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March 30, 2013

Quick observations from Auburn practice #3: Practice video, Malzahn comments blog

BY AARON BRENNER | abrenner@ledger-enquirer.com

AUBURN, Ala. – The first Auburn practice of the spring where sunscreen was necessary, Jordan-Hare Stadium reopened for business in the Tigers’ third session in four days.

- An official referee crew was on hand, indicating there’s going to be a scrimmage later on. Closed to the media and general public, though.

- At the tail end of the media’s viewing window, we saw the first 11-on-11 hurry-up drill. While it’s been well-documented these mean very little, the first units remained the same as previously reported … while keeping in mind Kiehl Frazier and Jonathan Wallace are swapping chances with the first unit.

- This 11-on-11 drill including some physical contact, mainly in the tackle box. Nothing outside, nobody lighting up any receivers or anything.

- Every coach was somewhere inside the sidelines coaching up the drill, obviously keeping a supersonic tempo. Primarily, it was Gus Malzahn right on top of the quarterback and overall offense, making calls and keeping the pace.

- If you live in the Jordan-Hare Stadium neighborhood, you’re probably hearing a booming voice all morning. That would be Malzahn himself, wearing a microphone and announcing period numbers and the next drill to echo throughout 80,000 empty seats.

- Immediately following stretching was a fast-paced field-goal drill, setting up kicker Cody Parkey from straightaway and both hashes. The multiple attempts would trend back 5 yards at a time, going back as far as a 47-yard attempt (which Parkey missed wide left). Ryan White’s still the main holder, but punter Steven Clark did some work as well.

- Stretching is coordinated with about 30 players at a time moving forward. When the final 30-man line of one exercise didn’t see everybody start at the same time, S&C coach Ryan Russell and safeties coach Charlie Harbison made them do it again

- “Great body language in everything you do!” – CBs coach Melvin Smith, during stretching

- Speaking of body language, Russell walks and stalks like Peyton Manning doing his crazy audibles during a frantic 2-minute offense. This definitely sets the tone in terms of being fast. There’s a reason Malzahn canned Kevin Yoxall for Russell.

- Lots of schmoozing by director of high school recruiting Al Pogue with high school coaches on the side. This is his job.

- The QBs worked on pre-snap calls, 3-step drops and keeping their eyes up. Footwork’s going to be an ever-persistent process.

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