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All Things Fall Camp Thread


toddc
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Fall Camp Schedule for Media

Thursday, August 4:

2:00 p.m.             Coordinators visit with media 

OC Eric Kiesau 2 pm; DC Jeff Schmedding 2:30 pm

3:15 p.m.             Coach Harsin visits with media 

Friday, August 5:

11:00 a.m.           Media viewing window (20 minutes)

12:30 p.m.          Player interviews

5:00 p.m.             Media viewing window/rookie practice (15 minutes)

Saturday, August 6:

10:45 a.m.           Media viewing window (20 minutes)

12:30 p.m.          Player interviews 

Tuesday, August 9:

11:10 a.m.           Media viewing window (20 minutes)

12:30 p.m.          Coach Harsin visits with media 

                                Players interviews following 

Wednesday, August 10:

10:35 a.m.           Media viewing window (20 minutes)

12:30 p.m.          Offensive position coaches 

Thursday, August 11:

10:35 a.m.           Media viewing window (20 minutes)

12:30 p.m.          Defensive position coaches

Friday, August 12:

12:30 p.m.          Player interviews

Saturday, August 13:

8:15 p.m.             Coach Harsin visits with media after scrimmage

Tuesday, August 16:

Classes begin

Edited by toddc
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You want a medal or something?? Didn't know you were a frat either?  Probably TKE

Or even worse... a PIKE

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I'm excited. My favorite time of the year. Searching for every sites practice videos to get as many clips as possible, lol.... and take too much away from them good and bad

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Roundtable: Fall Camp Preview

We’ve made it, everyone! Auburn’s 2022 fall camp has begun, and many intriguing developments will take place over the next few weeks. It’s Bryan Harsin’s second training camp as the head coach of the Tigers, but he has two new coordinators in Eric Kiesau (offense) and Jeff Schmedding (defense).

The Tigers will be put through the wringer starting Friday with 10 days full of football and, yes, more football. Players will have to separate themselves from the pack to earn playing time while the coaching staff decides who is ready to take the field on Sept. 3rd.

With fall camp now in session, Bryan Matthews, Jay Tate and Brian Stultz look at the biggest storylines and position competitions to watch, along with which newcomers we are most excited to see and veteran players that need to step up.

Here is our 2022 fall camp preview roundtable.

Bryan Harsin enters his second fall camp at Auburn.
Bryan Harsin enters his second fall camp at Auburn. (Jake Crandall/USA TODAY Sports)

BIGGEST STORYLINE

Bryan Matthews: Offensive line

Tank Bigsby is good. Auburn’s tight end position is deep and talented. Who knows what the Tigers will get from the quarterback and wide receiver positions this fall. But none of that matters if the offensive line can’t function on a high level. It could quite literally be the difference between AU competing at the top of the SEC West or finishing dead last.

On paper, it’s pretty good to return eight offensive linemen with 121 starts between them. That’s usually a recipe for success. But we’ve watched this same group fail to get any push against SEC defensive lines in the running game and be no better than average protecting the passer. What makes anyone think that will change in 2022?

Frankly, it might not, but there are some key possibilities for improvement, especially at left tackle, where Killian Zierer is expected to take over the starting duties. More on him below. Keiondre Jones has started 20 games over the past two seasons, and you’d expect the fourth-year junior to be on pace to take the next step in his development this fall. Senior Kam Stutts is one to watch after a good spring, and both Austin Troxell and Brandon Council are relatively healthy going into camp. Those five have the potential to play above their previous levels, as do others.

I’m certainly skeptical of this group, but I’m not going to write them off either. They’ll need to gel through the first two games before big early tests come against Penn State, Missouri and LSU.

Jay Tate: First Five Games

This is such a critical season — both for Bryan Harsin and for this program. In that vein, the most important storyline is how Auburn looks (and fares) during the first five games of the season. All five of those games will be played inside Jordan-Hare Stadium, which should amplify strengths and mask deficiencies.

The Tigers have a new defensive coordinator in Jeff Schmedding and a new offensive coordinator in Eric Kiesau. Both men have been working for Bryan Harsin for a while, so a level of familiarity exists. At the same time, the relationship between these men and these players is in a new phase. Will things work out the way Harsin has envisioned? There’s only one way to find out.

They don’t have much time to get things sorted once the season starts. Auburn must start 5-0 to create inertia heading into the season’s second half.

