Update: April 9
Last season the cornerback play was not the best for Auburn. Josh Holsey was the best healthy coverage guy by the end of fall, and he was a true freshman.
The secondary finished with only one interception last year, and none came from the corners. That is expected to change after a shift in focus for the defense under Ellis Johnson.
Johnson told the media (via Montgomery Advertiser) that it was “amazing” there were no interceptions by the corners last year, and that “We have been extremely pleased with our cornerback play overall in the passing area this spring.”
Auburn fans are likely taking the wait and see approach to the results that are being talked about this spring, but any good news is a positive.
The Tigers took off Monday from practice to let the coaches digest and comb through film of the first few weeks of practice (via al.com).
Names of note so far this spring have been Justin Garrett at the “Star” position, and Jaylon Denson at receiver. Both have carried heavy praise and should head into fall as leaders on offense and defense.
The quarterback race is still wide open and will be until after the opening of fall camp. Nick Marshall will be a factor in the competition.
The biggest surprise that I have seen during limited film viewings of practice is Corey Grant. He is by far the most explosive running back on the Plains and will factor into the offense somehow this fall.
A once forgotten star in the Scot Loeffler offense should be a star in the Malzahn speed sweep.
Update: March 26
The Auburn Tigers are preparing to begin the first spring practice session under Gus Malzahn. The team has been pushing through its first winter workout session with new strength and conditioning coach Ryan Russell.
Gabe Wright spoke with the media about winter workouts and his words were "intense.” He went on to say that “He (coach Russell) puts our standards high and lifted all our goals, as a team, we feel comfortable with that” (via auburnsports.com).
Coach Malzahn continues to repeat it’s a new day, and it appears that the players are beginning to believe in that mantra.
One player that draws a lot of intrigue is rising senior fullback Jay Prosch.
Prosch is a transfer from Illinois that has stepped in and become a star for the Auburn Tigers at a very inconspicuous position. His strength and dedication in the weight room are what draws the most attention, but his devastating blocks on Saturdays are also watch closely.
There were questions as to where he would fit in the Malzahn offense, but Prosch cleared that up with the media last week.
He said, "It's just like a typical H-back, I'm going to be lined up behind the tackle running different plays, doing different things, blocking, spread out at some times, going out for passes.”
When asked what he thought about the move and the new year Prosch had this to say (via al.com):
I'm excited about it. I'm not really the kind of guy that's going to be like, oh, I have to do this or I have to do that. I'm more the kind of guy that's going to say, I want to play for you, tell me what you want me to do, and I'll do the best I can.
Think Eric Smith from 2009 and 2010. Prosch is a pure blocker, but he is athletic enough to make plays with the ball in his hands. It should be an interesting senior season to watch unfold.
Auburn’s practice schedule has also been released (via al.com) with a surprising amount of open media time every day. Here is a look at the schedule:
Wednesday. March 27: Practice open to media 8-8:30 a.m.
Friday, March 29: Practice open to media 8-8:30 a.m.
Saturday, March 30: Practice at Jordan-Hare Stadium, open to media 9:55-10:25 a.m.
Monday, April 1: Practice open to media 8-8:30 a.m.
Wednesday, April 3: Practice open to media 8-8:30 a.m.
Friday, April 5: Practice open to media 8-8:30 a.m.
Saturday, April 6: Practice at Jordan-Hare Stadium, open to media 9:55-10:25 a.m.
Monday, April 8: Practice open to media 8-8:30 a.m.
Wednesday, April 10: Practice open to media 8-8:30 a.m.
Friday, April 12: Practice open to media 8-8:30 a.m.
Saturday, April 13: Practice at Jordan-Hare Stadium, open to media 9:55-10:25 a.m
Monday, April 15: Practice open to media 8-8:30 a.m.
Wednesday, April 17: Practice open to media 8-8:30 a.m.
Friday, April 19: Practice open to media 8-8:30 a.m.
Saturday, April 20: A-Day, 1 p.m., Jordan-Hare Stadium
Check back for more updates as spring begins.