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All Things Fall Camp Thread


toddc
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I thought we could use a dedicated thread for fall camp so we don’t have a hundred different articles to keep up with. 
Might not work but it’s worth a shot.

 

https://247sports.com/college/auburn/Article/Auburns-Bryan-Harsin-is-heading-into-his-second-year-with-the-Tigers-190977571/

FULL Video linked above!

 

Quick Quotes: Bryan Harsin opens preseason camp at Auburn

AUBURN, Alabama — Football is back on the Plains, as the Tigers are set to open preseason camp Friday. Players reported to campus for meetings Thursday.

Bryan Harsin is set to meet with reporters at 3:15 p.m. CST to preview the start of camp.

Follow along here for live updates.

• Veterans will kick off practice tomorrow morning around 10:25. Rookies and newcomers don't start until the evening. They'll blend practice after the first few days.

• "It's called training camp for a reason," Harsin says after rattling off the rigorous itinerary for the team every day.

• Says he's excited for "talking season" to be over. "That's what's great about getting out there and playing — you get to settle the score."

• On the roster: "Most spots are open for competition. ... Everybody on this team is going to help us win."

• Seniors are heading to Bryan Harsin's house tonight. Former Auburn running back Ronnie Brown will be there, too.

• The plan for Auburn's quarterbacks is "ironed out." Says all four scholarship QBs should receive first-team reps throughout the preseason.

• On NIL: Says it's tough to get a grasp on the current layout of the NIL space because of the lack of regulations and a clear "market." Harsin does add, though, that donors and boosters around town have "done a lot" to help.

 Says junior DB Donovan Kaufman is one of the top leaders on the defense. Defensive coordinator Jeff Schmedding praised Kaufman earlier in the day.

• Harsin confirms Jeremiah Wright is moving back from offensive line to defensive line.

 On T.J. Finley's arrest: "He was here. He'll be here tonight. He'll practice tomorrow. We're aware of what's going on."

• Linebacker Eugene Asante, a UNC transfer, missed time in the spring after the passing of his father, per Harsin. Asante most notably was not present at the spring game.

• Harsin adds to the offseason praise for senior offensive guard Kam Stutts since the spring.

4COMMENTS

• On an improvement in physicality from summer workouts: "If you physically can't whoop somebody, it's hard to go out there and have confidence."

• Harsin doubles down on the improvement of redshirt freshman receiver Tar'Varish Dawson.

Edited by toddc
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Auburn preseason preview: 7 position battles to watch

19 hours ago

Late Kick Blitz: Making the case for Auburn to go over their win total

It’s finally time for football again on the Plains.

Auburn opens Year 2 of preseason practices under Bryan Harsin on Friday, with players reporting to campus for meetings with their coaches the day prior. The Tigers will have had nearly two weeks of break time before they report to the facility for evaluations, then begin preparations in earnest for Auburn’s season opener against Mercer on Sept. 3.

It’s been a long, sometimes tedious offseason, with the same external narratives repeating themselves about Harsin’s program. But within those walls, players and coaches alike have been highly optimistic about the summer work being done in Jeff Pitman’s strength program, and in player-only practice sessions.

“They’ve done a good job of doing everything we’ve asked them to do,” Harsin said at SEC media days. “From the workouts with Coach Pitman and his staff, they’ve done a great job there. I would say this team, they enjoy the weight room, they enjoy the work and the running. They wouldn’t say that, but I think they really do so they enjoy the conditioning piece.

“As far as the football piece goes, there’s just a lot more focus on actually preparing themselves to be ready to go in fall camp.”

Harsin is also pleased by the health of his team, which was a shell of itself in the spring due to injuries to several starters, but now enters preseason practices with no significant injuries to speak of. 

Auburn Undercover will spend the days leading up to camp looking deeper at the Tigers and hovering a microscope over the program’s summer workouts, newcomers, position battles, general players to watch and more.

Up next: breaking down the position battles on the roster and identifying who might have the early edge in fall camp. Some battles will be for outward starting roles, while others will need to be penciled in as Week 1 "starters" at some point but are surrounded by other depth pieces who will rotate in.

