AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn football opened its fifth fall camp under coach Gus Malzahn with some movement in key positions and an early look at its depth chart on offense.
One senior changed positions for the start of practices, while one true freshman wasn’t on the field at all Monday. The Tigers had rangy tight end Sal Cannella working exclusively at wide receiver — and he received reps with the first team.
Auburn opened camp in helmets and shorts. Full pads will come at the end of the week with a Saturday afternoon practice. The freshmen were split from the rest of the team, as Malzahn wants to work them into the fold as the early practices continue.
Here’s what you need to know from Auburn’s first day of fall camp, which opened with a 20-minute viewing window for media members.
A position change and an absence
- Senior wide receiver Jason Smith is now a defensive back. The former JUCO quarterback only had four receptions last season for the Tigers and didn’t figure to be a big part of the offense’s plans in 2017. He switched numbers from No. 4 to No. 25, and he was fully participating with the defensive backs in drills as the No. 4 safety, next to Nick Ruffin.
- Smith’s move could be a boost for Auburn at safety, as 2017 signee Carlito Gonzalez was not at practice Monday. Gonzalez was not on the roster given to media members before the start of camp. Gus Malzahn said earlier this month Gonzalez had “a class to finish” before his arrival. (Update: Gonzalez didn’t qualify at Auburn and will go to a JUCO this fall.)
What we saw
- Auburn showed off its first- and second-team offenses during a pace drill and a protection drill. Quarterback Jarrett Stidham was the first one out there for both drills, but Sean White rotated with Stidham among the two teams.
|WRs||Sal Cannella, Nate Craig-Myers and Eli Stove (slot)|
|WRs||Darius Slayton, Kyle Davis and John Franklin III (slot)|
|HBs||Spencer Nigh/Jalen Harris|
|LT||Prince Tega Wanogho|
|DTs||Dontavius Russell and Derrick Brown|
|LBs||Tre’ Williams and Darrell Williams|
|CBs||Carlton Davis and Javaris Davis|
|S||Tray Matthews and Stephen Roberts|
|DTs||Byron Cowart and Andrew Williams|
|BUCK||Paul James III|
|LBs||Deshaun Davis and Montavious Atkinson|
|CBs||Jamel Dean and John Broussard Jr.|
|S||Nick Ruffin and Jason Smith|
- All of Auburn’s true freshmen on offense and defense — including those who arrived on campus earlier in the spring — didn’t participate in drills during the viewing period. This is customary under Malzahn, who wants the early parts of fall camp to be a learning experience for the newcomers.
- Graduate transfer offensive linemen Wilson Bell and Casey Dunn were second-teamers.
- Sal Cannella was one of the first wide receivers on the field in drills. He worked exclusively with the wideouts when drills were split between the position groups.
- Marquel Harrell staying at left guard is a bit of an eye-opener. Mike Horton is the projected favorite to win a job outside of Auburn’s five seniors on the offensive line. If Wilson Bell stays at right guard, could Harrell beat out Horton for left guard? Keep an eye on this battle.
- Malik Miller was third and Kam Martin was fourth in the running back rotation. That’s how the Tigers entered the regular season in 2017, before Miller injured his knee against UL-Monroe.
- Kyle Davis lined up at the big slot position with the second team when the drill switched to a four-wide set. That would be an easy way to get Davis, Craig-Myers, Slayton and Stove on the field all at the same time this fall.
- True freshman JaTarvious Whitlow was with the running backs instead of the wide receivers during drills. He’s still listed as a receiver, but the Tigers worked with him at running back all summer long.
- Defensively, true freshman T.D. Moultry was with the linebackers during drills.
- Daniel Thomas was back at first-team nickel, with Jeremiah Dinson at second-team nickel. Thomas could also move to safety this fall, but Smith’s position change will keep things solidified at nickel.
- Most of the defense was the same from the spring, but with the exception of John Broussard Jr. at second-team cornerback opposite Jamel Dean. Marlon Character Jr. had those second-team reps in the spring before his abrupt departure.
- Ian Shannon and walk-on Aidan Marshall were at punter during the window. Daniel Carlson and Anders Carlson worked on kickoffs.
What we wrote
- Gus Malzahn, Auburn football excited about all that offensive depth
- Why Auburn football will decide its starting quarterback battle without tackling
- Auburn true freshman signee Carlito Gonzalez doesn’t qualify, will go to JUCO
- Senior defensive back Michael Sherwood to transfer from Auburn football
- Auburn football senior wide receiver Jason Smith changes positions
- No. 1 priority for Auburn football’s fall camp: Drawing the offensive, defensive lines
- Jarrett Stidham and 10 more Tigers to watch during Auburn football fall camp
What you can watch
Auburn’s offense going through an early pace drill:
Gus Malzahn’s full post-practice press conference:
Senior center Austin Golson after practice:
Senior linebacker Tre’ Williams after practice:
He said what? (Quote of the day)
“Like (Auburn linebacker coach Travis ‘T-Will’ Williams) says, ‘Don’t drink the Kool-aid.’ Don’t listen to everything everybody says, because you don’t know. They might say something good about you one day and turn on you the next, so you can’t really look at that stuff. You got to block it out and just play within the team.”
— Auburn linebacker Tre’ Willams on getting used to the hype surrounding the Tigers