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players say Auburn football can exceed expectations


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Experienced players say Auburn football can exceed expectations

Mark Murphy

3-4 minutes

QBs and DLs drill on Opening Day of Auburn Football Practice

AUBURN, Alabama–A pair of the Auburn football team’s most experienced players said following their first day of preseason practice on Friday they realize that predictions of their demise in the SEC West are out there regarding the 2022 season, but they aren’t buying into that narrative.

Austin Troxell, a returning starter who can play both offensive tackle spots, has been a part of the team going back to the 2017 season when the Tigers won the divisional championship.

“I think there is a high ceiling for this offense,” Troxell said. “There are play-makers everywhere. We have an offensive line with plenty of experience up front. I expect us to have a really good year this year.”

The offensive tackle, who noted that he currently checks in at 315 pound on his six-foot-seven frame, has overcome three major knee operations. Going into his final season he said that he is in good health and good shape as he and his teammates deal with the physical and mental challenges of preseason camp.”

He also pointed out that the players aren’t dwelling on where they have been picked to finish this year. “We don’t really talk about it. We know what we are capable of so that is just noise on the outside.”

A team captain last season, who was severely limited by an injury, senior linebacker Owen Pappoe said he is full speed again and has high expectations for himself and the entire defense. Pappoe, who is a 6-1, 225 senior, started every game as a true freshman and again as a sophomore. He was limited to action in five games last year as the Tigers started the season 6-2 before dropping their final five games.

Asked about the 2022 defense’s potential, he said, “We have got vets everywhere, guys who are hungry, guys who are playing with a chip on their shoulder. We are relentless. That is one word to describe the defense this year.”

Asked what he sees are the keys are for this year’s group to reach its potential, the linebacker said, “It is to be as consistent as we can. You are never going to play a perfect game, but just minimizing any of the mistakes that show up.”

Pappoe noted that last year’s performance didn’t set well with him and other members of the 2021 team that are back this season. One of those is defensive lineman Colby Wooden, who noted that he had never been on a team with a losing record until last fall.

3COMMENTS

“I graduate in December so I kind of want to go out with a bang,” he said. “Started with Owen and Derick (Hall) and Luke (Deal), all the other guys that came in with me and we have just got to finish the deal. That's basically it–finish the deal.”

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