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Notes from the Beat, 8/26

"Hey, look over there, it's our starting right tackle talking to our backup quarterback. PSYCH!" *runs away*

After Tuesday’s flood of scout team- and depth chart-related information, not surprisingly Wednesday toned it back quite a bit; there’s not a whole lot new to report. But here’s what we’ve got, courtesy of Andy Bitter, Jay Tate, Andrew Gribble, and Charles Goldberg:

–Most of the important tidbits we got were all injury-related. Deangelo Benton is back at practice, finally, though he’s apparently being eased back into the flow of things and Chizik stopped far short of promising any playing time against Arkansas St. Or speculating on when he definitely would see any. Or–as is his wont–really offering any info other than “Benton is practicing again, slowly.” But hey, it’s something.

Elsewhere, the Swede Killa has a recurring shoulder problem that sounds like the sort of thing that won’t keep him out of action as is, but might be a problem if it gets worse in the future. We also got a little bit more info on Roszell Gayden’s injury, a knee problem that the Chiznick essentially blamed for his struggles in competing for a starting job. Chizik sounds happy with Gayden’s effort and work ethic, which is nice to hear; you might expect a gigantic, highly-rated JUCO who fully expected to start on arrival to tone things down just a bit out of disappointment. If that’s not the case, it bodes very well for Gayden’s chances of earning a major role next season.

No word on Antonio Goodwin’s injury status, which is a bit disconcerting. Oh, and “beat up” Trovon Reed has a bit of a ding as well–again–which is probably even more disconcerting. But at least he’s still practicing.

— I swear, I almost wrote yesterday that Mike Slade’s demotion to the scout team (as a redshirt junior!) and the No. 8 slot in the safety pecking order had all but ended his Auburn career, since Slade was clearly looking at neither any playing time this season nor a future fifth season on scholarship. But I thought it was maybe still a little too harsh, a little too premature.

Nope: Bryan Matthews reported that Slade (kind of understandably) responded to his demotion  by leaving the program. It’s a precipitous fall for Slade, who saw adequate playing time as a redshirt freshman third safety in late 2008 and seemed poised to take over as a starter when McNeil couldn’t get healthy for ’09. But he first got beat out by Daren Bates in fall camp, then struggled mightily in his first shot at meaningful playing time (against Ole Miss, after the Etheridge injury), then watched the coaches turn to a shifted-over Demond Washington, T’Sharvan Bell, and even Drew Cole when injuries continued to take their toll on the safeties down the stretch. Then the scout team thing. It’s a shame he won’t finish his education at Auburn, but if he’s looking to put his two remaining years of eligibility to use on a football field somewhere, yeah, the handwriting was on the wall, wasn’t it? WBE wishes him the best.

— And now Chizik boards the “Derrick Lykes isn’t doing so hot” train. I’m guessing we don’t see Lykes as a regular member of the rotation any time soon, sad to say.

— All signs point towards Corey Lemonier having a lock on the backup quick end slot. Not good news for Dee Ford’s chances at playing time, I suppose, since “power end” really isn’t an option for him.

— In other depth chart news, Grimes more-or-less confirmed that Mike Berry would take over at center if anything happened to Pugh … leaving who to take over at left guard, I wonder? Probably Bart Eddins.

— P-Marsh broke down the playing status for all 30 new members of Auburn’s team, and in 29 cases, it’s what you’d expect him to write based on the reports out of practice and the scout team assignments. The one exception:

CHAD SLADE, OL, Moody: Has secured spot on No. 2 offensive line. Redshirt possible, but not likely.

Really? Because of all the first-year players on the offensive line, Slade was the one–well, he and Tunde Fariyike were the two–thought most likely to redshirt. If he’s already moved ahead of the likes of Eric Mack and Ed Christian, well, then he’s had one hell of a fall camp.

— Mario Fannin is up for the Doak Walker. As he damn well should be.

— Honestly, the most interesting thing to come out of yesterday’s practice was Bitter’s quotes from Ziemba and Newton. There’s not much to add to them or analyze about them–though it’s nice to see Ziemba give Grimes so much credit, and fun to learn that Dr. Gustav is just as wired when it comes to practice as we’ve been led to believe–but they’re definitely worth a read.

Photo by Van Emst.

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