AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn coach Gus Malzahn was quick to downplay Chad Slade's demotion from the first-team offensive line. A rising senior, Slade has started 36 games the past three seasons, including all 14 at right guard last season.
"You got to have depth at guard. You got to have depth at tackle and at center," Malzahn said. "That was by design."
At last Thursday's practice, that changed, as Avery Young was moved from right tackle to right guard. That allowed Patrick Miller — who had been competing with Shon Coleman at left tackle — to return to right tackle, where he started the first five games of 2013.
During Tuesday's practice, Young and Miller joined Coleman, center Reese Dismukes and left guard Alex Kozan to fill out the Tigers' starting five.
Even though he's now trying to fight his way back to the top of the depth chart, Malzahn said Slade has taken everything in stride.
"His mind-set (is) just like anybody else," he said. "We’re moving people around getting depth in case he goes down during the year. That’s why he moved to the left side, in case our left guard goes down. It’s nothing other than for depth."