For Auburn football, real evaluation starts Monday with first fall camp scrimmage
AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn football went through five practices in its first week of fall camp. The Tigers worked two days in shorts, two days in shells and one day in full pads. It was enough for them to get back into the swing of things on the practice field.
But the first day of Week 2 will take things to a different level.
On Monday, the sixth practice session, the Tigers will have their first scrimmage of fall camp inside Jordan-Hare Stadium. And Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn won’t downplay the importance of the Monday practice at all.
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“Monday, that’s when we’ll really be able to evaluate at the highest level all positions once we get out to the stadium,” Malzahn said. “That’s what I just told them, ‘Hey, from a coaches’ standpoint, we go out to that stadium and it’s a scrimmage, it means more.'”
Auburn’s position battles all across the depth chart will get closer to their resolutions Monday on Pat Dye Field. The closed scrimmage will give the Tigers the opportunity to go offense versus defense in full game-like situations for the first time since the A-Day Game in April.
The spotlight will shine the brightest on quarterback, where Auburn will be able to evaluate the battle between the heavily favored Jarrett Stidham and returning starter Sean White at that “highest level.”
Malzahn and first-year offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey won’t let their quarterbacks get tackled during the scrimmage. They won’t say if they might name the starter shortly after the first scrimmage, either.
But what happens for the signal-callers in the bright orange non-contact jerseys will matter a lot to their coaches.
“It’s different (than past battles) because we have more information, like I said the other day, about those guys,” Malzahn said. “The scrimmages are going to mean something, there’s no doubt. They are important. They are important to every position, but I’m not ready to say anything as far as making decisions after the first scrimmage.”
Malzahn didn’t go into specifics about what will happen inside the closed-door scrimmage other than there will be “a lot” of plays in it. The head coach is set to speak with the media Monday evening following the scrimmage.
“I’m going to get with the coordinators tomorrow (and see) where we’re at,” Malzahn said. “It’s going to be a big one. We’re going to let everybody get their chance and show what they can do.”
Malzahn stressed the importance of the first practice to the freshmen who haven’t experienced one yet at Auburn.
A number of true freshmen — defensive tackle Alec Jackson, cornerback Travion Leonard and nickel Jordyn Peters — worked on the second-team defense Saturday afternoon. Fellow first-year players Noah Igbinoghene and Calvin Ashley have received reps in the rotations during the first week.
“Just told them to rest up their body and prepare, especially the young guys,” Malzahn said. “Just challenging the young guys to understand the young guys that really want to have a chance to help — scrimmages, we put them up a little bit of a notch from practice — we just challenged those guys.”