STARTING SAFETY

2021 starter: Smoke Monday

Contenders: Craig McDonald, Caleb Wooden, Cayden Bridges

Experience: With Monday and starting-adjacent contributor Bydarrius Knightenboth off to the NFL, redshirt junior Zion Puckett serves as the lone returning piece at safety. Assuming Donovan Kaufman will stay locked down at the nickel spot, Puckett, now healthy after being nagged by a couple injuries last year, is the only player on the roster with experience playing on Auburn’s defense at the safety position. McDonald may be the favorite to start alongside him, considering his 17 games of experience at Iowa State, but Wooden in particular had a monster spring for a true freshman. Bridges, a former South Alabama commit, played only on special teams last year but possesses standout athleticism and strength.

Spring practice report: As mentioned, Wooden may have had the best spring of any defensive player on the roster while Puckett was sidelined with his shoulder injury. He and Bridges commanded the first-team reps at safety, while JUCO transfer Marquise Gilbert worked on the second team. McDonald had 41 tackles and two picks last year for the Cyclones and didn’t arrive on the Plains until this summer.

LINEBACKER ROTATION

2021 starter(s): Zakoby McClain (NFL), Chandler Wooten (NFL), Owen Pappoe

Contenders: Cam Riley, Wesley Steiner, Eugene Asante

Experience: For what’s one of the biggest question marks in terms of defensive position groups for Auburn in 2022, Pappoe appeared in only five games last season after an early season injury. So Wooten became a starter, racking up 189 combined tackles alongside McClain. That’s a ton of production to replace, though Pappoe’s decision to return for his senior season took a massive load off of Jeff Schmedding’s defense. Still, there isn’t much in the way of proven production behind Pappoe: Steiner and Riley combined for 35 tackles last season, while Asante, a UNC transfer, was a rotational piece in 2021, too. 

Spring practice report: With Pappoe sidelined for all of spring, it was Riley and Steiner who took the majority of first-team reps — with the 6-foot-5 Riley earning defensive MVP honors at the spring game. Asante rotated in plenty, as well. Redshirt sophomore Desmond Tisdol and four-star true freshman Robert Woodyard, the highest-rated signee in the team’s 2022 class, likely shouldn’t be counted out for rotational roles, either.

STARTING NOSE TACKLE

2021 starter: Tony Fair (NFL)

Contenders: Jayson Jones, Marquis Burks

Experience: Burks got off to an explosive start in 2021, with 3.5 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles across Auburn’s first three games. He can play a couple different spots along the interior defensive front, but at 6-foot-3 and 302 pounds, he can certainly anchor things at nose. There's not an overwhelming amount of production on tape from Jones’ two seasons at Oregon, but he is a high-potential, former four-star prospect from Alabama who stands at a menacing 6-foot-6 and 328 pounds. Jeremiah Wright, a standout player at nose tackle in spring 2021 before his torn ACL, is also expected to move back to defense after shifting to the offensive line, but it could take him some time to get readjusted.

Spring practice report: Burks was the spring starter at nose tackle before a minor injury ultimately held him out of the final couple weeks, during which Jones slid in and grabbed first-team reps. In all likelihood, D-line coach Jimmy Brumbaughwill utilize a couple of capable bodies in the middle of his unit, and it may not matter who gets labeled as the starter come Week 1.

STARTING RIGHT TACKLE

2021 starter: Brodarious Hamm (NFL)

Contenders: Austin Troxell, Alec Jackson

Experience: Troxell, a sixth-year senior, was Auburn’s starter last season at left tackle, though he has several games of starting experience in the past on the right side, too. Similarly, going back to the 2020 season, Jackson was Auburn’s starting left tackle before Troxell, but he ended up as the backup left guard last year. With former JUCO product Kilian Zierer seeming to lock up the left tackle spot in the spring, the question will be which of these two veterans will emerge along the right side — either as the immediate starter in Week 1, or after rotating for several weeks, which Harsin and offensive line coach Will Friend have shown they’re very comfortable doing.

