The first week of practice is in the books for the Auburn football team. Coach Gus Malzahn’s program got the jump on most SEC schools by starting spring practice more than a week earlier than he has in past seasons.
Auburn will be on the practice field two more times before taking a week off for spring break.
Here’s a recap of the week…
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Malzahn announced a list of roster updates on Tuesday starting with ruling running back Kerryon Johnson (shoulder), safety Tray Matthews (shoulder) and Jeremiah Dinson (various) out for spring practice.
Auburn’s coach also confirmed tight end Chris Laye and linebacker Javiere Mitchell are no longer with the program for the 2016 season. Mitchell’s surprise departure hurts the Tigers’ depth at a position that’s already thin on experience.
Auburn detailed its full coaching staff for 2016 before the first spring practice. Malzahn announced four new graduate assistants including former Central quarterback Jonathan Wallace and six analysts.
New Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele is building his defense on the foundation of his predecessor Will Muschamp’s scheme. Steele is hoping the continuity will help players adjust to yet another new defensive coaching staff.
Position by position
- Linebackers — Tre Williams wants to take ownership of the defense. Williams talked about his expanded role on Tuesday and how he’s embracing the responsibility of being a leader and impact player.
- Defensive line — Montravius Adams didn’t make any high-profile announcement he was returning for his senior season in January. Adams just enrolled in classes and got back to work. The defensive tackle explained his decision Tuesday and how it tied to Carl Lawson also returning to school.
- Quarterback — Auburn coach Gus Malzahn wants to create some separation in the quarterback competition with the four contenders by going full contact later this spring. The Tigers early helmet only practices won’t provide the coaching staff with any answers.
- Offensive line — Tackles Robert Leff and Darius James are early candidates to replace Shon Coleman and Avery Young, but filling those vacancies aren’t the only goals new line coach Herb Hand has this spring.
Bits and pieces
Rudy Ford sat out Auburn’s first week of practice due to illness…Paul James III missed the first week dealing with a “medical issue” according to Kevin Steele…fullback Kamryn Pettway is getting carries at traditional tailback spot …quarterback Tyler Queen is on a pitch count this spring of 50 throws a practice as he recovers from shoulder surgery…Auburn’s new theme for this spring is “earn it”