Auburn Sets Focus On College Football Kickoff Classic—13 Days Away
Van Ernst/Auburn Athletics
The Auburn football team held its final scrimmage of the fall Sunday and will take today off to rest and attend the first day of fall classes. But the respite will not be long as the coaches will be taking the next two weeks to prepare for No. 6 Washington in the Kickoff Classic on September 1.
In Sunday’s post scrimmage presser, coach Malzahn gave the usual positive coach speak that coaches typically give out this time of year; the team is hungry, etc, but he did say there was something different about his sixth fall camp, “We’ve not had what I would say one bad day, I mean attitude-wise, effort-wise. That’s pretty rare.”
Another fairly rare thing is the Tigers came out of fall camp pretty healthy. “I feel like we’ve accomplished most of our goals,” said Gus. “We had very few injuries or banged up guys. That’s a good feeling. We’re in a good spot with two weeks to start transitioning for Washington.”
In addition free safety Jeremiah Dinson has recovered from off season shoulder surgery, and wide receivers Will Hastings and Eli Stove are ahead of schedule in surgery rehab from last spring’s ACL injuries.
Although Kam Martin still seems to be in the driver’s seat at running back, freshmen JaTarvious Whitlow, Asa Martin, and Harold Joiner have all had a good camp. Gus said, “It’s yet to be seen exactly how everything is going to play out. Probably after the third or fourth game I think it’ll be evident. It’s good right now that we have options.”
Probably the most important thing at this point is having an offensive line set to open the holes for the running backs and block for quarterback Jarrett Stidham. Although Malzahn was noncommittal, coach J.B. Grimes feels he has his first team O-line ready to go with Prince Tega Wanogho, Jr. at LT, Marquel Harrell at LG, Kaleb Kim at center, Mike Horton at RG and Jack Driscoll at RT.
Malzahn said the coaches will take the next day and a half to go over possible depth charts and then start preparing for Washington. “We already have a good idea of what we’re going to do,” said Gus, “but [the off day will] give us a day to catch our breath and just strictly focus on them. And then have two weeks to try to prepare in all the phases. Because, what are we, 13 days away right now?”