Auburn to practice in the mornings

One change Auburn coach Gene Chizik plans to make this spring is the Tigers will practice in the mornings. They held most of their practices during his first spring in the evenings.

The tentative start date for Auburn's spring practice is now March 24.

Obviously, one of the big storylines this spring on the Plains will be the quarterback competition. Junior college newcomer Cameron Newton, who started his career at Florida, is probably the guy to beat. But Chizik said Newton would start dead even with the rest of the guys and that nobody was putting any pressure on Newton to come in and be a superstar right away.

The other junior college newcomer who could make an immediate impact is offensive tackle Roszell Gayden, who signed in December and will go through spring practice. The Tigers are pretty set right now everywhere on their offensive line but right tackle, which is where Gayden could be a factor.

Sophomore safety Daren Bates, coming off shoulder surgery, will be limited for the spring and likely held out of most of the full contact work. Aairon Savage, who was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA, will work at both cornerback and safety this spring.

Top running back signee Michael Dyer won't be on campus until the summer, which means senior Mario Fannin has a big opportunity to show this spring what he can do at running back. Fannin has moved around from slot, to receiver, to running back the last couple of years.

The guy who may replace Fannin in that multi-purpose role is redshirt freshman Dontae Aycock, who was a quarterback in high school. He rushed for 28 touchdowns his senior year, and Chizik said the Tigers want to try him out at a couple of different spots to utilize his skills in the open field.