AUBURN, Ala. — Last week, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn provided a little insight into how Saturday's A-Day game will be formatted. On Tuesday, in his final meeting with reporters prior to this year's contest, he went a bit further.
According to Malzahn, the coaching staff was scheduled to sit down Thursday to divide the teams. (After Auburn's second spring scrimmage, Malzahn said the teams would be split the same way it has been done in the last two editions: the first-team offense and defense versus the No. 2 units on each side. Skill players will get a chance to change jerseys and play for both teams.)
As for the game itself, Malzahn said there will be two 12-minute quarters in the first half. The Tigers haven't decided how to structure the second half, though there is a possibility of having a running clock.
Special teams will play a part Saturday, but Malzahn said none of the units will be live. There are no such restrictions on the defense, as they will be able to blitz at will. Aside from divvying up the rosters, Thursday was also designated as decision day for how many reps each quarterback will receive. (The only thing Malzahn has revealed regarding his signal-callers is that the three players on scholarship — Jeremy Johnson, Sean White and early enrollee Tyler Queen — will all take snaps.)
Inclement weather has been in the forecast all week, though the chance of rain has continued to decrease as Saturday's 2 p.m. ET kickoff has drawn closer. Irrespective of what Mother Nature brings, Malzahn said his team will be ready.
"We’re going to play football," he said. "Play football, put the ball down, have fun with it and we expect our crowd to be there. ... We’re looking forward to it."
Though the Tigers have one more practice after the A-Day game concludes, Saturday gives the coaching staff a chance to evaluate their players in front of a crowd. This is doubly important for Auburn's less-established players, such as early enrollees, those coming off a redshirt year or those who are still trying to impress upon the coaches that they deserve to see the field more often this fall.
Malzahn can't wait.
"It’s very important, especially for those guys, because now it’s real for them," he said. "Those guys that (have) played just a little bit, this will be their first time to really play and really show what they can do. (We have) got a lot of guys competing for positions. We (have) got a lot of guys competing for spots next year as far as getting through with spring and (seeing) who we count on. It'll really be good for us."