Auburn’s loss to Georgia wasn’t all negative for the Tigers, as two new faces made it to Saturday’s field on their own accord.
Landen King saw his first action in an Auburn uniform on Saturday, getting involved in the passing game with his first two career catches coming against a greedy Georgia defense. A new face was plugging up Auburn’s defensive line as well, as Marquis Robinson got a significant amount of snaps for the first time in his early career even though it was a high intensity game.
That’s the kind of program head coach Bryan Harsin says he wants to create, one where the best man and the best prepared player gets the game reps, regardless of the matchup on Saturday.
“You gotta have competition,” Harsin said. “…I see some of the young players, there’s a reason why [Robinson] is in there. He kept showing up in practice, so he’d earned an opportunity to play. Obviously playing against a very good team and having a chance to come out there as a young player, but that’s part of the mentality that we want to have in this program, we want guys competing."
Robinson, a four-star rated player coming out of high school just six months ago, is already making waves on the Plains and seeing live action against a serious opponent in his first year in a Tiger uniform. Auburn’s depth at the defensive line is something Harsin mentioned as a concern, and a possible reason for Robinson’s involvement.
“As far as depth goes, we need to be better," Harsin said. "We’ve got guys, we just need to better on the defensive line and be more competitive within that group. O-line, D-line is where you really have to have really solid play every day.”
Tight end involvement in the offensive scheme has seen the rejuvenation of some players’ passion for the sport while also creating chances to play for others. Auburn dipped into the lone star state to pull out three-star tight end Landen King in its last recruiting class. While he’s still a freshman, the 6-foot-5 prospect is already carving out a role in Auburns’ offense behind the Tiger’s leading receiver John Samuel Shenker.
With the senior Shenker presumably leaving a year or two from now, King’s development on the field may be something that Harsin is considering for the future of the tight end room. The head coach thinks that if he puts the right work in, Auburn fans may be seeing more of King in future games to come.
"Landen's a guy that we felt like had somewhat of a role going into that last game, may have a role moving forward in how we can utilize him," Harsin said. "He'll work hard at it. I think he really wants to be out there."
As Harsin and staff make it apparent that effort during the week will decide who plays on the weekends, look out for other possible freshman who may be forging their own game-time opportunities out on the practice field on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Already seen on Saturday, Auburn has plenty of them.
“Some of those younger players, if they keep stepping up and they keep putting themselves in a position where they can compete, and we feel like they’re the best players to go out there and play we’re gonna get the chance to go out there and do that," Harsin said. "So the reps you get in practice, maximize that...You earned that chance to be out there on the field.”
Do you like this story? The Plainsman doesn't accept money from tuition or student fees, and we don't charge a subscription fee. But you can donate to support The Plainsman.
Larry is a senior studying journalism with a minor in sociology. He is from Enterprise, Alabama and is in his third year with The Auburn Plainsman.