Let’s get right to it. There was a limited bit of media availability this afternoon for the Auburn Tigers’ first practice leading up to kickoff of the 2017 season. We got plenty of images of both the offense and defense, and some tantalizing looks at different guys back on the field publicly for the first time in awhile.
Someone’s got a little bit of the emotional leadership about him, and it looks like good camaraderie with his teammates as practice begins.
There’s that hat again. Not sure it’s necessary inside, but he is the head coach after all.
Wide receivers need someone to step up this year, and Darius Slayton was a nice pickup out of high school who had really impressive tape. If he’s not a big contributor in Chip Lindsey’s passing attack, I’ll be surprised.
You can see that some people were quite excited about the start of fall practice.
Go ahead and check out some of the content on AL.com... you can see Jarrett Stidham throw some passes that even seem to have excellent zip with the slow-motion effect added to the video. If Stidham (and we’ll still count it as an “if” at this point instead of “when”) wins the starting QB job, Auburn fans should feel incredibly comfortable that they’ll have likely the best backup quarterback in the conference in Sean White. And if things go the other way around, with White winning the job, you’d have to say that Stidham would be the best backup in the league. Quarterback at the very least is a position with a bevy of talent this year.
Here are some other videos post-practice, courtesy of the Montgomery Advertiser:
First up, Tre Williams...
Then Austin Golson...
And more Stidham running some drills with the offense...
Other bullet points from the afternoon and Gus Malzahn’s post-practice presser include
Gus Malzahn said Auburn's first fall practice was split in half between older guys and younger guys. He liked the veterans' energy.— Justin Ferguson (@JFergusonAU) July 31, 2017
Auburn HC Gus Malzahn said Jason Smith "wanted" to move to safety this summer. Today was his first day there.— Justin Ferguson (@JFergusonAU) July 31, 2017
We knew that Jason Smith probably wasn’t in the running for much playing time at wide receiver this year, but it’s nice that he moved to DB, especially after...
Malzahn says DB Carlito Gonzalez didn't make it academically and will go to juco— Jason Caldwell (@ITATJason) July 31, 2017
Auburn’s defensive backfield took a hit with this news, but there should still be a nice corps of guys back there. They just can’t afford to take too many more hits.
As for the quarterback battle that we mentioned above, Malzahn gave a little more...
Malzahn said OC Chip Lindsey that QBs Stidham & White will be rotate by series in first few practices. "Who gives you best chance to win."— Matthew Stevens (@matthewcstevens) July 31, 2017
But who plays in front of those two guys won’t be known for a little while. It’s a good problem to have, with the depth on the offensive line and the number of starts among the guys up front. It’ll be especially nice with a guy like Golson at center and Casey Dunn backing him up. They’ve also got nice options with the FSU transfer Wilson Bell providing bulky depth (and maybe a nice starter) as well. To boot, Calvin Ashley (who endured a minor medical procedure last week) wasn’t limited at practice today at all, according to reports.
Malzahn would ideally have a better picture on the offensive line in about 2 weeks. Stay tuned.— Lauren Shute (@LShute13) July 31, 2017
Gus Malzahn discusses competition on offensive line pic.twitter.com/a7lS2T9Ezt— Jason Caldwell (@ITATJason) July 31, 2017
And finally, a note on a newcomer who may be a bit of a chameleon...
Sal Canella's versatility has stood out to Malzahn. Expect to see the lanky athlete in lots of spots this year.— Lauren Shute (@LShute13) July 31, 2017
If we can see some type of Lutzenkirchen/Uzomah-type production out of him, I think we’ll all be pretty pleased.
There wasn’t much news on the defense out of today’s practice. Malzahn talked about Tre Williams emerging as a true leader, but hopefully we’ll get more about the other side of the ball come tomorrow’s practice. We’ll get Kevin Steele tomorrow after practice, so he should give us some good nuggets about how things are going along the defensive line in trying to replace Lawson and Adams.
Stay tuned, much more coming as the week goes on!