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Stove and Hastings a full go for Oregon game


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This is great news after BN being named as QB1!

Auburn receivers Will Hastings, Eli Stove ‘full-go’ heading into Oregon game

Updated Aug 20, 10:06 PM;Posted Aug 20, 7:54 PM

Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics

Will Hastings Auburn football first practice on Friday, Aug. 2, 2019 in Auburn, Ala. Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics



By Tom Green | tgreen@al.com

Two of Auburn’s top receivers returned to practice in a full capacity on Tuesday.

Will Hastings and Eli Stove, both of whom have been on a load-management program during fall camp, were full participants in practice Tuesday afternoon and are expected to be full speed for the season opener against Oregon on Aug. 31 in Arlington, Texas, head coach Gus Malzahn announced.

“That’s very important, and we’ve tried to be smart with both of those guys,” Malzahn said. “Both of them practiced today, starting to get in rhythm with Bo (Nix). Now that we’re in gameplan mode, they’re full-go and ready to go.”

Auburn had been cautious with both veteran receivers this preseason after each underwent ACL surgeries last year. Both Hastings and Stove tore their ACLs last spring before making a return to the field approximately five months later. Hastings re-tore the ligament in October and underwent a second surgery, while Stove was eased into action in four games last season and redshirting.

Hastings was cleared for full-contact at the end of spring practice, and Stove was given the OK to play without a knee brace as of A-Day in April. The redshirt junior tweaked his knee early on in fall camp, but it was a minor injury, and Auburn was extra cautious as a result.

Having both of them full-speed, as expected, provides new starting quarterback Bo Nix -- who earned the role of QB1 on Tuesday afternoon -- with two more proven and productive receivers at his disposal. In 2017, Hastings had 26 catches for 525 yards and four touchdowns. Stove had 29 receptions for 269 yards while adding another 315 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries.

“It’s great,” Nix said. “We have some really good wide receivers, and when they’re all healthy and ready to go, we can be really good. Just having them back is more of a comfort thing, like, ‘hey, you got really good weapons, so use them.’ My job is to get them the ball and allow them to use their athletic ability and do the rest.”

While those two are back in the fold, Auburn is still uncertain about the status of another of its top receivers for the season opener. Sophomore Anthony Schwartz, who underwent surgery to repair a broken bone in his left hand earlier this month, remains questionable for the Oregon game, according to Malzahn.

“I’m hoping that early next week, I’ll be able to tell you,” Malzahn said of Schwartz’s status. “Like I said, we’re hopeful that he’ll have a chance to play the first game — but I won’t know that until the first of next week. As soon as we find out, I’ll definitely let you know.”

In other injury news, sophomore defensive tackle Coynis Miller returned to full contact at practice after being limited with a shoulder injury for much of fall camp. Miller’s return provides Auburn with added depth at its biggest question mark on defense, the second defensive tackle spot alongside Derrick Brown.

“He’ll have a chance — I don’t know how much — but he’ll have a chance to play in the first game,” Malzahn said. “So we’ll see. I’m not ready to say how much, but he did practice today.”

Tom Green is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Tomas_Verde.

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