While the transition into the fall semester can be difficult for incoming student athletes, Auburn football head coach Gus Malzahn says his team hasn’t flinched.
“I think they’ve responded well,” he said. “Typically that first day after the first day of school can be difficult but they’ve responded well.”
Nick Coe, a four-star freshman from Asheboro, N.C., has impressed at defensive end in replacement of an injured Marlon Davidson. He chose Auburn over offers from Florida State and Alabama.
“He’s gone with the [first team] quite a bit in Marlon’s absence,” Malzahn said. “I think there’s nothing better than getting out there with the [first team] and seeing how people respond. I think he’s continued to get better.”
Other four-star recruits, running back Devan Barrett and wide receiver Noah Igbinoghene, have been challenging for the position of kick returner. Malzahn says he has been focusing on getting the young guys in on special teams to gain some experience.
“I think, as a group, the freshmen have done a really good job,” he said.
While his coaching staff hope to utilize the talents of incoming freshmen, Malzahn will also look to improve on red-zone efficiency. Auburn scored on 85 percent (47-for-55) of opportunities in the red zone, while only scoring a touchdown on 56 percent (31-for-55) of tries.
“To be one of the best you’ve got to be able to run the ball in, you’ve got to be good on third down” he said, “You know, when we’ve been good, we’ve been good in the red zone.”
Malzahn added that the addition of Chip Lindsey at offensive coordinator will “add some wrinkles,” while additions to the tight end position will provide some size to dominate the end zone.
The team will release a depth chart on Tuesday to finalize all position spots, namely the third tailback position and the offensive line, and hold a dress rehearsal on Friday. Malzahn says the rehearsal is more important in making things as game specific as possible, running his coaching staff and team through all potential scenarios.
Auburn football starts its season at home on Sept. 2 against Georgia Southern.