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'It's fun every day' - Auburn assistants enjoying spring football practice
March 28, 2017

By Jeff Shearer

AUBURN, Ala. - Surrounded by Heisman trophies, championship rings and memorabilia from Auburn's football fame, the coaches tasked with adding more hardware provided a progress report Tuesday.

Auburn's seven position coaches met with reporters in the Rane Room at the Auburn Athletics Complex, hours before the Tigers' ninth spring practice.

"I'm pleased with the guys and the way they're approaching it," said associate head coach Rodney Garner, who oversees Auburn's defensive line. "We've got a talented group. Somebody has to step up and say, 'I'm going to be that guy.'"

Like Garner, former Auburn football players Kodi Burns and Travis Williams are also coaching at their alma mater.

"They want to get better," said Williams, who coaches linebackers. "Last year, we were a question mark. This year, it's a strength. It's funny how 365 days can change. We're going to go to work like we did last year. It's fun every day."

Burns, like Williams, is in his second season on Gus Malzahn's staff. Many of the receivers Burns coaches, such as Darius Slayton, Nate Craig-Myers and Eli Stove, are also sophomores.

"An overall comfort, being comfortable now that you've been in college football for a second year," Burns said. "It's not really a shock to these guys and a shock to the body. Now, the game is starting to slow down to them."

Offensive line coach Herb Hand says Auburn is on track to reach its spring goals of installation, development and evaluation.

"Trying to evaluate the players individually, trying to evaluate collectively, and also trying to evaluate, 'What can our strengths be? What do we need to emphasize? What's going to help us be successful?'" said Hand, who says Auburn's line is building depth by practicing players at multiple positions.

"All of those are parts of spring practice, and they're all going really well right now," Hand said.

Tim Horton, who coaches running backs and handles special teams, said Auburn's 1-2 punch is ready for a repeat performance of 2016, when Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson combined to rush for 2,119 yards.

"I've been really pleased with our first two guys," Horton said. "Kamryn Pettway has really had a good attitude and great approach. Kerryon Johnson has had a nice spring practice as well."

Two new position coaches, Larry Porter and Greg Brown, spoke to reporters for the first time since joining Auburn's program.

"It's everything I imagined it would be," said Brown, who coaches the secondary. "I feel very fortunate to be here. There's been nothing that's surprised me about how great Auburn is. The resources, the people, the players, the tradition. It's everything I dreamed it would be."

Porter coaches tight ends and H-backs while serving as Auburn's recruiting coordinator.

"Chandler (Cox) has continued to make progress from a standpoint of being a physical, tough guy setting the tone and being the bell cow for that group," Porter said. "Jalen Harris is straining every single day. If you ask any coach on this staff who was here last year, they'll tell you he's better right now, a guy we'll be able to count on in the fall."

A Day

Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:



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