It was the first practice in full pads for the Auburn Tigers. Starting lineups haven't been announced, but excitement is still sky high as Auburn creeps closer to its season opener against Georgia Southern on Sep. 2.
One of the most anticipated position battles of the summer is the competition at quarterback. First is junior Sean White, who threw for over 1600 yards and nine touchdowns as Auburn's starting QB in 2016.
Then there is sophomore Baylor transfer Jarrett Stidham who as ESPN's #1 rated JUCO player in the country, is likely the favorite to win the job
Lastly, freshman Malik Willis has impressed coaches with his dual threat ability and may be the most athletically gifted quarterback on the roster. However, as a true freshman, Willis will likely spend most of 2017 on the sideline.
No matter who emerges as Auburn's starter, Gus Malzahn is confident in his trio of quarterbacks.
"All three guys can run our offense, we have quality depth at QB," Malzahn said.
Malzahn believes a lot in Auburn's depth in 2017, especially on the offensive line.
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"There's a lot of mixing and matching on the offensive line and I think that says a great thing about our depth," Malzahn said.
It wasn't just the offensive line that impressed Malzahn, the Auburn head coach praised the work on the defensive side of the ball as well.
"There is great competition on both sides of the ball, both sides are really getting after it up front," Malzahn said.
Seniors John Franklin III and Jason Smith are two players who have gone through position changes throughout their times on the Plains. Franklin III made the move from quarterback to wide receiver while Smith switched sides of the ball completely as he moved from wide-receiver to a position in the secondary.
Malzahn knows both Smith and Franklin III possess rare speed and playmaking ability and he plans to use both of them in whatever way he can, with special teams being an option open for both.
"He's definitely in the mix," said Malzahn regarding the possibility of Franklin III returning punts and kicks this season.
"We want to use him in any way we can on special teams," Malzahn said of Smith.
One position Malzahn seemed disappointed in was punter.
"No one has separated themselves at punter," Malzahn said.
Auburn star kicker Daniel Carlson has taken over punting duties in the past but Malzahn would prefer if someone else would step up.
"Daniel (Carlson) can do it but that really isn't ideal," Malzahn said.
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