Nick Coe is dealing with an undisclosed minor injury to open spring, but the defensive coaching staff isn’t worried about the lineman missing a few reps.
Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele revealed Coe spent the entire 2016 season working with the second team defense.
While most of the freshman Auburn planned on redshirting last season worked with the scout team, Coe rotated in as a backup defensive lineman at the buck position. He’s competing alongside Jeff Holland, Paul James III and Tre Threat for playing time at the spot this spring.
“The good thing about Nick and people don't realize it and we didn't mention it last year, but Nick practiced with us,” Steele said. “He practiced the game plan every week like he was playing. He basically got 70 percent of all the two reps.”
Coe’s veteran teammates pegged the defensive lineman as someone to keep an eye during the team’s practices for the Sugar Bowl.
Dontavius Russell and Montravius Adams both praised Coe’s strength and technique for a first-year player. Coe’s extensive wrestling background and size (6-foot-6, 255-pounds) helped him standout.
“I think Nick Coe going to be a great player,” Adams said. “I don’t know how to explain it, but I think Nick Coe is going to be a special player here at Auburn.”
Steele also made mention of Coe’s frame when discussing the redshirt freshman Thursday night.
“There's a reason that they fight featherweight and heavyweight,” Steele said.
Steele made Coe a priority on the recruiting trail after he accepted the job at Auburn last year. Coe didn’t have any second thoughts after the coaching change about his decision, but Steele went down to North Carolina to visit one of the state’s top pass rushers anyway.
Coe, who had offers from Florida State, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Alabama, came away from the meeting believing Steele was “in it to win it.”
The young defensive lineman could be part of that effort this season.