AUBURN, Ala. — Chip Lindsey plans on giving Auburn’s wide receivers plenty of chances to shine in the A-Day game on Saturday.
Lindsey, the Tigers’ new offensive coordinator, doesn’t have in mind an exact number of targets each player will get, but he has proved he’s not wary of throwing the football. Through Auburn’s first two scrimmages in Jordan-Hare Stadium, Lindsey has nearly evened out pass and run plays.
With memories of being on the Plains for Auburn’s 2013 A-Day game fresh in his mind, Lindsey understands his players’ rising excitement. He’s just as eager.
“It’s a whole new feeling when you get out in that stadium with these fans here at Auburn,” Lindsey said. “I know our players are excited about that and we’re excited to see them in a game atmosphere.”
Much like defensive coordinator Kevin Steele, Lindsey has seen a lot of what he was looking for this spring.
At quarterback, Jarrett Stidham, Woody Barrett, Malik Willis and a limited Sean White all progressed. Receivers and tight ends also caught his eye. Even as he transitioned and implemented a base offense, Lindsey feels good about what his offense has executed heading into the spring game.
“I like where our guys are right now,” Lindsey said. “On offense, we’re improving in each spot, which is important for this time of year … That’s been kind of our whole mission for this spring, was, ‘Hey, let’s improve each day.’ And when we’re done with spring ball be better in our base offense. I think we’ve done that all the way around.”
Now it’s time, at least to a certain point, to showcase what they’ve been working on.
“At the end of the day we really want them to go out Saturday and have some fun, man,” Lindsey said. “And play. Just let it hang out and see what happens.”
The weekend will be more fun for everyone if the playmaking Lindsey has seen at the Auburn Athletics Complex carries over to the stadium. With expectations of sound play from his quarterbacks, Lindsey is looking for his wide receivers to step into the spotlight, too.
“I want to see those young receivers, some guys, be desperate to get open,” Lindsey said. “That’s what I’m looking for. Not just run the route. Let’s be honest, it’s the SEC, it’s college football, the defense is pretty good too. I want guys that are desperate to get open, that are fighting, that it’s important to.”
Several Tigers already stood out to Lindsey. He rattled off names including Nate Craig-Myers, Darius Slayton, Will Hastings, Eli Stove and Ryan Davis during his final media conference of the spring.
With plans to use his tight ends more in 2017, Lindsey also has been pleased with Jalen Harris and junior college pickup Sal Cannella.
If what Lindsey saw at Auburn’s last practice before A-Day was any indication, he’ll see what he’s hoping to.
“I was really pleased with our guys. Our focus and our effort and energy and all that was really good,” Lindsey said. “And we challenged them to do that. Sometimes you come out the day before A-Day or you’re getting ready to play a game and the guys aren’t as focused and not as into it, I guess. We were in shells today, too. Really like how our guys came out and really had great enthusiasm and focus.”
A jam-packed Jordan-Hare will only enhance any plays Auburn’s wide receivers make.
“We’ve prepared to this point and we’ve been base offense and base defense, so now let’s go let them play. That’s really what we’re looking forward to. I want our guys to have some fun, man. I really do. I want it just to be a fun atmosphere. The first year I was here in 2013 we had a really big crowd and it was a lot of fun. That’s what I’m looking forward to seeing again Saturday.”
Auburn football’s 2017 A-Day spring game begins at 2 p.m. ET at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The game will air on the SEC Network and be available on WatchESPN.