Jan. 21, 2015
Auburn's Nick Marshall is ready with his fellow defensive backs before the snap at Wednesday's practice
By Charles Goldberg
MOBILE, Ala. — The easy thing was seeing athletic Sammie Coates impressing pro scouts with some nice catches at Senior Bowl practice.
Auburn receivers coach and Wednesday spectator Dameyune Craig was duly impressed as well. But another one of the six players representing Auburn here caught his eye, too.
"I think Nick had about three or four break-ups. He looked really, really natural," Craig said. "He was able to jam the guys at the line of scrimmage, undercut the routes, run with them and use his length at times to bat balls down. It was quite surprising to see Nick play so well today."
Craig was able to see all six Auburn players in the Senior Bowl: Coates, Marshall, center Reese Dismukes, defensive lineman Gabe Wright, receiver C.J. Uzomah and running back Cameron Artis-Payne.
Marshall, whose trademark cool made him an effective quarterback at Auburn, shrugged off his day.
"I've just got to keep going through my progressions each day and keep working on my craft," he said. "I was better than yesterday. That's the only thing that matters."
Coates, the receiver, lined up against Marshall, the defensive back a time or two Wednesday.
"It felt weird going against my old quarterback," Coates said. "But at the same time, we've both got to get work and we've both got to get better."
Coates also said Marshall was better in Day 2.
"He did well today in one-on-ones. I'm pulling for him," Coates said.
• Dismukes and Wright were on opposite sides of the line in some team drills.
• Many of the passing plays were simply go long. Coates and Uzomah did just that.
• Craig knows the Senior Bowl. He has the distinction being the last Auburn quarterback to be named the MVP in the game. He won it in 1998.
"We've got Jeremy Johnson coming along in a couple of years. He'll probably break it," Craig said.
Craig, Stan White and Pat Sullivan are the last three former Auburn quarterbacks to be named the MVP. Defensive end Dee Ford was named the MVP last year.
• Auburn is keeping one of its big-play receivers. Duke Williams announced in December he's returning for his senior year.
"Duke is a competitor. He would not have come back if he didn't have his mind on being great," Craig said. "One of the things he talked about in private is, 'Coach, we have some unfinished business.' And what he meant was he wanted to come back to Auburn to win a championship and graduate."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: