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Practice News & Notes: 8/12

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Auburn practice observations: Starting linebacker returns, backup receiver out, quarterback notes

Shedrick Jackson

Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics

Shedrick Jackson Auburn football practice on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 in Auburn, Ala. Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics

Auburn reconvened for its ninth practice of fall camp on Monday afternoon under the sweltering August sun. The media was granted a 40-minute viewing window toward the start of practice; it was the final viewing window for the media this preseason.

Auburn saw two injured players return to full speed on Monday, as starting linebacker K.J. Britt and freshman running back D.J. Williams were both in full uniform and out of the orange non-contact jerseys they had donned in recent practices.

 
The Tigers were also without sophomore receiver Shedrick Jackson, who was not out at practice due to an undisclosed injury. Gus Malzahn will meet with the media on Wednesday, and he is expected to address the injury at that time.

Here are some other notes and observations from Monday’s practice:

-- The following players were in orange non-contact jerseys: freshman receiver Jashawn Sheffield (undisclosed), junior defensive back Jordyn Peters (Achilles), freshman linebacker Kameron Brown (undisclosed), freshman tight end Luke Deal (ACL), freshman offensive lineman Keiondre Jones (undisclosed), freshman defensive lineman Jaren Handy (undisclosed) and sophomore defensive tackle Coynis Miller (shoulder).

-- Miller, Sheffield, Daquan Newkirk (Achilles) and Prince Michael Sammons (undisclosed) were all off to the side jogging during team drills. Newkirk and Sammons were not in uniform.

-- Freshman running back Mark-Antony Richards was also not in attendance. Richards underwent surgery on his right leg last week and is questionable for the opener against Oregon. Sophomore receiver Anthony Schwartz, who had hand surgery last week, was at practice with a cast on his left hand, though obviously not in uniform.

-- As for the quarterback competition, freshman Bo Nix took the first reps during nearly all of the drills that the media was able to watch, including an abbreviated pace period. Nix appeared to be the more accurate of the passers on Monday, as well.

Auburn offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham worked extensively with the quarterbacks during the 40-minute window, including accuracy (trying to hit targets from various distances and angles), footwork and handoff drills. Toward the end of practice, the quarterbacks were throwing to running backs and H-backs on various routes out of the backfield.

-- The first-team offense during the pace period saw Nix at quarterback, along with Harold Joiner at running back, Spencer Nigh at H-back, and Sal Cannella, Marquis McClain and Matthew Hill at the receiver spots. The offensive line, from left to right, was Prince Tega Wanogho, Marquel Harrell, Kaleb Kim, Mike Horton and Jack Driscoll.

-- The second-team offense saw Joey Gatewood at quarterback, with D.J. Williams at running back, John Samuel Shenker at H-back, and then Seth Williams, James Owens Moss and Tyler Fromm rounding out the receiving corps. The offensive line, from left to right, was Alec Jackson, Tashawn Manning, Nick Brahms, Jalil Irvin and Brodarious Hamm.

-- The first-team defense during the pace period had T.D. Moultry at Buck, Derrick Brown and Tyrone Truesdell at the tackle spots, and Marlon Davidson at defensive end. Chandler Wooten and Owen Pappoe were at linebacker, while the secondary had Javaris Davis and Noah Igbinoghene at cornerback, Christian Tutt at nickelback, and Jeremiah Dinson and Daniel Thomas at safety.

-- The second-team defense was a hodgepodge of walk-ons and rotational players. The defensive line consisted of Nick Coe, Big Kat Bryant, Peyton Nance and Gary Walker, while Zakoby McClain and Josh Marsh were at linebacker. Roger McCreary and Devin Guice lined up at corner, with Malcolm Askew at nickle, and Jamien Sherwood and Zion Puckett at safety.

-- Special teams notes: Anders Carlson connected on field goals of 38 and 49 yards during an early portion of practice. Christian Tutt, Matthew Hill and Javaris Davis all received punt return reps.

 

 

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Fall camp observations: Bo Nix handles first-team quarterback reps ahead of Joey Gatewood

AUBURN — The next time we'll see the Auburn football team on the field is Aug. 31 against Oregon.

Monday marked the final time media members would be allowed to view practice. The focus, as you might expect, was on the ongoing quarterback battle.

The Tigers will hold their second scrimmage of the fall Wednesday at Jordan-Hare Stadium and are set to officially conclude fall camp on Sunday, the day before classes start.

Here are some quick observations from approximately 40 minutes spent on the practice fields on Monday: 

Bo Nix led the way at quarterback

Auburn still hasn't named a starting quarterback. But if Monday's practice was any indication, it might at least have a leader for the job.

Offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham put four quarterbacks through a series of drills at the start of practice — footwork, handoffs, ball security and passes to all targets in all directions — and it all but one of those drills, it was the true freshman Bo Nix that received the first rep ahead of redshirt freshman Joey Gatewood and reserves Cord Sandberg and Wil Appleton.

One 40-minute window into practice doesn't decide a job, but Nix appeared to be the most accurate passer of the group.

 

A look at how Auburn lined up on offense, defense

Auburn ran only a few minutes of its 11-on-11 pace drill, but it did have a bit of a different look on the first-team offense.

Most notably, Harold Joiner got the first-team rep at running back next to Nix. Spencer Nigh was the H-back/tight end, and Marquis McClain (split end), Matthew Hill (flanker) and Sal Cannella (slot) were the wide receivers.

