“I think these were the best voluntary workouts we’ve had in a while, especially with the captain’s practices ... I figured it was better than the year we won the national championship,” Bates said. “This year was the best workouts and captain’s practices we’ve ever had.”
Bates also mentioned an unfamiliar freshman stand-out in practice — Jonathan Wallace.
“You can see that he can be a leader in the near future,” Bates said. “The way he just goes out there and operates ... even though the offense might mess up, he’ll be the first one to try and correct it.”
Senior wide receiver Travante Stallworth said the installation of new offensive coordinator Scott Loeffler’s offensive is a week-by-week process.
“We try to install something every week because coach Loeffler told us at the end of the spring that when we pick back up at fall camp it’s going to move by fast so we just try to get out there with the quarterback and get the timing down and learn different routes and learning all the concepts to make sure we’ll be ready for tomorrow,” Stallworth said.
Stallworth also mentioned the seniors bringing extra effort this season.
“I mean everybody is excited and it’s my senior year and me (Phillip Lutzenkirchen and Emory Blake) have been talking a lot we just want to go out with a bang and do something real special for Auburn.”
It has been nearly nine months since senior defensive back T’sharvan Bell left the field with a knee injury against the University of Georgia last November, but he said everything is feeling great.
“I’m ready to go,” Bell said. “Full speed. No holding back.”
Bell mentioned summer workouts being a huge upside in becoming acclimated with defensive coordinator Brian Van Gorder’s defensive scheme.
“Captain’s practice gave us an advantage ... we’re going to be ahead of where the coaches expect us to be at this point,” Bell said. “They have been productive day in and day out. You don’t have guys talking back. You have guys shutting up and getting the work done. It’s no bickering back and forth ... I think there is no gray area and everybody is clear on what we need to do. Everybody knows what to expect now. It’s not saying who are we going to follow it’s more of a follow me thing.”
Senior running back Onterio McCalebb said he’ll have a diverse role compared to last year, including more sets at receiver.
“I see my role as similar to last year, but a little more. You’ll see a lot of different stuff this year. As everybody knows it’s my senior and I came back because I love Auburn.”
Before leaving the room, Bell asked McCalebb one aspect he was focusing on during the offseason.
“Getting my weight up and getting stronger,” McCalebb said.
Bell’s speed was also compared to sophomore running back Tre Mason.
“I’m the fastest,” McCalebb said.