Benjamin Wolk/SEC Country
Auburn freshman wide receiver JaTarvious Whitlow might miss Week 1 due to injury.

Auburn football has ‘only 1’ injured player who may miss season opener

AUBURN, Ala. — The second week of fall practice for Auburn football featured injuries to several Tigers, including starting defensive end Marlon Davidson, junior defensive tackle Andrew Williams and 5-star freshman offensive tackle Calvin Ashley.

While those three missed Auburn’s second scrimmage with injury — along with several others who could be first-teamers this fall — coach Gus Malzahn said only one player is in jeopardy of missing the season opener in three weeks against Georgia Southern.

Freshman JaTarvious Whitlow, who signed with Auburn as a receiver but has worked at running back in fall camp, could be out Week 1 because of an ankle injury.

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“You know, Whitlow is the only one, he had that ankle issue this week, he’s the only guy that might have a chance at not being ready for the first game,” Malzahn said Saturday. “Everybody else will be ready for the first game.”

Whitlow, who signed with Auburn from nearby LaFayette, Ala., in a surprise move, moved to running back from wide receiver in summer workouts. He was a dual-threat quarterback in high school and has a chance to contribute on special teams in 2017.

The rest of Auburn’s players, though, should be ready for Georgia Southern — with Davidson being the headliner.

Auburn football-Auburn Tigers-Auburn-Marlon Davidson-Andrew Williams
Auburn defensive linemen Marlon Davidson (left) and Andrew Williams did not participate in the team’s scrimmage Saturday. (Benjamin Wolk/SEC Country)

Davidson suffered a non-contact injury to his left knee last Saturday in practice. The sophomore defensive end missed Auburn’s first scrimmage Monday as well.

Defensive line coach Rodney Garner said Thursday that he wants to get Davidson back on the field soon, but the staff wants to be smart about his return.

“We need Marlon out there because to me, all the things that he brings to the table, those intangibles,” Garner said. “I do like that he’s been out there. He’s encouraging. He’s leading. But I think it’s a little different now when you’re in the fire. … He’s such an integral part of what we’re trying to accomplish.”

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Auburn held out several players from the second scrimmage Saturday “by design,” according to Malzahn. Sophomore wide receiver Kyle Davis, senior safety Tray Matthews and sophomore defensive back Daniel Thomas were among those who didn’t participate.

Thomas was seen with a cast on his left arm at Auburn’s picture day Thursday, but the undisclosed injury won’t jeopardize his status for Week 1.

“We’ve been getting after it [in camp],” Malzahn said Saturday. “It’s been very physical, and that’s been by design, too. And you’re going to have guys banged up from time to time. You’ll have a couple of guys you want to hold out just to get them healed up.”