Spring practice report: Jackson was the first-teamer in spring practices, as Troxell recovered from an injury sustained late last season. Senior and former JUCO transfer Brenden Coffey saw time with the second-teamers.

STARTING LEFT GUARD

2021 starter: Brandon Council

Contenders: Brandon Council, Kam Stutts

Experience: A former Akron transfer who last year returned from a serious knee injury, Council started seven games for Auburn in 2021 at left guard. An undisclosed injury limited his playing time over the final month of the season, and Jackson took over at left guard. Stutts, a senior, has appeared in 25 games over four seasons but has yet to log a start.

Spring practice: While on paper it may seem as though Council should easily reprise his starting role, Stutts was impressive in spring practices while Council was sidelined while recovering. More than a month of first-team reps at left guard had Stutts’ teammates and coaches singing high praises, and that buzz has continued into what’s apparently been a strong summer, too. Council is expected to be 100% for the start of fall camp and should be defaulted the first-team reps to start, but don’t be surprised if Stutts continues to make things interesting.

WIDE RECEIVER ROTATION

2021 starter(s): Kobe Hudson (transferred to UCF), Shedrick Jackson, Demetris Robertson (NFL)

Contenders: Shedrick Jackson, Ja'Varrius Johnson, Koy Moore, Malcolm Johnson Jr., Ze'Vian Capers, Landen King, Tar'Varish Dawson

Experience: Jackson is the roster’s top returning pass-catcher, but he’s about the only sure thing for the Tigers’ receiving corps in 2022. Johnson is electric when he gets the ball in space, leading the team in yards-per-touch last season, but he’s been nagged by injuries for the past couple seasons. Should he be healthy this preseason, he can probably lock up a starting job at the flanker position. After that, there’s a host of possibilities for how the rotation could play out. Moore, who came on strong for LSU in 2020 but transferred midseason last year, has been talked up a ton this offseason in summer workouts. Johnson Jr., one of the fastest players on the roster, has shown flashes as a former high-end recruit. Then there’s King, who emerged last season as a big-bodied target — 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds — before officially making the switch from tight end to wide receiver.

Spring practice report: Johnson dealt with an injury in the spring, and what was a relatively thin position group gave plenty of opportunities across the board. Jackson was a reliable veteran, and Johnson Jr. settled in with the first team. True freshman Jay Fairgot plenty of reps, too, and the Tigers are also bringing in two other freshmen for the fall: Omari Kelly and Camden Brown.

STARTING QUARTERBACK

2021 starter: Bo Nix (transferred to Oregon)

Contenders: T.J. Finley, Robby Ashford, Zach Calzada

Experience: Couldn’t forget about this one, right? For the first time since 2019, Auburn has to break in a new starter under center, after Nix opted to transfer to Pac-12 country after starting every game at QB over the past three seasons. Finley took over late last season after Nix’s season-ending injury, completing 55.8% of his passes across three starts, including four touchdowns and one pick (5.8 yards per attempt). Ashford, a former four-star Auburn recruiting target from Hoover, didn’t take a snap in two seasons at Oregon. Then there’s the presumed favorite, Calzada, who started 10 games in Aggieland last season, with a 57.8% completion percentage (6.9 YPA), 16 touchdowns and nine picks. Per Pro Football Focus, Calzada finished as the eighth-highest rated staring quarterback in the SEC; Nix was No. 10.

Spring practice report: As has been well documented, it was, ironically, a shoulder injury suffered in the win over Auburn last season that kept Calzada out of spring practice in his first few months with his new team. Finley was given first-team reps exclusively but didn’t seem to create much separation, and it was ultimately Ashford who won offensive MVP at A-Day, working with the second-team offense against the starters on defense. Calzada has been fully healthy since around early June, though it won’t be surprising if Finley starts out with the first-teamers for the opening week or so of fall camp.

 

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Auburn preseason preview: 5 players with something to prove in camp

102 minutes ago

Late Kick Blitz: Making the case for Auburn to go over their win total

It’s finally time for football again on the Plains.

