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Auburn offers extended look at team in return to practice field

Video: Auburn WR Tony Stevens already sees new teammate John Franklin III as leader

Auburn wide receiver Tony Stevens explained on Tuesday, March 22, 2016 how a text from transfer quarterback John Franklin III helped the new Tiger establish himself as leader for the offense right after stepping on campus.
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Auburn wide receiver Tony Stevens explained on Tuesday, March 22, 2016 how a text from transfer quarterback John Franklin III helped the new Tiger establish himself as leader for the offense right after stepping on campus.

Auburn offered a glimpse behind the curtain for a second time this spring.

The typically secretive coach Gus Malzahn allowed the media to watch an extended portion (two full periods) of Tuesday’s practice.

It was Auburn’s first time on the practice field at the university’s athletic complex after an extended 11-day layoff for spring break.

Following special teams work, the offense faced off against the defense in 11 on 11 drills with the first, second and third teams running a series of plays against each other.

The depth charts were similar to those Auburn used during the previous media viewing period with a few notable exceptions.

First team offense QB - Jeremy Johnson RB - Jovon Robinson FB - Chandler Cox WR – Ryan Davis LT – Robert Leff LG – Braden Smith C – Xavier Dampeer RG – Alex Kozan RT – Austin Golson WR – Tony Stevens TE – Jalen HarrisFirst team defense DE - Carl Lawson DT - Dontavius Russell DT - Montravius Adams DE - Byron Cowart LB – Tre Williams LB – Darrell Williams DB – John Broussard Jr. DB – Jamel Dean S – Stephen Roberts S – Nick Ruffin Nickel – Tim Irvin

Auburn’s starting center last year Austin Golson lined up at right tackle replacing Darius James with Xavier Dampeer at center. James played at left tackle on the second team offense.

Golson is one of a handful of projected starters taking reps at multiple positions to build up depth across the line.

“He played a little tackle and a little center too,” Malzahn said. “Spring is always a good time to mix and match. Of course, the older guys you have a little more information about that has actually started and played. You’re always thinking about developing depth. Austin did play some tackle and he’ll also play center.”

Auburn had Jeremy Johnson at quarterback with the first team and Jovon Robinson in the backfield. Robinson and Roc Thomas continue to split time with the first team offense.

The first team defense looked different than it did with two weeks ago with Darrell Williams in at linebacker for Raashed Kennion. John Broussard Jr. and Jamel Dean replaced Javaris Davis and Carlton Davis at defensive back.

Dean sat out last year after transferring from Ohio State.

“He has a lot of talent,” Malzahn said. “He can run. He's a physical guy. He really caught our attention in bowl practice when we did some scrimmaging and he's carried it over into spring. Coach McGriff, I know is pleased with him right now.”

Returning starter Carlton Davis made one of the standout individual plays of the period for the second team defense breaking up a pass intended for Jason Smith.

Quarterback Sean White tried to hit Smith 40 yards down the sideline, but Davis contested the jump ball.

The incompletion was one of only two pass attempts during the 11 on 11 session. The run-orientated play calling continued throughout the rest of Auburn’s sixth practice.

“Once we started to go live, it was a little bit more run oriented,” Malzahn said. “That was by design. Overall, I like where we're at. We'll see how spring progresses. The scrimmages usually tell you a little bit more than a regular practice. All the guys are doing a solid job so far.”

Malzahn is planning to have Auburn scrimmage on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Notes

  • Safety Rudy Ford practiced this spring for the first time. The coaches said Ford missed the first two weeks with an undisclosed illness. Coach Malzahn praised the veteran defender’s experience and leadership. “When you get a guy like that back on one side of the football it helps in all areas,” Malzahn said.
  • Defensive back Josh Holsey also practiced for the first time this spring Tuesday. Holsey tore his ACL in week two against Jacksonville State. “With his leadership, his experience, his wisdom, the time that he spent with us was definitely a big deal for us to see him back out there practicing (and) going through drills with us,” Auburn defensive back Nick Ruffin said. “It was a good feeling to have him there with us, even if he wasn't scrimmaging. It was still a good feeling.”
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