AUBURN, Ala. — One of Auburn football’s top defenders for the 2017 season went down with an injury over the weekend, but his position coach says it wasn’t serious.
Sophomore defensive end Davidson suffered a non-contact knee injury last Saturday after falling during a defensive line “hoops drill,” according to Auburn assistant Rodney Garner. While Garner wasn’t sure of an exact timetable for Davidson’s return, he said the defensive end “should be fine.”
“You know, he’s got a little bruise,” Garner said Thursday morning. “It was a non-contact thing when we were going the hoops. He slipped, and it buckled a little bit. I think he’ll be fine.”
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn confirmed Monday that Davidson did not participate in the Tigers’ first scrimmage of fall camp. He also missed Tuesday’s practice, which was the last one with a viewing window for the media. Malzahn said Davidson would be out “a couple of days, probably” on Monday.
Garner said he expects both Davidson and junior defensive tackle Andrew Williams to “be back in the next week.”
Davidson will be a leader on the Auburn defensive line in 2017 as a returning starter. The Tigers must replace stars Carl Lawson and Montravius Adams, who are now in the NFL.
“Marlon is, by far, the alpha,” Garner said. “He does it vocally. He does by his play, performance-wise. He comes to work every day. He can take the chewing with the best of them whether he likes it or don’t like it. He usually responds the right way. His leadership skills are pretty impressive.”
While Garner doesn’t want to rush Davidson back onto the field too soon, he said his presence is extremely valuable at practice.
“We need Marlon out there because to me, all the thing that he brings to the table, those intangibles,” Garner said. “I do like that he’s been out there [on the sideline]. He’s encouraging. He’s leading. But I think it’s a little different now when you’re in the fire. When you’re sitting down on the sideline, them guys don’t really want to hear all that when you ain’t burning up with them.
“But we’ve got to be smart. He’s such an integral part of what we’re trying to accomplish.”
Davidson’s injury has brought one positive, though, for Garner and his defensive line.
Davidson’s reps in practice are now going to redshirt freshman defensive end Nick Coe. The Tigers have big plans for the 6-foot-5 Coe this fall, and any additional practice with the first team goes a long way for the North Carolina native.
“That’s been the real blessing,” Garner said. “I don’t think it could ever be a curse, but it’s been a real blessing for Nick, the volume he’s taken. Nick is a very, very, very talented young man like those other two. He’s really gifted.”