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Fall Practice, First Scrimmage Edition.

By on August 8th, 2013 in Featured Article, Football 11 Comments »
Scrimmage pic

Football season is not far away!

     War Eagle, everybody! We’re a week into fall practice, and this year’s Auburn football team is starting to take shape. Of course, the biggest question remains at the quarterback position. Everyone wants to know who the starter is, and the coaching staff won’t say much.

     I think the main indicator in this race is the fact that the coaches decided yesterday to make the quarterbacks “live” in the first scrimmage. In this day and age, if you have a quarterback you know you’ll play, there’s no way you want him hit in August. My guess is that this coming Saturday scrimmage may be the deciding factor in picking a starter. Of note from Wednesday’s scrimmage is that we heard more about interceptions than passing touchdowns. It’s not a good sign.

     On the defensive line, it’s been pretty much as predicted, with solid but unspectacular play for the most part. They have been practicing against a pretty dominant offensive line. Finding pass rushers remains a priority. The name mentioned most here is true freshman Carl Lawson, who has shown the ability to get off blocks and destroy plays. He’s also a freshman, with all of the mistakes that entails. My thought is that he and Elijah Daniel will play early, and play a lot, just not in an every down mode.

     Linebacker remains a work in progress. While the starting corps of Cassanova McKinzy, Kris Frost and star Justin Garrett is quite talented, the word thus far has been “inconsistency.” Fifth year senior Jake Holland had an excellent scrimmage yesterday, including an interception and a 70 yard return. He could well move back into the starting lineup by the start of the season.

     Cornerback play has been pretty dominant. Jonathan Mincy and Chris Davis are solid, talented and veteran players, and Auburn’s less experienced receivers have had a tough go of it. Safety play has been less inspiring, although Jermaine Whitehead will be solid there. It’s difficult to really evaluate safety play when the bulk of the offense has focused on power running. We’ll be interested to see how well these guys can deal with Auburn’s dangerous H-backs and tight ends in the passing game.

     By all accounts, excellent special teams play will continue this fall. Led by seniors Cody Parkey and Steven Clark, Auburn should have powerful legs, good coverage, and explosive return men.

     Auburn looked good in the spring on the offensive line, and that remains true this fall. There is a battle going on at right tackle. Incumbent sophomore starter Patrick Miller is being pushed hard by sophomore Avery Young, who held the position the first three games of last season. Coaches believe Young has more upside than anyone else on the offensive line. Young is now healthy, and it’s going to be hard to keep him out of the lineup. Center Reese Dismukes has been consistently praised for his leadership and his focus.

     The H-back/tight end position took a major blow at the start of fall camp, with the dismissal of Ricky Parks. This past spring, Parks had settled as the second team H-back behind Jay Prosch, and was poised to earn a lot of playing time. Instead, the Tigers are now struggling with ways to provide depth here. Walkon Gage Batten, a former linebacker is taking most of the backup snaps at H-back thus far. It looks like the main contributors here will be C. J. Uzomah, Jay Prosch, and Brandon Fulse. They’ll be on the field a lot this fall.

     The only wide receiver to earn any significant mention thus far is Quan Bray, who was expected mainly to be a slot receiver subbed in at times. Starters coming out of spring drills at the outside receiver spots were Jaylon Denson, and Trovon Reed. Evidently, all have had a tough go of it thus far this fall, battling Auburn’s deep, physical cornerback rotation.

     All three of Auburn’s top tailbacks from spring ball have earned mention this fall. We all know what Tre Mason can do when healthy, and junior-college transfer Cameron Artis-Payne was the star of A-Day. In yesterday’s scrimmage, the speedy junior Corey Grant broke off some big runs, with a lot of yards after contact. I think the team is in good hands here.

     We are now back to the quarterback position, where there are few answers thus far. I personally feel that with performances being mostly equal thus far, the coaches will likely go with more experience. That would mean Khiel Frazier and Nick Marshall, who’ve played the most. Both are significant running threats, too. Again, Saturday’s scrimmage may tell the tale. We’ll certainly be hanging on every word till then! War Eagle, folks. Fall football is almost here!

11 Comments

  1. MyAuburn MyAuburn says:

    Good report. The interceptions this early don’t really bother me, yet. New offense, new season, growing pains, trying to impress coaches, etc. If they show up early in the season, then I will be bothered.
    I like everything I am hearing about Lawson and wish I was hearing more about Gabe. I can’t help but remember the hat he put on when he signed that said “Nick Who” referring to Fairley. Man, would I love to see him perform like him.

  2. Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

    The running game could be outstanding this year. I hope a QB and passing game develop soon.

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      Agree, And very soon!

      But I’m excited about the defensive performance so far.

      • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

        According to what I read it seems that the D line needs to tighten up.

        • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

          Yeah, your right.
          My excitement is mainly based on the “stars” and the Line backers. They picked off 3 passes – something that didn’t happen in a game or a practice all last year. However, reports from yesterday also said the D-Line got a couple of sacks in the scrimmage. There’s no doubt though, that’s an area that needs big (consistent) improvement.

          • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

            Were the interceptions due to poor QB play or exceptional star and LB play? I certainly don’t know but I do know that I’m ready for kickoff.

  3. Todd92 Todd92 says:

    Good read Acid. Regardless of how good our OL seems to be… I am worried about the DL not getting any push up the middle. This worries me more than the QB situation right now…. With a solid OL our QB situation won’t be as glaringly bad as it has been the past two years when our OL just plain stunk. I think Uzomah will create a mismatch for pretty much every team we play no matter where he lines up during the play… Making a great target to build confidence for the QB. A reciever with a build like a tight end with the speed to stretch the field is a rare thing. And our running game sounds like it will be more than solid…. I can’t wait!

  4. restless6 says:

    Gus was not happy today with the team’s performance. I’m glad to hear honesty for a change. He will get them in gear.

  5. Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

    It’s brilliant to let the QBs get hit. It gives the coaches an excellent way to gauge their performance under pressure.

    • Col.Angus Col.Angus says:

      Sounds like Kiehl may be running the offense best in practice….but we all know how that turned out last year. I think Gus is right to throw them to the wolves and see who is going to respond best to rwal game contact situations. JW may end up still being the man.

  6. sparkey sparkey says:

    Nick Marshall will be the starter and JJ will be the backup. I’m usually right about these kinds of things.