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Mix and match: Auburn players trying multiple positions

April 1, 2014

Gus Malzahn offers some advice at Auburn's spring practice Tuesday (Lauren Barnard photo)

By Charles Goldberg

AUBURN, Ala. -- Auburn's Khari Harding is practicing as a linebacker and safety, and he isn't the only one getting a look-see at multiple positions this spring. 

"That's kind of one of those examples of mixing and matching and trying to move around a couple of the guys at a couple of the positions to see where their best fit in," said coach Gus Malzahn on Tuesday. "We'll see what happens at the end of the spring. He's got the ability to help our team." 

How so? "He's a big hitter." 

"You can see that off his recruiting film. And he's made some good hits so far." 

Others trying two positions? Kris Frost and Cassanova McKinzy are flipping their linebacker job; Montravius Adams and Gabe Wright have shifted from defensive tackle to end, at least for a while; and Deon Mix is practicing at guard and center. 

Malzahn got to see some of that in Tuesday's seventh practice of the spring, one that was devoted to work on the red zone, 7-on-7 and team drills. 

"I thought overall our guys came out and finished practice with energy. Our coordinators were pleased with the end result," Malzahn said. 

Malzahn also said after Tuesday's practice…. 

Junior college center Xavier Dampier had a chance to impress in the scrimmage.
"It was really good for him," Malzahn said. "He got in there with the first and second groups. He got a lot of reps, and that's what he needs. I thought overall for what we ask our center to do, for the first time in a scrimmage setting, I thought he did a good job. His execution will get nothing but better. He wants to be good, and that's a big factor." 

Former Auburn DB and current Arizona Cardinal Jerraud Powers was a practice visitor.
"We would welcome all of them. It's great to have, Jerraud Powers was here today," Malzahn said.  

"It's great for our current players to see former players, especially successful guys, come back and get the wisdom and everything that goes with it. 

"We had former players speak to our team numerous times last year, which is always good for our current team." 

Auburn almost passed the halfway mark of spring practice, and things are going well.
"I would say the coaches are able to go a little bit faster with the progression and teaching. I think that's the biggest thing. Coach (J.B.) Grimes, instead of coaching the first and second step, he's really focusing harder on the third and fourth steps. That's probably the best examples I can give you for all positions."

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:

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