Brian Stultz: Depth at EDGE

We all know what Derick Hall can do, and Eku Leota showed he could be counted on last season. After those two is when the question marks come. Redshirt freshman Dylan Brooks is making strides, according to Schmedding, while linebacker Joko Willis will see some time at the position. They will need to step up for Roc Bellantoni’s group to have any depth during a long, grueling season. 

Derick Hall returns for his senior season as the leader of the Auburn team.
Derick Hall returns for his senior season as the leader of the Auburn team. (Jake Crandall/USA TODAY Sports)

NEWCOMER MOST EXCITED TO WATCH

Matthews: Jeffery M’ba

The defensive line has always been my favorite position, and it’s been a while since I’ve been more excited to see a newcomer on the field than Jeffrey M’ba. First of all, we just haven’t seen much of M’ba since he missed spring recovering from a shoulder injury. And then the reports out of summer workouts from multiple sources have just been over the top in their praise.

I’ve been told he has elite quickness for his 6-foot-6, 305-pound frame and has been picking up the defense and the fundamentals of playing D-line quickly. I’ve thought all along that it would be a gradual process of working M’ba into the lineup as he gains experience and makes adjustments, but I think I’ve been downplaying his potential impact. It certainly sounds like he’ll have an opportunity to be on the field early and often this season. It’s in my nature to pump the brakes on any newcomer, but it’s pedal to the metal right now on big M’ba.

Tate: Camden Brown

For me, Camden Brown presents some real upside in the short and long term for Auburn. He’s a 6-foot-3 wideout who can win aerial duels, which is something these Tigers lack right now. He also has enough strength to overpower many defensive back in tight quarters, which allows him to create some of his windows for quarterbacks against the sideline or against hook/flat defenders near the hash.

Most of my biggest positional concerns about this team lie on the offensive side of the operation. Wideout is one of them. Having steady performers is good, but Auburn needs someone to provide some magic beyond 15 yards to steer defensive coordinators away from blitzy looks. Brown can be that guy.

Stultz: Damari Alston

Tank Bigsby and Jarquez Hunter are the unmistakable 1-2 punch for Kiesau’s offense. Still, if true freshman Damari Alston can transition to the college game much as Tank did, it would give Cadillac Williams a three-headed monster (and that’s not mentioning Sean Jackson or Jordon Ingram.) As Kiesau said, it’s up to Alston to prove he belongs on the field, but if he can be a quick learner, that is a good bit of relief for Bigsby and Hunter.

Jeffrey M'ba has turned heads with his elite quickness.
Jeffrey M'ba has turned heads with his elite quickness. (via Jeffrey M'ba)

VETERAN WHO NEEDS TO STEP UP

Matthews: Kilian Zierer

Zierer certainly has the potential to step up in a big way this fall, and I’m not sure this team needs a player to step up other than one of the quarterbacks. Injuries and a learning curve coming from Germany have limited Zierer to just four college starts. The staff believes he has next-level potential, so this should be his opportunity to show that on the field.

With AU’s quarterback situation, having a reliable blindside protector is vital. But even more important to this group is having some starters that can actually fire off the line, make contact with a defensive lineman and push him down the field. I know that seems like a foreign concept to many AU fans, but I swear it happens at other schools and even at Auburn when they had quality linemen like Braden Smith or Greg Robinson. Perhaps Zierer can provide what the Tigers need.

Tate: Owen Pappoe

Linebacker has been a theoretical strength for several years, but that’s been a bit of a mirage. Owen Pappoe oozes athleticism and lateral agility. He’s also made a lot of mistakes. He also was hurt for a good portion of last season.

In reality, Zakoby McClain was the savior of the linebacker corps last season — and he’s now playing for the Baltimore Ravens.

Someone must emerge as a reliable operator between the tackles. Wesley Steiner can (and should) be that guy. Now a junior with 139 varsity snaps to his credit, the Warner Robins, Ga., native is one of the team’s brightest players and also showed a clear willingness to hit opponents aggressively last season. 

His best game of the season came against Houston in the bowl game, which saw him play a season-high 36 snaps and earn a 70.8 grade from PFF. He created some pressure through the B gaps and was a perfect 4-for-4 in tackling situations. Simply put, Steiner gets the ball carrier down. If he also can diagnose run fits quickly this fall, Steiner can be a major asset for Schmedding’s first Auburn defense.

