AUBURN, Ala. Auburns specialists were under the gun during Saturdays practice.
As the Tigers attempt to replace a pair of seniors in kicker Cody Parkey and punter Steven Clark, a redshirt freshmen duo has taken center stage. During both the middle and end of Saturdays session at Jordan-Hare Stadium, coach Gus Malzahn said the kickers became live targets.
We put the kickers in some situations as game-like as possible with the pressure on, he said. I think theyve responded fairly well with that.
Though there are a multiple players vying for the starting job including walk-ons Alex Kviklis and Duncan McKinney the man at the top of the depth chart is Daniel Carlson. Its the same story at punter. Like Carlson, Jimmy Hutchinson sat out last year but now finds himself as the presumed starter heading into next season.
Another redshirt freshman duo Tyler Stovall and Jack Bjork are also competing to become the Tigers newest punter. Whether any of the specialists will take the field in next Saturdays A-Day game is uncertain. Malzahn said the same format as last year will be used; in that contest, Parkey kicked two field goals while no punts were attempted.
Regardless of how things shake out at both spots, Malzahns biggest concern was that each candidate shares the same problem: None have ever been in a live game at the college level.
Were trying to put them through as many game-like situations as we can with the pressure on and all that during the spring, he said last month. But both of them or really I should say all of them that (are) competing for the job are talented. Its just a matter of getting experience.