Tomorrow's scrimmage will be limited in the number and variety of plays that are run because much of the offense has yet to be installed, according to offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn.
“We’re doing a lot of teaching—very similar to the first spring that we were here,” Malzahn said. “We got so many new faces out there, and we’re just trying to perfect the base things.”
The scrimmage is a good opportunity to not only teach, but to evaluate as players compete for starting positions.
“We’d like to just try to get some kind of order at least through the first week and half of spring,” Malzahn said. “Who are our best 11 guys—that was our number one goal coming into spring. And so hopefully, we’ll be a little bit closer to identifying that after tomorrow’s scrimmage.”
The competition between junior Barrett Trotter and sophomore Clint Moseley for starting quarterback will be one position battle on which the coaches will focus.
Malzahn said both Trotter and Mosley are responding well in practice and continue to receive equal repetitions.
“I tell the quarterbacks that ‘hey, we can learn so much when we’re in scrimmage situations.’” Malzahn said. “Who has the ability to get the group in the end zone is very important; who will protect the football; and when those live bullets start coming around you, a lot of quarterbacks respond differently—so I’m real curious to see how they respond tomorrow.”
Malzahn said tomorrow will be big for offensive lineman as well.
“We’re trying to find our top five guys,” Malzahn said, “and then past that, we’re trying to find the top two or three backups. We’ll be moving some people around.
“We’ll meet after tomorrow’s scrimmage, and hopefully, we’ll be a little closer to finding our top five.”
Defensive coordinator Ted Roof said he wants to see better execution and tackling during tomorrow’s scrimmage.
One player who has shown improvement this spring is redshirt freshman LaDarius Owens.
“He’s getting better every day,” Roof said. “You know, that’s a tough transition going from basically being a guy that plays with his hand on the ground as a defensive lineman in high school to a linebacker in the SEC.
“But he’s really, really working at it. He’s improving, and there’s no doubt in my mind that if he keeps working like he’s working right now, that he’s going to be an awfully good football player.”
Owens, who spent last season on the scout team, said he is way ahead of where he was when he first arrived in Auburn as a true freshman.
“I was a deer in headlights when I first got here,” Owens said. “I just spent time watching film and learning, watching other linebackers.
“It’s just a whole ‘nother feel to it. My eyes are the most important thing. I can see better and I can recognize things better and quicker.”
The Tigers will have Sunday off after the scrimmage before returning to practice Monday.