March 20, 2014
Redshirt freshman Peyton Barber is competing with Cameron Artis-Payne and Corey Grant at running back (Todd Van Emst photo)
AUBURN, Ala. – Redshirt freshman Peyton Barber is bigger, stronger and faster. And he’s ready to compete to be the starting running back.
Barber, from Alpharetta, Ga., spent most of last season practicing with the scout team and working under the watchful eye of strength and conditioning coach Ryan Russell.
“It was helpful,” Barber said Tuesday after Auburn’s second practice of the spring. “But I’m glad it’s over.”
With the redshirt year behind him, he’s competing with senior Cameron Artis-Payne and junior Corey Grant.
Barber, 5-foot-11, weighed 205 pounds when he arrived last summer. He weighed 225 when the Tigers started practice on Tuesday. He was fast when he arrived, and he’s faster now.
“I’m very excited,” Barber said. “I’m excited for what the future has in store. I feel like I’m doing all right. I always start off kind of slow, but I think I’m doing pretty well.”
Last season, Barber went to work with the scout team at his own request.
“I wasn’t really getting any reps,” Barber said. “I was getting tired of sitting there all practice and not really doing anything. Why not go get better against the ones? I feel like it definitely helped me out a lot.”
-- Phillip Marshall
Lashlee feels good about Auburn’s offensive line
Rhett Lashlee says "you expect some sort of drop" losing a player such as offensive tackle Greg Robinson to the NFL, but the offensive coordinator still feels good about his offensive line.
"I really don’t think it will be a huge, noticeable difference," Lashlee said after Thursday’s practice. "One thing is you have four returning guys. You would hope all four of them are better, so that makes your line better. Then you look at Shon Coleman, Pat Miller, some of the guys that are candidates for that spot, we feel like all those guys have the potential to play at the next level, too.
"Then you couple with them with J.B. Grimes. I have a lot of confidence they are going to fit in. Those guys got a lot of reps. Both Pat and Shon played last year so it’s not like they are true freshmen trying to break in.”
-- Charles Goldberg
Auburn wide receivers know how to work
Auburn wide receivers coach Dameyune Craig faces a very different dynamic than he did a year ago in the first spring practice for Tiger coaches. And he likes it.
“It’s not just that we came off a great season,” Craig said. “These guys know how to work. That’s the thing I enjoy most. We’re not coaching effort this year. We are coaching details, assignments, facemask on the ball, getting in and out of breaks. Last year I spent a lot of time coaching effort. That takes away from the teaching part.”
-- Phillip Marshall
Mincy wants to return punts
Senior cornerback Jonathon Mincy says he plans to have a big year and to be a leader in Auburn’s secondary. But he wants more than that. He wants to take over for friend and former teammate Chris Davis as Auburn’s punt returner.
“I went in and talked to Coach (Scott) Fountain,” Mincy said. “He’s going to give me an opportunity to win the job.”
Newcomers making progress on offense
Lashlee says he likes what he has seen from Auburn’s four offensive newcomers in the first two days of spring practice.
“When you look at D'haquille (Williams) and you look at Stanton (Truitt) at the receiver position, and you've got Chris Laye at the tight end/H-back and you've got a center in Xavier Dampeer, those aren't just easy positions to walk in and play,” Lashlee said. “They've done a really nice job. I think the older guys have helped them, but they're picking it up pretty quick.
“There's every now and then a bust here and there, but that's to be expected. But, for the most part, they're picking it up and they're doing some good things, all of them.”