Auburn opens Year 2 of preseason practices under Bryan Harsin on Friday, with players reporting to campus for meetings with their coaches the day prior. The Tigers will have had nearly two weeks of break time before they report to the facility for evaluations, then begin preparations in earnest for Auburn’s season opener against Mercer on Sept. 3.

It’s been a long, sometimes tedious offseason, with the same external narratives repeating themselves about Harsin’s program. But within those walls, players and coaches alike have been highly optimistic about the summer work being done in Jeff Pitman’s strength program, and in player-only practice sessions.

“They’ve done a good job of doing everything we’ve asked them to do,” Harsin said at SEC media days. “From the workouts with Coach Pitman and his staff, they’ve done a great job there. I would say this team, they enjoy the weight room, they enjoy the work and the running. They wouldn’t say that, but I think they really do so they enjoy the conditioning piece.

“As far as the football piece goes, there’s just a lot more focus on actually preparing themselves to be ready to go in fall camp.”

Harsin is also pleased by the health of his team, which was a shell of itself in the spring due to injuries to several starters, but now enters preseason practices with no significant injuries to speak of. 

Auburn Undercover will spend the days leading up to camp looking deeper at the Tigers and hovering a microscope over the program’s summer workouts, newcomers, position battles, general players to watch and more.

We're on to our final preview: Every player wants to succeed on the college level, but some are met with more setbacks or criticism than others. Here are five Tigers who will have something to prove at Auburn's 2022 preseason practices.

S ZION PUCKETT

The highest-rated defensive back recruit on Auburn's roster, Puckett's potential has been through the roof since he stepped on campus. But he's been continually hampered by injuries — even last season, when he sneakily finished top 10 on the defense in tackles despite playing only seven full games.

Practicing an abundance of caution, Auburn kept Puckett in a noncontact jersey throughout spring ball to protect his shoulder. Harsin said Puckett will be 100% for the start of preseason camp.

With the departures of Smoke Monday andBydarrius Knighten, Puckett can now slide back full time to safety, where his teammates and coaches think he's capable of being an All-SEC player as a starter. Iowa State transfer Craig McDonald could be in line to snag the other safety spot, while a talented bunch of true freshmen in the DB room present intriguing depth pieces.

Puckett showed last season how physical and athletic he can be in the secondary when healthy. Auburn's staff has long thought he could be one of their best defenders if afforded a full season of work. He's now the top dog at safety. Can he be just as productive as the likes of Monday — or maybe better?

LB WESLEY STEINER

With Owen Pappoe's return from injury, a transfer entering the fold in North Carolina's Eugene Asante, a high-end recruit joining the room in Robert Woodyard, and junior Cam Riley remaining an intriguing player because of his stature and athleticism, redshirt sophomore Wesley Steiner has been in the background of some conversations about Auburn's linebacking corps this season.

But if spring ball is any indication, Steiner, the No. 5 recruit on Auburn's entire roster, has a path to becoming a starter in 2022. Pappoe wasn't available while recovering from his injury, and the primary first-teamers were Riley and Steiner.

Steiner, a record-setting power lifter in high school, has been steadily growing in confidence in Auburn's defense, building upon his redshirt season with 21 tackles last year.

The "setbacks" for Steiner haven't come from injury or any external factors; it's simply been that, through his two seasons as a Tiger, there's been highly productive veterans ahead of him in the rotation. Now he can prove he's worthy of falling next in line of Auburn's recent All-SEC success at the position.

DL ZYKEIVOUS WALKER

Walker, the No. 79 overall recruit in the 2020 class, was a massive recruiting win over the likes of Georgia, Alabama and Florida. The 6-foot-4, 304-pound defensive lineman has the look of one of Auburn's recently dominant players at the position, and he's shown flashes of freakish athleticism.

But the bottom line is Walker simply hasn't gotten himself on the field yet. Last season he had only six tackles and played just 70 total snaps all season — and Auburn's D-line depth isn't getting any thinner in 2022.

