- Chris Low, ESPN Senior Staff Writer
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Auburn coach Gene Chizik’s only proclamation about his quarterback battle coming out of Wednesday’s scrimmage was that the Tigers’ quarterback play across the board was “too inconsistent.”
The biggest news was that junior Clint Moseley is still battling soreness in his right throwing shoulder and conceded Wednesday that he was throwing through pain. He underwent an MRI on his shoulder this summer, but nothing structurally wrong was discovered.
Moseley’s lingering shoulder issues likely make sophomore Kiehl Frazier the favorite, although Chizik wasn’t ready to go that far Wednesday.
Chizik said there simply hasn’t been enough separation to make a call.
One of the highlights of the scrimmage, which was closed to the media, was a 65-yard touchdown run by senior running back Onterio McCalebb.
Gurley stars in Georgia’s scrimmage
It sounds like freshman Todd Gurley may have taken the early lead in Georgia’s starting tailback race.
Gurley had 58 rushing yards on six carries, including a touchdown, in the Bulldogs’ first scrimmage on Wednesday. Ken Malcome had 32 yards on five carries.
Senior receiver Marlon Brown also showed up with six catches for 103 yards and two touchdowns.
Georgia coach Mark Richt said the first-team offense scored touchdowns on its first three drives and that the first-team defense didn’t allow but one first down on the first three drives.
True freshman John Theus was working with the first unit at right offensive tackle during the first series of the scrimmage.
High praise for Vols’ sophomore linebackers
Tennessee first-year defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri was around some outstanding linebackers during his three seasons on the Alabama staff, but he suggested Wednesday that sophomores A.J. Johnson and Curt Maggitt could be in a different class.
“Those two kids might be the finest young linebackers that I ever coached,” Sunseri said. “Their attitude, their work ethic, their toughness … I am really, really pleased with those two guys.”
Johnson was second on Tennessee’s team last season as a true freshman with 80 total tackles. Maggitt was fourth with 56.
Also, receiver Cordarrelle Patterson turned more than a few heads in the one-on-one goal-line work during Tennessee’s evening practice on Wednesday.
He’s such a big target and separates so well. The Vols can’t wait to see what the heralded junior college newcomer does in games, especially with opposing defenses also having to deal with Justin Hunter and Da’Rick Rogers.
LSU opening up deep passing game
Whereas former LSU quarterbacks Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee shied away from throwing the ball down the field unless something was wide open, the new guy pulling the trigger for the Tigers has the tools and the license to let it fly this season.
Early on in preseason practice, LSU offensive coordinator Greg Studrawa said it’s been obvious that Zach Mettenberger is comfortable throwing some of those deeper routes in traffic.
“That kid, when he sits back there and (a deeper seam route) is called, he’s going to make that throw,” Studrawa said. “He’s going to zip that thing in there. He’s got the confidence to do it. That’s why (Russell Shepard) and those wideouts are excited. They’ve run those routes before, and if it’s not wide open, it wasn’t thrown.
“You run 50 yards down the field and not get the ball a few hundred times. That’s why they’re excited.”
Hogs being careful with Davis
Arkansas is still waiting to pick its spot as to when star running back Knile Davis will take part in full contact this preseason.
Davis, who missed all of last season after fracturing his ankle, didn’t participate in Tuesday’s scrimmage and also sat out Wednesday’s live tackling drills.
Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino said it was an “ongoing conversation” on when the Hogs would get Davis some contact this preseason.
2hGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough