’s showed flashes out there of being able to be a good contributor here.

1 Comment

  1. […] to Joel Erickson of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, Auburn defensive end Dee Ford is back from injury and making his presence felt this […]

    Pingback by SEC Football Morning Coffee: Auburn Finding Depth at Defensive End | SEC Football — April 10, 2012 @ 5:05 pm

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