Greetings my fellow Auburn brethren! Our Tigers’ opening game against Clemson in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Classic is close enough that I can taste chicken just thinking about it. This young and talented Auburn team is going to need to put forth a total team effort to start their 2012 campaign off on a winning path.
I know what you’re thinking. No, those are not rejected wardrobe pieces from the set of ‘Magic Mike’. Matthew McConaughey would have killed anyone attempting to take them from him anyway. Nor has there been a sudden influx of cyclists on the football team. You are looking at the newest addition to Auburn’s practice attire. A sorority girl’s dream come true, I’m sure.
The 2012 new’ish-look Auburn Tigers have put in a lot of hard work in preparation for the upcoming season, but the weeks leading up to tomorrow’s kickoff have been anything but bland. So what’s been going on at practice? Any surprises? Disappointments? Standouts? With the tight-lipped nature of this staff, these were (and still are) some tough questions to answer definitively.
However, there are some tidbits we can look at and draw conclusions from:
- Trovon Reed and Tre Mason have both been able to add weight in the offseason. Reed is up to 190 lbs. and Mason is knocking on the door of 200 lbs. This excites me. It shows dedication to the program and the desire to compete at a high level and succeed. These are two young men we desperately need to succeed at their respective playmaker positions. All signs point to them having put in the required effort to do just that.
- Jay Prosch can apparently lift any amount of weight put in front of him, which is probably going to be really inconvenient for anyone falling victim to his blocks this upcoming season. Apparently Clemson is a little frustrated after trying (and failing) to get their frosh middle-linebacker, a Caterpillar D10 bulldozer, rushed through the NCAA clearinghouse in time for Saturday. Seems the Purple Tigers wanted to have somewhat of an answer for Prosch, though fuel efficiency issues would have likely limited CD10 (as his teammates call him) to minimal snaps regardless.
- True freshman quarterback, Jonathan Wallace, really impressed Auburn coaches with his work ethic since landing on campus. After Zeke Pike’s departure it is refreshing to hear great things about a young quarterback from this coaching staff.
- Auburn commit Reuben Foster was reported to have been under NCAA investigation at one point during the offseason, and it was completely true except for the NCAA part. You don’t have to hit the bulls-eye to hit the target I suppose.
- Head Coach Gene Chizik announced the indefinite suspension of center Reese Dismukes last Saturday which opened the door for his backup: Tunde Fariyike. Because why would we have someone at center with a more normal name than Dismukes? Joking aside, Fariyike’s teammates have jumped at the chance to rave about his work ethic and knowledge of the game. He has their confidence and that is great to hear. Also, no word yet on whether or not freshman (and 3rd string) center, Snappy McDanielson, is receiving extra reps in practice this week.
- Swag ‘stache is go. I repeat. Swag ‘stache is go. Defensive coordinator, Brian Van Gorder, has given the impression that he really likes what he sees in his defense. He’ll be right at home in the dome so I expect to see an inspired defensive unit in action tomorrow.
Depth Chart Observations:
- As many expected, Kiehl Frazier was named the starting quarterback. I am anxious to see how well he performs tomorrow. Clemson will no doubt stack the box and force the sophomore to prove himself through the air. It will be very important for the offensive line to find their footing early to allow Frazier to find his rhythm. Proving himself through the air is something the sophomore will have to learn to live with in order for him to become a successful SEC quarterback.
- It appears that there are finally some youngsters stepping it up at the WR position. I’m still cautiously optimistic, but I can’t help imagining great things when I see Quan Bray, Trovon Reed, Sammie Coates, and Ricardo Louis nipping at the heels of Emory Blake and Travante Stallworth on the depth chart. This is such a talented group. IF Scott Loeffler can tap into their potential the Auburn air attack will be a joy to watch.
- I was a bit disappointed that C.J. Uzomah was not able to solidify himself as THE number two tight-end although I must give kudos to Brandon Fulse for earning the backup spot.
- The leader for active consecutive starts, Nosa Eguae with 24, sits outside of the two-deep on the depth chart. This is in some way related to injury, but it also serves as a testament to the young talent and the hard work they are putting in to gain footholds in the playing rotation.
We are all but one slumber away from finding out how much this team has grown up in the past year. The journey down the mountain of college football has undoubtedly made them wiser and stronger, but best of all, it has made them hungry.
The Auburn Tigers’ most recent struggles were not a full chapter in our history as some would wish it to be. They were just a series of short stories – stories that primed them for the journey ahead – the journey back to the top.
War Eagle! Beat Clemson!