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Gus Malzahn Opens Spring Practice With a Press Conference

Gus Malzahn met with the media today prior to beginning the 2016 Spring Practice schedule. All credit to the beat writers who were there.

Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Gus dropped some interesting info in his first meeting with the press for 2016's football season. He updated the status of Chris Laye (confirmed that he's left the team) and also announced that JaViere Mitchell has received his degree and will not be a part of the team. Mitchell, as a linebacker, is a big loss just for depth. Rivals noted that Montavious Atkinson will move up from the defensive backfield and compete for a linebacker spot. I think that's a place he can do well.

On the injury front, Tray Matthews is really the only surprise. Kerryon Johnson's surgery was announced weeks ago, so we figured he would miss spring. I also doubt anyone thought for a moment that Jeremiah Dinson would be ready to go so soon after that vicious hit against Texas A&M.

The possibility of the QBs going live intrigues me. Sure, there's an injury worry, but it's also good for them to get at least a little bit of contact. It can definitely help reduce the shock of those first hits of the season, and Auburn's QBs need to be ready for that against Clemson.

I'm not sure the announcement that Cox and Pettway could get a look at running back in some situations was surprising. I seem to remember talk about Pettway getting time there came out a while back. They've got the bodies to be that big, bruising back. It would also allow for some very heavy sets with Landon Rice in at TE.

In terms of the coaches, I think you see exactly why Steele was Malzahn's choice in his comments that the base foundation will be much the same. Continuity is something the defensive side of the ball desperately needed with the turnover from the last few seasons. I'm curious exactly what the "Bandit" position will be that he says Steele will coach is. I also love the self-deprecating humor about Herb Hand having a personality while Malzahn doesn't.

On the last tweet, I'm glad Malzahn is taking the stance that he's not going to get involved in commenting too much on the situation.

So, that's it for Malzahn's first meeting with the press. Spring Practice 2016 is underway. Hopefully, we'll be able to round out some video, observations, etc from all of the beat writers and collect it for you here whenever that stuff comes out.

War Eagle! There's football happening on the Plains!