Tigers Go Back to Work!
Spring drills resume after a break
(Photo by Acid Reign)
War Eagle, everybody! Auburn returned to the practice field this week and will work towards A-Day in a little more than 2 weeks. Word out of practice Tuesday was that the Tigers looked a little rusty, and coaches weren’t terribly pleased. I’m guessing that the rust will be shaken off quickly, one way or another.
On the injury front, it some hoped that quarterback Jarrett Stidham would be able to get some work in towards the latter half of spring ball. That hasn’t been the case, yet. I think the coaches know what he can do, and I believe he’ll be a likely scratch from the A-Day game.
Malik Willis is working with the first unit, and by all accounts he is coming along nicely in the offense. We know that Willis is a very dangerous runner. If he can make the right reads on run-pass option plays and get the ball out quickly on wide screens, that would make Willis a very dangerous wildcat quarterback for change of pace series this fall.
Word is that there is a lot more tackling of running backs this year as coaches try to separate 4 or 5 contenders for the starting job. This could result in a mash unit of injuries. Or, it could bring extra toughness to the position. Me, I’d love to see this unit come out of the gate next fall running downhill. Usually, it takes 3 or 4 games before Auburn has any offensive identity and proficiency.
Speaking of mash units, that apparently describes Auburn’s receiving corps this spring. In a bit of good news, Ryan Davis and Will Hastings got rid of their noncontact jerseys. On the bad side of things, rumor is that Eli Stove had surgery for a torn ligament in his knee and will be out indefinitely. Nate Craig-Myers is another receiver that has been nicked up this year. Fortunately, the Tigers are pretty deep at receiver.
Auburn practices today and will hold a scrimmage Saturday. We’ll start to get an idea of who will stand out from the pack on Saturday. I would expect the defense to be ahead at this point with a young quarterback, injured receivers and untested running backs. Meanwhile, the defense returns a salty front seven and some talent in the secondary. I’ll be alarmed if I hear of a lot of big plays against the starting defense.
I am planning to attend this year’s A-Day and, hopefully, get an idea how strong this team is. I was very encouraged by what I saw last year and could tell that the Tigers would have some explosive moments, which they did!
Last season, Auburn went into the SEC title game averaging over 40 points per game against SEC opponents. While the last couple of games didn’t go so well, Auburn returns a lot of pieces from that team. I remain hopeful about the coming season!