Stultz: Ja’Varrius Johnson

There’s no secret that playing time at wide receiver is wide open as the Tigers lack a lot of experience at the position. Johnson showed flashes of what he can do in his sophomore season, catching 19 passes for 274 yards and two touchdowns, including a 39-yard score against Arkansas when he raced past the Razorbacks’ defense. He’s got the speed. Now he needs to become reliable, specifically using his 5-foot-10 frame to make defenders miss.

Owen Pappoe makes a tackle against Ole Miss.
Owen Pappoe makes a tackle against Ole Miss. (Robin Conn/AuburnSports.com)

BEST COMPETITION

Matthews: Safety

There are a lot of competitive spots during fall camp, and the safety position opposite Zion Puckett should be one of the most intense. Auburn brought in Iowa State transfer Craig McDonald as a potential starter but is returning from an ankle injury and could be a little limited at the start of camp. Caleb Wooden should be McDonald’s biggest competition. The true freshman had a fantastic spring, getting a lot of time with the first team and proving to be a playmaker in scrimmage situations. Even if he doesn’t start, Wooden is a sure-fire contributor this fall and a future standout and leader.

There are several other important options at safety, and depth will be important considering Puckett’s injury history. Redshirt freshman Cayden Bridges is one of AU’s most athletic defenders and should also be part of the playing rotation and on special teams. Like Wooden, he’s got the look of a future starter too. Marquise Gilbert needs to add size and strength, but the junior college transfer can help in certain situations, and the wildcard is Austin Ausberry. The true freshman can play multiple positions and is likely to play this fall somewhere in the secondary.

Tate: Wide receiver

I’m most interested in the situation at wideout, where Auburn is in the midst of a pretty remarkable gamble. The team lacked true playmakers at that position in 2021, so much effort and scholarship slots were allocated toward correcting this obvious personnel flaw.

The Tigers scored a few recruiting wins by signing freshmen Jay Fair, Omari Kelly and Camden Brown. They scored a few portal victories, too, by getting Daz Worsham from Miami and Koy Moore from LSU. Then you add in a few interesting returnees — specifically repurposed tight end Landen King and slot receiver Malcolm Johnson Jr. — and you’ve got a decent-looking group of young guys.

Looking good on the practice field and performing well on the game field are two different things, of course, but simply piecing together a competent two-deep would represent a big step forward. I expect that to happen, though I’m still not sure which guys will join Moore on the first team. This will be fun to watch.

Stultz: Quarterback

How am I so lucky that I get to talk about the quarterback race? In my opinion, Zach Calzada enters fall camp as the favorite to start against Mercer on Sept. 3rd, but he doesn’t have that much breathing room where he can continue to make mistakes. He has the arm and experience, but adjusting to a new offense is not always easy. It will also be interesting to see how he responds to live competition after being held out for spring due to shoulder surgery. 

Robby Ashford is an interesting case due to his performance at A-Day and scrambling ability, but not taking a snap for two seasons can only hurt his progress. T.J. Finley returns after filling in for Bo Nix at the end of the season, while true freshman Holden Geriner has a full spring behind him and could make some noise in the race.

Watching these four battle for the top spot will be intriguing no matter how the race goes.

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Whoops...didn't see this in here...created a thread for it. My bad. Mods can delete.

You can delete yourself if you want to. Tap moderation action  at top center of op and it’ll give you options.

Edited by toddc
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Is #5 MBA? That dude is humungous. I hope our coaches can put some anger and rage in him. We have the makings of a special D-Line if they get the right coaching and someone lights a fire under them. 

 

 

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Is #5 MBA? That dude is humungous. I hope our coaches can put some anger and rage in him. We have the makings of a special D-Line if they get the right coaching and someone lights a fire under them. 

 

 

That last throw from Calzada to Johnson was nice. Nemiah had tight coverage and Calzada threw JJ open.

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Anyone want to hazard a guess as to when the starting QB will be announced. I will say after 1st scrimmage.

I'd imagine sooner rather than later.

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That is paywalled just FYI

It cost a dollar man! I know it’s vip but thought people would pay that.

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It cost a dollar man! I know it’s vip but thought people would pay that.

Oh I am subbing when I get off work. I just wasn't sure if you were aware.

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