Auburn opens spring football practice

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) - The Auburn Tigers opened spring practice seeking a starting quarterback and a new tailback and without some injured veterans.

The Tigers practiced for the first time under new coordinators Scot Loeffler and Brian VanGorder. Coach Gene Chizik says five players are expected to miss the spring, including defensive end Nosa Eguae, tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen, linebacker Jonathan Evans, defensive tackle Kenneth Carter and defensive back Ikeem Means.

The biggest questions lie in the offensive backfield.

Kiehl Frazier, Clint Moseley and freshman Zeke Pike - a January enrollee - are vying to start at quarterback. New offensive coordinator Loeffler says he views all three as freshmen since they're learning a new system.

The Tigers are also seeking a replacement for All-Southeastern Conference tailback Mike Dyer, who transferred to Arkansas State.

The practice included individual and position drills, as well as special teams and situational drills, as the Tigers began preparing for the 2012 season.

Auburn head coach Gene Chizik said he like the energy and focus that his team brought to the first day of spring practice.

"I was pleased with how the team came out and got started today, I really feel like our players did a good job of focusing because they have been really excited about this," said Chizik. "They have been great at trying to learn new verbiage, concepts and things of that nature. Today was the first day that we were able to put it into action and it was a good day."

Chizik also praised his new assistant coaches.

"I feel really confident in all the guys that I hire, they are true professionals," said Chizik. "It is fun to watch the new guys out there; Some new blood, some new life and I think the players like it as well. Overall, it was good for everyone to get that first day in."

The Tigers will conduct their second spring practice on Saturday at 9:45 a.m. CT. All practices are closed to the public.