A-Day is less than two weeks away, and Auburn is more than halfway through the 2014 edition of spring practice. At his post-practice presser on Tuesday, head coach Gus Malzahn shared with beat writers some injury information and announced an experimental move on the offensive line.
With Avery Young's move from right tackle to right guard earlier in the spring, Chad Slade, the Tigers' starting right guard in 2013, spent some time behind Alex Kozan at left guard on Tuesday. Malzahn told beat writers after practice that it's a move to build depth and versatility on the offensive line. On the defensive line, tackles Gabe Wright and Montravius Adams have received serious run at the end positions, which also fits into that depth/versatility theory, so Slade's move isn't a huge surprise. He's still competing with Young for the starting right guard spot, but it's pretty clear there's an embarrassment of riches on the O-line.
We don't say this often, but thanks, Gene Chizik. Those great offensive line recruiting classes are really paying off.
Speaking of depth on the defensive line, Malzahn mentioned that Elijah Daniel, who had been out with a groin injury, was back in action at end. DE Keymiya Harrell is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. Malzahn told reporters that the Tigers "are definitely thin" at the position. Tackle Tyler Nero once again did not participate in practice. He's been out since collapsing at practice a week and a half ago.
Malzahn said the focus of the practice was to correct some mistakes from Saturday's scrimmage, working on third-and-long and third-and-medium, and the "need to be more physical."
Ricardo Louis missed practice with an undisclosed "minor ailment." Hopefully, this isn't a case of Malzahn and his staff severely underplaying an injury to the public. They were notorious for that in their first year on the Plains. Fortunately, with guys like Sammie Coates, D'haquille Williams, Marcus Davis and Tony Stevens, Auburn has some pretty deep talent at receiver.
Cameron Toney has been working at outside linebacker, but Malzahn said "he's getting a lot of reps at inside linebacker." Again, here's to depth and versatility.
Robenson Therezie spoke to reporters after practice and said he's now able to field punts without issue, despite the cast for his broken left hand. He also said the team expects "a lot of big things" out of JUCO transfer safety Derrick Moncrief. Of all the new faces in the fall, Moncrief could have the biggest impact if he lives up to his spring hype.
All three running backs -- Cameron Artis-Payne, Corey Grant, Peyton Barber -- are still getting fairly equal reps. CAP with maybe the quote of the spring when speaking to the media Tuesday: "We haven't gotten any updates, so if you hear anything, let me know."
Want some video of Tuesday's practice and the after-presser? Auburn Athletics has you covered.