- Edward Aschoff, ESPN Staff Writer
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It’s Auburn’s turn to take a little bit of a break.
(Well, as much of a break as college football teams will allow during the season.)
After nine straight weeks on the grind, the Tigers will be kicking back this weekend and watching games, rather than playing in them.
This week has been lighter, as expected, but Auburn coach Gene Chizik said the extra time has been used to sure up some things on both offense and defense. Next Saturday brings a heated rivalry game with Georgia.
An Auburn win could send the Bulldogs packing in the race to Atlanta. More importantly to Chizik, it’s a chance to get to seven wins, something many scoffed at heading into the season.
“We’ve really done a really thorough, self-evaluation,” Chizik said of the bye week. “Not only where our deficiencies are, but what are we doing well? What are we doing that we can continue to build on?”
One thing this team can certainly build on is the play of quarterback Clint Moseley. Since replacing former starter Barrett Trotter in the second half of the Florida game, he hasn’t really looked back. Granted, he had his hands more than full in a blowout loss to LSU, but he never really lost composure.
He didn’t have a great day, but his coaches have said since that they thought he handled the pressure well.
A week later against Ole Miss, the efficient quarterback we saw in the second half against the Gators returned to form, passing for 160 yards and more touchdowns (four) than incompletions (three).
Chizik said the sophomore, who came in relatively cold against Florida, has impressed him, but he’s not exactly stunned by his play thus far.
“I don’t want to use the word surprised. I feel good that he was able to play like he has,” Chizik said. “He’s certainly done some nice things for us. He’s a confident young man -- no question about it -- and he feels very good about his abilities.
“He knows and understands how much work it’s going to take for him to continue to improve. He’s got a lot of room to improve.
“He’s come in and kept his composure very well, but again, he’s got a lot of room for improvement.”
And Moseley agrees.
He agrees that both he and his offense need to improve. Even after scoring 41 points against Ole Miss, Moseley said the Tigers did things that were “real stupid” on offense. From penalties to miscues, Moseley wasn’t entirely thrilled with Auburn’s offense.
And that’s a good thing to hear from your quarterback.
Now, with some more time to go over things, Moseley expects to get those little mistakes that are holding this team back corrected.
“This week is good for us,” Moseley said. “Normally, we’re game planning and we’re on a tight schedule. This week, we can rep a play as many times as we have to for it to be a perfect play.”
He and his offense will need some of those plays to get cleaned up against a solid Georgia defense in Athens, Ga., next week if the Tigers want to pull out the win.
Plus, Moseley will have to keep his rhythm going, as he also expects a little more attention because of the little time he’s played in his career.
“I’ve only started twice,” he said. “They (Georgia) probably want to make me beat them.”