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Auburn Football Spring Practice 2017: Gus Malzahn Opening Press Conference 28 February 2017

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It's been two months since we had anything on the field to talk about. Now the Tigers are hitting the field for Spring Practice

Zach Bland / Auburn Athletics

Football is back! Gus Malzahn met with the media today prior to Auburn's first spring practice of the year. Did he have a lot of updates? You betcha he did.

Departures:

One of the first things Gus Malzahn did is go through who has departed the team. They are OL Deon Mix (graduate transfer), LB Cameron Toney (graduating), S Markell Boston (shown the door), and DB/LB Stephen Davis Jr (was on campus but not really a part of the team last fall).

Of those, I'd say the biggest blow is Deon Mix. His name was mentioned as a possibility to work his way onto the offensive line. Hopefully, he'll still follow Auburn Softball and give us his awesome reaction videos on Twitter. The others weren't exactly major contributors.

And, because I read the comments on a previous article, this is fairly normal attrition. Every program has it.

Injuries/Missing Time:

Kyle Davis is attending to "personal issues" and will be back after Spring Break.

Sean White will be very limited at best.

Jamel Dean and Jayvaughn Myers will not participate in spring practice due to the injuries they were dealing with in 2016 that led to them red shirting.

Darius Slayton had hernia surgery and is out at least for a little while.

Kenny Britt (early enrollee) has a leg issue.

Jauntavius Johnson is out for a reason I couldn't find.

We go into every spring with players injured that we didn't know about. Sometimes they're issues that needed to be taken care of last year, but they could - and did - wait for the off season. With Britt, it's not surprising that a player coming from high school may have had some issues that need to be addressed now that he has the resources of a university to help.

I really hope Kyle Davis' situation is nothing major. We really need him back this fall. He will be a killer weapon for the QB (whichever one wins the job).

The ones that hurt the most are Dean and Myers. Auburn needs to replace some key players in the defensive backfield, and both of them could be in line for a lot of playing time.

Back From Injury/Illness:

Welcome back Jeremiah Dinson! After the cheap shot block Ricky Seals-Jones put on him in the 2015 Texas A&M game, the DB is cleared to go.

Paul James III is cleared to go following his injury that ended his season early on last year.

In even better news, but Tashawn Manning and Brodarious Hamm have kicked cancer's ass and are cleared to play!

Other notes:

Don't expect a starting QB to be named this spring (no surprise there).

Chip Lindsey will make us more balanced and was brought in to update the passing game. Also things we suspected/knew already. Gus hit on his QB development abilities as a key reason for the hire, too.

Speaking of QBs, while John Franklin III will start at QB, Gus made it clear that there is the chance he'll move to a different position.

Austin Golson will be at Center this Spring. That's not surprising since Casey Dunn won't be on campus, yet, and you don't waste a player with experience like Golson's when you're trying to make sure everyone knows the basics. Why move someone who already is a rock at that position when you're trying to get the rest of the OL better?

Byron Cowart has definitely moved to Defensive Tackle. He may, though, still get some work at DE if needed.

Gus has three goals for the Spring:

1) Understanding the base offense and defense. Be very simple and instill the discipline and knowledge.

2) Find the strengths of the team in offense, defense, and special teams.

3) Everyone on the field gets better.