Much of the anticipation for Auburn leading into fall camp has centered around the offensive line and if there really has been improvement from last year’s struggles.
This year the Tigers return five seniors, but there are still those who are skeptical that a unit that was so inconsistent last year can put it together in just one year and become one of the best units in the conference.
Thursday’s scrimmage was their first opportunity to prove it on the field.
“I think we came out and did pretty good,” Prince Tega Wanogho said. “It was really hot outside and I think we let that get the best of us as a unit. I think the O-line and offense entirely; we didn't play up to our standard. We've just got to improve. Good thing we've got another scrimmage coming up. We've got to improve on that."
The message in Jordan-Hare Stadium post-scrimmage was effort and improvement. Wanogho noted that the offensive line’s lackluster performance wasn’t a byproduct of a lack of push or capability, it was just a lack of execution and that it will improve in time.
"It was really important to us because, you know, this is camp,” Wanogho said. “We're finding out who can help us out and who we can rely on. So that's what we're working on right now. So we've got to find out who can step up, that's all. Now is the time. Like I said, we just let the heat get to us. We've just got to improve on that and improve next scrimmage. We've gotta just keep playing, and we'll see."
Tigers’ offensive line coach J.B. Grimes and company are hoping that going up against one of top defenses in the country, day-in and day-out, will separate their unit from any others in the conference.
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"Going against one of the best, if not the best defense in the country actually improves our game, too,” Wanogho said. “We know we've got to play up to their standard and they help us play better as unit. So that's good for us."
MORE SCRIMMAGE NOTES
- Started with special teams (kicking and punt return): Javaris Davis, Christian Tutt and redshirt freshman Matthew Hill all took reps
- Ran 84 plays in scrimmage, equally divided among three groups
- Orange defense stopped the run well and forced three turnovers, two interceptions including a pick-6 and a fumble. KJ Britt didn’t participate but is expected back in a few days.
- Anders Carlson hit a 58-yard FG
- Orange offense didn’t get enough first downs to be able to tell how the QBs were moving the ball, leading their groups
- Eli Stove and Will Hastings were limited by design. As a whole, the offense was a lot of rotating at positions, giving younger guys opportunities to prove themselves. Harold Joiner got the most carries and looked good. DJ Williams (shoulder) didn’t participate.
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