Auburn football: Looking at the Tigers' tackles for 2014

rblack@ledger-enquirer.comJanuary 24, 2014 

ROBIN TRIMARCHI Auburn's Avery Young, left, could be tasked with replacing Greg Robinson (right) as Auburn's starting left tackle next season.


Editor's note: The 2013 season is in the books. Any underclassmen eligible for the NFL draft have decided whether to return to school or pursue a pro career. And national signing day is drawing closer by the day. With that in mind, Auburn beat writer Ryan Black breaks down the team's 2014 roster, going position-by-position and giving his take on each spot's future. The series continues with the Tigers' tackles.

Who's Staying: Avery Young, sophomore: Started last 10 games of 2013 season at right tackle

Patrick Miller, junior: Started first four games of 2013 season at right tackle

Robert Leff, junior: Appeared in all 14 games last year

Will Adams, sophomore: Appeared in all 14 games last year

Shon Coleman, sophomore: Appeared in eight games last year

Shane Callahan, sophomore: Appeared in two games (Western Carolina and Florida Atlantic) last year

Who's Leaving: Greg Robinson: Started all 14 games at left tackle; named second-team All-American by Football Writers Association of America; named third-team All-American by Associated Press

Who's Coming In: None

Outlook: Duplicating Robinson's success at left tackle next season would be difficult for anyone.

As it is, he's nearly a lock to be one of the first 10 selections in May's NFL draft, with some suggesting he may even be taken with the No. 1 overall pick. So who will have the unenviable task of replacing him? It could be the player on the opposite side of the line. Young has never played on the left side, as all 12 of his starts have come at right tackle. But the coaching staff has no worries about Young's ability to play any spot on the line. (For a more thorough analysis of Young's potential move, click here.)

If Young is shifted to left tackle, it would take no effort to tab his replacement: the player he took over for at right tackle starting with Game No. 5. Yes, in what would be an ironic twist, Miller could replace the player who replaced him. No one questions Miller's talent — he did beat Young in their one-on-one competition for the starting right tackle job during fall camp, after all. But an undisclosed off-field issue took Miller out of the lineup, and once Young stepped in, he didn't relinquish his hold on the position.

Coleman, who backed up Robinson last year, is another possible successor at left tackle. He has all the requisite tools to be a top-flight lineman, as he was a five-star recruit coming out of high school. After overcoming cancer, this fall could be Coleman's time to shine.

One thing is certain: The Tigers have a plethora of options. Gus Malzahn specifically named Leff as someone who will "get a look" at left tackle. Adams and Callahan could figure into the mix as well with strong showings during spring practice and fall camp.

Is it a problem to have so many viable candidates? In a roundabout way, yes.

But as the coaching staff would likely tell you, it's a good problem to have.

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