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Five Burning Questions for A-Day.

A day of great fun!
(Photo by Acid Reign)

     Each year I do this sort of post before A-Day, and each year the questions tend to be pretty similar. I’ll be in Jordan-Hare Stadium again Saturday with a camera in one hand and a roster in the other. The game kicks off at 3:00 PM and will be televised on the SEC Network. The pundits say that nothing can be learned from A-Day. I feel differently. In particular, issues on the line tend to linger into the fall.

     This time a year ago, my biggest concern was with the offensive line. I was worried about shuffling the lineup. The defensive line largely had its way that spring. Offensive line shuffling continued all the way through the 2017 season, and Auburn had pass protection issues against the better defenses.

     I wondered how vanilla the offense would be, or would the team actually throw the ball around? The answer was that Jarrett Stidham and the other quarterbacks lit up the stadium against vanilla coverage schemes. If Stidham was given time, he was deadly. That proved to be true during the season, as well.

     Could the Auburn receivers get open? Outside guys against the starting corners, not so much. Slot receivers were running free all day. During the season, Ryan Davis and Will Hastings tore up some SEC secondaries.

     I wondered how deep the Auburn backfield was and if Auburn would have any healthy options by November. KJ and Pettway didn’t play much, and I liked how the backups played. They did not do much when called on in the post season last year.

     This year, once again, my chief concern is with the offensive line. Will it have a chance against a deep defensive front? Last year’s shaky unit lost a handful of seniors, but there is some experience returning. Maybe it is just wishful thinking on my part, but I am confident that offensive line coach J. B. Grimes will have a solid group of starters by the time the season starts. Will they look polished on A-Day?

     How badly will the Auburn offense be hurt by Jarrett Stidham sitting out this spring, rehabbing a shoulder? I’m sure that there will be timing issues. However, at least it wasn’t the first year when the offense was being installed.

     Can a deep Auburn receiving corps survive the serious injuries that seem to keep cropping up this spring? It is definitely time for the next man up in some spots.

     Can the backup quarterbacks effectively run the whole offense? If not, the team is just one injury away from disaster next fall. The offense tanked in 2015 and 2016 when the presumed starter could not produce or was injured.

     How will a rebuilt secondary fare against dangerous receivers? It may not matter if the backup quarterbacks can’t find and hit the open man. However, I will be looking to see if guys are running around wide open.

6 Comments

  1. jbellison56 says:

    Good stuff Acid. I too am very concerned about the O-Line – especially center. The only thing that’s keeping me from hitting the panic button is J.B. Grimes.

  2. AUglenn says:

    As regards the receiving corps, what is your thoughts Acid on taking Devan Barrett away from the running backs and moving him to receiver and who do you think will step in Jeff Holland’s shoes as a leading pass rusher?

  3. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..Last season, Barrett was used a lot of times just like a slot receiver. He took jet sweeps, shovel passes, that sort of thing.

    …..From what I’ve heard this spring at running back, the coaches are going to go with experienced Kam Martin. Behind Martin, the names I’ve heard most are Jatarvious Whitlow and Asa Martin. Martin supposedly pass-blocked well in high-school, too. They say both of the new guys are video-game-type runners. Barrett looks like he’ll get more playing time in a banged up receiving corps, than he might have at running back.

    …..Folks say T. D. Moultry is the real deal at Buck, this spring. However, Nick Coe was awfully impressive last year, when he was in there.

  4. Jonathon Jonathon says:

    I’m hearing good things about our D-Line as maybe the best in the league. What I don’t hear is how good or not our coverage will be behind them, on the edges.
    Stidham having to nurse anything is a worry. I’ve heard the strength and conditioning program questioned.
    Seeing what Kam Martin can do as the lead guy the backfield will b interesting.

    My burning questions; Can we win a big game on the road as we will be tested in the opener & will we have consistency to some greater measure than what we’ve had????????

    Gus has either hit his peak or he’s quietly built a program destined for greatness. This season has to show us which coach we just bought for the long haul.

  5. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..Defensive line was sick, on A-Day. They were dropping tackles in coverage, to keep the quarterbacks and walk-on deep snappers from getting hurt. The offense didn’t even get a first down, against the starting defense.