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April 13, 2012Saturday's A-Day game will have Auburn's new coordinators going to head to head as both try to accomplish their goals.
Offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler wants his offense to play tough, physical football and not put the ball on the ground.
"We want to go out and play really hard, play physical, have great pad level and protect the football," Loeffler said. "If we do that, then it was a productive day."
Defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder, on the other hand, wants his athletes to play with precision and prevent the offense from having a notable day.
"Not give up explosive plays," VanGorder said. "That's tied into understanding leverage of defense, avoiding mental errors and poor tackling. Those are three factors that usually go into explosive plays.
"Then, just play with intelligence in respects to situational football. Whether it's third down, we're in the red zone, whether it's a backed up scenario, all the different scenarios of the game that we've got to learn and do better at. I'll be looking for that from them."
Although this year's scoring format has not yet been released, head coach Gene Chizik's formats in the past are ones that rewards the offense and defense for certain plays, like a tackle for a loss or three consecutive first downs.
"I just looked at it this morning," Loeffler said. "It's pretty basic, pretty standard system that you use whenever you go offense versus defense."
Several Tigers will not be participating in tomorrow's scrimmage because of injuries suffered during camp or because of offseason surgeries.
One of them is tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen. He had offseason labrum surgery.
Although he's frustrated about not being able to play this spring, he said he feels comfortable with Loeffler's offense.
"There's so much going on and so many different formations and sets," Lutzenkirchen said. "As a tight end, it's exciting. It's a lot of NFL stuff. You get to line up in a bunch of different spots and Coach Loeffler does a great job of finding the playmakers and getting them involved."
Two players who are filling in for Lutzenkirchen are Brandon Fulse and receiver-turned-tight end CJ Uzomah.
Lutzenkirchen said both of them have progressed throughout the spring, but they still have a lot of learning to do.
"Since the beginning of the spring, we've really been harping physicality with them," Lutzenkirchen said. "Especially for CJ from moving from wide receiver into the box. They've been frustrated at times, and it takes a while. I've just been trying to tell them that it's going to take a while. It took me almost a whole year to understand the position and know what you need to get done. They're learning. They're taking baby steps. I think they'll be exactly where they need to be come fall."
Also not participating in the scrimmage is offensive lineman Shon Coleman. Despite being cleared medically to practice as of Wednesday, he said he will not dress tomorrow.
Like Lutzenkirchen, Coleman said he is comfortable with the offense because of film study.
"I've been going to meeting every day, studying the playbook," Coleman said. "I pretty much know what's going on with Coach Loeffler's new offense. I've been involved a lot."
As for the quarterbacks, Loeffler said it has not yet been decided how they will rotate in the game.
"I'm sure that you're going to see probably all of them with (the first team)," Loeffler said.
Despite being hindered by a sore shoulder, Clint Moseley is full speed and will play just as much as the other quarterbacks tomorrow.
*** Despite a diagnosis with a form of leukemia two years ago, Coleman said he was never scared about his future.
"I always kept my head up," Coleman said. "I always had support from the fans and my family. They always uplifted me from day one. I just kept my head up. My mom, she just knew I was going to get through this. I was very determined to get through it."
He also said he has a greater appreciation for football now.
"People that went through the stuff I've been through the last two years, they've had it much, much worse," Coleman said. "Way worse. I'm lucky. I'm so blessed to even see the field or even work out during the past two years like I've been doing. I appreciate it a lot more."
*** Coleman was cleared to workout in the weight room with the team in the offseason. He said that had a lot to do with why he was able to return to the field.
"Just staying active, staying healthy, eating the right thing, exercising, putting in extra work," Coleman said. "Coach Yox, he pushed me during the redshirt workouts. That really played a big part in everything."
*** Coleman said he now weighs about 295 pounds. He is listed a 6-foot-7.
*** VanGorder complimented defensive end Dee Ford for his athleticism. With Nosa Eguae not playing tomorrow, Ford will see a lot of action.
"He's got special traits," VanGorder said. "Athletically, a very quick very sudden player. Full-speed player. He's not holding back. Even though he's learning, he's not holding back. That's special when you see that out of a player. He'll continue to progress and have a good offseason here and become a high-production player for us in the fall."
*** A-Day is set to start at 2 p.m. The Heisman statue unveiling ceremony featuring Cam Newton, Pat Sullivan and Bo Jackson will start at 10 a.m.
**Here is the A-Day scoring system:
Touchdown, 6 pts.
Field Goal, 3 pts.
Explosive Play (15+ yard play), 2 pts.
Two Consecutive First Downs, 2 pts.
PAT, 1 pt.
Touchdown, 7 pts.
Turnover (Unless TD), 6 pts.
Sack, 4 pts.
Tackle for Loss, 2 pts.
3-and-out, 1 pt.