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Auburn tight ends, H-backs 'haven't even missed a beat' under new position coach Larry Porter

Tom Green | tgreen@al.com

Chandler Cox was shocked when Scott Fountain was replaced as Auburn's tight ends and H-backs coach last month. The sudden change on the coaching staff -- which came after head coach Gus Malzahn publicly said two-plus weeks earlier that "the staff will remain the same on the offensive side" of the ball -- caught many off guard this offseason.

Two weeks into fall practice, however, and Auburn's tight ends and H-backs seem at ease with the transition from Fountain to new position coach Larry Porter.

"It hasn't really been that much of a transition from one coach to another," tight end Jalen Harris said. "It's always tough losing a coach and everything like that, but he's come right in and it's like we haven't even missed a beat."

Even as the position evolves in a new offensive scheme with offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey at the helm. Lindsey wants to see Auburn's tight ends to develop into "versatile" offensive weapons capable of blocking and receiving as a traditional tight end, lining up at H-back and splitting out at receiver.

The seamless transition is promising for the group, especially with Porter's lack of experience coaching the position. Porter has spent 17 of his 19 years as a college coach working with running backs, and until joining Malzahn's staff last month, he had never coached tight ends before.

That hasn't been a concern for Malzahn or Lindsey.


Why Malzahn is not concerned about Porter's inexperience coaching tight ends/H-backs

Why Malzahn is not concerned about Porter's inexperience coaching tight ends/H-backs

Larry Porter has coached running backs for 17 of his 19 years in coaching before taking over as Auburn's tight ends/H-backs coach on Feb. 11.


"He's a ball coach, so he can coach any position -- offense or defense," Lindsey said. "He's been a head coach before, got a lot of experience, been really pleased about how he handles them. He understands offense. He's done a great job. We've got some tight ends that are developing and getting better, and I like what I'm seeing out of that group. Larry will do a great job with them."

In a short time, players have shared that sentiment, with Cox saying he expects Porter will push him to the "next level." While players were disappointed to see Fountain -- who may still return to the staff as an analyst -- relieved of his duties, they've quickly warmed up to Porter this spring.

"He's a good guy," Harris said. "He has fun with you, but he's going to work you in practice. He's going to be there for me, and I'm just excited to have him."

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