He seemingly fits the mold of the great Auburn defensive linemen to come through the program in recent seasons, but he's yet to string together productive games — or even stand out in practice settings. In spring ball, he rotated with the second- and third-teamers.

If Walker is to begin to chip away at his potential for the Tigers' defense, it feels like it will have to start in some sense this season — and that begins with a strong fall camp.

RB JARQUEZ HUNTER

Sure, any player returning from an injury has something to prove: that they'll be just as productive after their recovery as they were before.

But in the case of Auburn's backup running back, it's that aforementioned production that's in question. By season's end, the Mississippian finished as the top freshman rusher in the SEC (593 yards). However, whether it was defenses figuring out how to scheme for the freshman, or just a cooldown, Hunter's effectiveness fell off in a huge way the rest of the season.

Over Auburn's last eight games, Hunter had only 146 yards and zero rushing touchdowns, and his efficient yards-per-touch clip plummeted to 3.1 yards. He rushed for more than 30 yards only once during that stretch to close out the year.

Hunter missed most of the spring after undergoing a knee procedure, but he enters fall camp as the unquestioned backup to Tank Bigsby. If Auburn is to have one of the SEC's top backfields in 2022 — on paper, he and Bigsby's 1,692 combined yards are the most in the conference among a returning running-back tandem — Hunter will have to prove his effectiveness against upper-level defenses, and that his early season explosion as a true freshman wasn't a fluke.

QB T.J. FINLEY

OK, it's obvious that all of Auburn's signal-callers have something to prove in fall camp: that they're worthy of the starting job. But Finley, the only member of the QB room with experience running Auburn's offense, seems to be counted out already.

Finley exclusively received first-team reps throughout the spring. His leadership and knowledge of the offense was praised, but even Harsin mentioned that he would have liked to have seen more assertiveness from the junior, particularly in the downfield passing game.

And in the spring game, it was Robby Ashford who took home offensive MVP honors with the second-teamers, as the Oregon transfer created plenty of buzz for himself heading into the summer.

It wouldn't be far fetched to assume Finley will begin fall camp as the first-team quarterback, but he'll need to be more impressive than he was in the spring in order to fend off Zach Calzada and Ashford. At this juncture of the offseason, most assume — including many around the program — that Calzada's experience and arm talent will lead to the eventual starting nod going to him.

But Finley is used to playing from behind in terms of the depth chart, and if 2022 is no different, perhaps he'll be able to once again bide his time and eventually receive an opportunity during the season. The biggest roadblock would be if he's also passed up by Ashford on the depth chart, though Finley's eight starts and experience within Auburn's offense is a stark difference to Ashford, who's never appeared in a college game.

"Coming off of five games starting last year, knowing the system and understanding the system was my next step in becoming better than I was last year," Finley said in the spring. "So me learning the system and doing things of that nature. Going into the fall, I’ll reevaluate myself, reevaluate the playbook and things of that nature and only get better.”

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Really excited about Steiner and he’s a vital player for defense this year.

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Really excited about Steiner and he’s a vital player for defense this year.

He and Riley both should get a lot of reps and if Woodyard is 100% I expect to see him starting getting a few reps but getting more as season progresses. I think this group will be better then most people are expecting because of how good the ones who left were. All the 1st team reps in the spring should help Riley and Steiner and having a couple of easy games to get over nerves should also help.

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Posted (edited)

You guys quit the back and forth. Stick to the topic or go to pm! 😝 

I know y’all missed each other’s banter while bird was gone. We know y’all really love each other.

Edited by toddc
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You guys quit the back and forth. Stick to the topic or go to pm! 😝 

I know y’all missed each other’s banter while bird was gone. We know y’all really love each other.

tasty-pulp-fiction.gif

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So happy that Jeremiah Wright is officially back on the D-line and I couldn't be happier. That D-line is going to be sick. I'm so happy I could break dance. 

 

 

 

Be sure to record and post.

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Please sweet baby Jesus, protect our players from any hurt, harm, danger, disciplinary actions, and injuries!!! All in agreeance say....

Amen 🙏 

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  • toddc changed the title to All Things Fall Camp Thread

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