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April 9, 2012- - With a little over one week to go before the Auburn Tigers conclude spring practice for 2012, there is still a lot of learning left to do for not only the players, but the coaches as well.
"I have actually been practicing on my son, and he enjoys learning it. It helps me a bunch because I am never going to tell a player something that I don't know," said Auburn wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor.
New systems bring big changes for everyone, but especially position coaches who are transitioning to the new system under a new coordinator. New offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler brings in a totally different look, and style, than the Auburn coaching staff has been teaching over the past three years. Even though learning and teaching can be tough, some coaches have figured out easy ways to make the change.
"Football is football. For us, it is all about terminology. We may have called one specific thing 'blue' in last year's offense, and now we call it 'green' in this year's offense. It is all the same, just different terminology," said Curtis Luper following Monday's practice.
With a more pro-style attack being implemented, Auburn's wide receivers have had to learn not only how to play on both sides, but also recognize when to shorten routes to help the quarterback.
"Quarterbacks throw through windows, running backs run through alleys, and we have to be able to fit into those windows to catch balls. If I get press coverage then there is a defender impeding my route, so I have to be able to condense my route down from 12 to 10 yards," said Taylor.
Loeffler's new offense has also brought a complete change how the Auburn skill players will attack the defense. Long gone are the days where each receiver had a set route regardless of how the defense lined up. Under this new offense, the receivers will have a little more freedom to recognize coverage, and adjust accordingly. Something Taylor is looking forward to seeing this fall when the Tigers take the field.
"It's huge, because now you adjust on every route. There's not a single-route that's locked, that you don't have to adjust to. It's all based on what the defense gives you. They're learning about free access, bump-and-run, and cloud. There are three things that can happen to a receiver, where before, like I said, the route was locked in whether they were playing cover two or cover 12, you were running these routes. Now, it's kind of like backyard football," said Taylor.
Auburn will need to shore up the mental errors during there last full week of preparation before summer workouts begin. The Tigers have made strides on most practice days, but with so much change, Auburn still has a long way to go before both the coaches (save Loeffler), and players completely grasp the new systems.