Auburn spring football 2013: Offensive depth chart entering summer

Todd Van Emst photo

How's the Auburn offense looking after spring practice?

Spring football has come and gone, which means we've entered the long, football-less doldrums. Gus Malzahn and Rhett Lashlee worked to install their hurry-up, no-huddle offense over the last few weeks, and there are definitely some positions that have progressed faster than others. Who's on track to earn starting roles against Washington State in Week 1?

Quarterback

Player A-Day statistics
Jonathan Wallace 18-of-24, 191 yards, 2 TDs, 1 interception
Kiehl Frazier 10-of-16, 125 yards, 1 TD, 0 interceptions

Going into the spring there was some hope that Kiehl Frazier would have really show improvement. He was awful in 2012, but the idea of a player with as much raw talent as Frazier getting a shot to run the offense he's been groomed to run was pretty exciting. Throughout spring practice, coaches' quotes and media reports indicated that Frazier and Jonathan Wallace were neck and neck, and on A-Day, Wallace, even though he didn't look great, appeared to be further along. Frazier showed signs of hesitation on some throws -- his biggest issue in 2012 -- and his accuracy on deeper passes wasn't great. Wallace didn't look a whole lot better, but he was probably a little more accurate and made quicker decisions. Although, he did have one bad interception and whiffed on a shotgun snap. Let's hope one of these two really improve in the fall, or Nick Marshall or Jeremy Johnson come in and impress the coaches.

Quote of the spring

"They both did good and bad. It's just a matter of continuing to get better with our consistency throwing the football. That's the No. 1 thing. I think they have a pretty good grasp of what we're trying to do, but it's now being able to play fast knowing what to do. It's one thing to know it on the board and walkthroughs and practice and then when the bullets are flying operating fast and making good decisions and being accurate.

"There's not a lot of separation coming out of spring at this point. They both have things they do well and that can help us win." - Rhett Lashlee

Running back

Player A-Day statistics
Tre Mason 11 carries, 60 yards, 1 TD
Cameron Artis-Payne 18 carries, 117 yards, 1 TD
Corey Grant Did not play

Tre Mason is the returning starter and was one of the few -- perhaps the only -- bright spots on the 2012 offense. For that reason, he'll probably get the No. 1 slot at the beginning of the season. But make no mistake, Cameron Artis-Payne's time is coming. In addition to his rushing yards on A-Day, he caught two passes for 47 yards. At 5'11 and 208 pounds, Artis-Payne has the best size of any back on the roster, and his speed isn't bad, either. It shouldn't be long before he's getting the bulk of the inside carries. With that in mind, Mason will probably take most of the outside, a la Onterio McCalebb, but he'll likely get some on the inside, too. Corey Grant's workload should be mostly limited to outside runs.

Quote of the spring

"We're a team. We don't think about that (who will win the starting job), we encourage each other. We're not worried about that." - Cameron Artis-Payne

Wide receiver

Player A-Day stats Player A-Day stats Player A-Day stats
Ricardo Louis 8 catches, 66 yards, 0 TDs Quan Bray 5 catches, 18 yards, 0 TDs Sammie Coates 4 catches, 84 yards, 0 TDs
Melvin Ray Did not play Trovon Reed 3 catches, 24 yards, 1 TD Jaylon Denson 2 catches, 18 yards, 0 TDs

Aside from quarterback, the wide receiver position was the biggest issue for Auburn on offense in 2012. Unless some players take big steps forward, that could be the case in 2013, too. Jaylon Denson has probably received the most praise of any wideout this spring, but Sammie Coates brings much more of a big-play threat, something Malzahn wants in his attack. Quan Bray has a lot to prove, but Trovon Reed has even more, and its hard to see the latter finally breaking out this year. Denson and Reed have probably received more first-team snaps this spring, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see Coates and Bray come out on top after fall camp. Ricardo Louis is probably the only receiver who has locked up a starting spot.

Quote of the spring

"This offense is made for each wide receiver to make plays. We're looking forward to making all the plays we can as a team and as a wide receiver group because we've got the best wide receivers group, I think, around." - Sammie Coates

Tight end/H-back

Player A-Day stats Player A-Day stats
Brandon Fulse 1 catch, 17 yards, 1 TD Jay Prosch None
C.J. Uzomah 1 catch, 20 yards, 0 TDs Patrick Young None

For the first time since 2008, Auburn will go into a football season without Philip Lutzenkirchen. Lutzie is gone, but Brandon Fulse should be able to take over and excel at tight end. He brings solid blocking ability and size -- 6'4, 264 pounds -- and as he showed on A-Day, he's capable of getting open in space and making a big play. At H-back, Jay Prosch is the man. He was an All-American fullback at Illinois in 2011, and he should play a big role in opening up holes for Auburn's running backs.

Quote of the spring

"You'd like for the H-back to play fullback, play tight end, can spread out and catch the ball. And those guys are really hard to find, but I think with C.J., and with Brandon Fulse, Ricky Parks, they're those type guys, and they're going to have a chance to do those things. Jay Prosch brings a different dimension to the game in the sense that we really feel like he's a big-time blocker. But he's also a guy that can catch the ball, so he can do a lot of in-the-box stuff for us, but also do things on the edge as well." -- Scott Fountain

Offensive line

Left tackle Left guard Center Right guard Right tackle
Greg Robinson Alex Kozan Reese Dismukes Chad Slade Patrick Miller
Shon Coleman Devonte Danzey Tunde Fariyike Jordan Diamond Avery Young

If Auburn can't run the ball in 2013, something will have gone terribly wrong. In addition to the solid duo of Mason and Artis-Payne, the Tigers bring back an offensive line that's loaded with talent and experience. Greg Robinson, Reese Dismukes and Chad Slade should have the starting left tackle, center and right guard spots. Left guard appears to be totally up in the air, and it wouldn't be a huge surprise to see Alex Kozan, Devonte Danzey or Jordan Diamond claim the starting job. Avery Young had a starting job at the beginning of last season, but injuries allowed Patrick Miller to take over. While Miller struggled at times, Young hasn't been able to win the job back this spring. Hopefully, he can do that in the fall.

Quote of the spring

"Coach Malzahn talked about it before, being a leader. I think it's my time to step up. I should've been considering it, but I feel like I can lead more because ... my work ethic is really good. I feel like if I work, others will follow." - Greg Robinson

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