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August 9, 2011Saturday will be the three-week warning for Auburn. The Tigers will have just 21 days before kicking off the 2011 season at home against Utah State.
Gene Chizik would like to name a starting quarterback by Saturday, and a starting center. Throw in most of the offensive line positions as well. He would like to name all the starters as soon as possible.
"We want to try to zero in on the guys that can really help us, and really try to zero in on their reps," said Chizik.
Chizik and his coaching staff will get the chance to evaluate players, to evaluate position battles, during game-type situations Wednesday. The Tigers are scheduled to scrimmage inside Jordan-Hare Stadium at 10:45 a.m.
Many position battles will be monitored closely, maybe none more than at quarterback where junior Barrett Trotter, sophomore Clint Moseley and true freshman Kiehl Frazier are all vying to replace the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft, Cam Newton.
"It will be a huge evaluation for them," said Chizik. "We want to (name a starter) as soon as we can, but we have to be very thorough and very patient in the evaluation because there are three very good players that there may not be a lot of difference in the end."
Trotter knows the importance of a scrimmage. The fourth-year junior knows the first one of fall camp this year is an opportunity, a chance to move ahead of the others, a chance to claim ownership of the No. 1 spot. But he also knows the coaches' decision won't be made solely on Wednesday's performances.
"I definitely think it'll be important," said Trotter. "I don't think it's going to be anything too crazy as far as how much it matters. All of camp is just as important."
Trotter said his goals for the scrimmage are obvious ones.
"Getting the ball in the endzone," he said. "Make sure we have no busts, that the ball goes where it needs to on the reads and the coverages."
In front of Trotter and the quarterbacks, sophomore Blake Burgess and true freshman Reese Dismukes are competing for the starting job at center.
Senior A.J. Greene has been getting the majority of first-team reps at left tackle, but freshman Greg Robinson has received high praise from coaches and teammates and could provide competition for the upperclassman. Senior Brandon Mosley has locked down the starting spot at right tackle.
Inside at the guard spots, senior Jared Cooper and redshirt freshmen Eric Mack and Ed Christian are working for the starting job at left guard. Junior John Sullen and Tunde Fariyike at right guard.
On defense, sophomores Nosa Eguae and Corey Lemonier lead a young, but talented group of ends that includes another sophomore in Craig Sanders, juniors Dee Ford and Joel Bonomolo, redshirt freshmen Justin Delaine and LaDarius Owens, and freshman Keymiya Harrell.
At the tackle spots, sophomore Jeffrey Whitaker and Kenneth Carter are in line to replace last year's starters, Lombardi Award winner Nick Fairley and NFL draft pick Zach Clayton, but will have to hold off four freshmen in Gabe Wright, JaBrian Niles, Devaunte Sigler and Angelo Blackson and junior Jamar Travis.