Gatewood quarterbacked the second-team offense with D.J. Williams at running back, Tyler Fromm at H-back/tight end. Seth Williams, John Samuel Shenker and James Owens Moss served as the wide receiver in a grouping that probably does not mean much in terms of the depth chart.

The second-team offensive line consisted of Alec Jackson, Tashawn Manning, Nick Brahms, Jalil Irvin and Brodarious Hamm from left to right.

The first-team defense lined up in a way consistent with the rest of fall camp: T.D. Moultry, Derrick Brown, Tyrone Truesdell and Marlon Davidson on the defensive line; Chandler Wooten and Owen Pappoe at linebacker; Noah Igbinoghene and Javaris Davis at corner; Christian Tutt at nickel; and Jeremiah Dinson and Daniel Thomas at safety.

Nick Coe played defensive tackle with the second-team defense, with Big Kat Bryant at Buck.

Injury roundup

— Running back D.J. Williams and linebacker K.J. Britt both traded the orange, non-contact jerseys they had been wearing for regular ones, indicating that they have been cleared for full contact.

— Players in orange, non-contact jerseys included: Wide receiver Jashawn Sheffield, tight end Luke Deal, offensive lineman Keiondre Jones, defensive linemen Coynis Miller Jr. and Jaren Handy, linebacker Kameron Brown and defensive back Jordyn Peters.

— Miller, Sheffield, defensive tackle Daquan Newkirk and offensive lineman Prince Michael Sammons stretched separately from the rest of the team.

— Wide receiver Shedrick Jackson did not appear to be present at practice.

— Wide receiver Anthony Schwartz was at practice but in street clothes as he recovers from a hand injury that required surgery last week.

New leader at punt return?

Senior Javaris Davis was the first punt returner on the field the last time Auburn allowed reporters into practice last Tuesday, but on Monday, it was sophomore Christian Tutt who got the first chance, followed by wide receiver Matthew Hill and Davis.

Tutt is the only one of those three players who has returned a punt during his collegiate career, averaging 13 yards over five attempts behind Ryan Davis last season.

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Barnacle said:

The difference between our options at QB1/2 and QB3/4 are...staggering. 

Appleton actually didn’t look too bad in the accuracy drills lol. I’d start him over Cord honestly 

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4 minutes ago, AuburnTiger4Life said:

Appleton actually didn’t look too bad in the accuracy drills lol. I’d start him over Cord honestly 

I wouldn't haha

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8 minutes ago, Barnacle said:

The difference between our options at QB1/2 and QB3/4 are...staggering. 

Well, since last year it was the apparent difference between the options at QB1 and QB2 thru 4, I'd say things are improving. :beer2:

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Just now, AUsince72 said:

Well, since last year it was the apparent difference between the options at QB1 and QB2 thru 4, I'd say things are improving. :beer2:

giphy.gif

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So from those in the know does it appear like Bo is pulling away as QB1? 

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It sure looked to me like Joey was throwing it as good if not better than Nix. Nix had at least 1 bad overthrow. I didn't see any of that from Gatewood

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2 minutes ago, Auburn2Eugene said:

It sure looked to me like Joey was throwing it as good if not better than Nix. Nix had at least 1 bad overthrow. I didn't see any of that from Gatewood

Well these guys watched it for 40 minutes and you just seen a 5 minute clip. I imagine their prognosis is based on the duration of practice . 

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Better video on QB's. Bo wasn't head and shoulders above Joey in anything I saw IMO. In the Target Practice drill, Bo was consistently overthrowing the target, especially when throwing to his left. 

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6 minutes ago, Auburn2Eugene said:

It sure looked to me like Joey was throwing it as good if not better than Nix. Nix had at least 1 bad overthrow. I didn't see any of that from Gatewood

Gatewood had a few underthrows, which is much more dangerous than an overthrow imo. Regardless I’m sure everyone that’s saying Bo is ahead of JG saw more than that one drill 

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You know it's funny, either under or over throwing could be more dangerous depending on your style of play. I feel like Bo overthrowing when he specializes in short-middle (which should result in a few safety picks) is just as dangerous as the deep ball guy (Joey) giving beat CBs a hand wrapped duck. Itd be great if they could switch their weaknesses 

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To me, the biggest takeaway you can see watching the two QBs in that drill are their footwork. Nix "throws from his toes". You don't see him getting flat footed, or sitting back on his right foot. Gatewood has a tendency to stand straight up on that right foot - although there are one or two throws where he is throwing in rhythm, so it makes me think that's something that Dilly is working on with him. From what I've gathered, footwork has been a big point of emphasis with all the quarterbacks, but I suspect that emphasis has been more for Gatewood's benefit. 

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“Auburn C Nick Brahms says he thinks Brodarious Hamm is a "natural" at tackle. He's been repping there this spring after starting out as a guard. Could be one of the next men up on the offensive line this fall.”

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45 minutes ago, AuburnTiger4Life said:

Gatewood had a few underthrows, which is much more dangerous than an overthrow imo. Regardless I’m sure everyone that’s saying Bo is ahead of JG saw more than that one drill 

Sorry it's nothing personal, but I just dont find this as true. Especially with a coach who despises turnovers... A low pass usually is an incomplete pass. Bad overthrows lead to a lot of interceptions. 

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