AUBURN, Ala. — Football season has officially begun on the Plains. The Tigers opened training camp in the indoor facility at the Auburn Athletics Complex on Wednesday afternoon, where major news broke during the the media viewing period.
The Tigers’ top returning running back Jovon Robinson, who rushed for 639 yards and three touchdowns last year, was not present for the first fall practice and coach Gus Malzahn said he’s been dismissed.
The Tigers also played host to a special guest on day one. Former Baylor quarterback Jarrett Stidham watched practice, speaking with Gus Malzahn throughout the viewing period. The 6-foot-3, dual-threat quarterback — who announced he would transfer from Baylor in July — was on an unofficial visit to Auburn.
Gus Malzahn addressed the media Wednesday evening:
- Opening comment: “Felt good about first day of practice overall.”
- On Jovon Robinson being dismissed from team: “Did not meet expectations of what it takes to be an Auburn Tiger.”
- “Anytime you have to dismiss a player, it’s tough as a coach. This is a team, and this year there will be no distractions, but you always feel bad when someone is dismissed.”
- QB news: Malzahn says freshman QB Woody Barrett is not in the group of three being considered for the starting quarterback role. “Nothing against him, we think he’s very talented, it’s just a matter of getting reps.”
- “I feel very good about where we’re at.”
- “Our leadership right now is as good as it’s been since I’ve been here. They have a chip on their shoulder and they have something to prove. I like our team and I like our leadership.”
- “Freshman are talented. We’re out there in helmets, and you can tell by the way they move around. In fact, there are guys who will help us this year.”
- “The veterans we have back are NFL players. They’re very motivated.”
- Briefly praises Illinois transfer T.J. Neal. “T.J. was flying around out there today. He’s going to help us this year.”
- Says Auburn staff is praying for former running back Tre Mason. “He’s a fine young man who is going through a tough time.”