April 1, 2014
Sophomore Elijah Daniel was back in pads for Tuesday’s practice (Lauren Barnard photo)
AUBURN, Ala. – Sophomore defensive end Elijah Daniel finally wore pads again in Tuesday’s practice, the seventh of the spring for Auburn.
Daniel, a 5-star signee from Avon, Ind., was injured on the first drill of the first spring practice of his life. His high school did not have spring practice.
As a true freshman, Daniel played defensive end and moved inside in passing situations. He said he learned he needed to change his body to reach his potential. He worked overtime with strength and conditioning coach Ryan Russell.
“I’m going to be a lot better,” Daniel said. “I know I’m going to be a lot better. I’ve adjusted to how everything works. My conditioning is way better. That’s the biggest thing.”
Daniel said he learned valuable lessons last season from senior defensive end Dee Ford, who is projected to be a first-round draft pick.
“That’s the one thing I really look back on the season and recall,” Daniel said. “He was my roommate for trips. I learned a lot about how he got where he was. I’m going to try to utilize the same things he did to make myself a better player. He always said it starts with Coach Russell.”
Frost likes Harding’s move to linebacker
“He has good body size to play linebacker,” Frost said. “He’s fast and he moves well. His drops are really good. It’s good seeing him there. We get to learn from him at the same time he is learning from us. We are just glad to have him in our group.”
High school coaching clinic starts Thursday
Auburn’s annual high school coaching clinic is scheduled to begin Thursday and go through Saturday morning’s scrimmage. Some 900 high school coaches are expected to be on hand to hear from Auburn’s coaches and from some of their own.
Familiarity pays off for Auburn’s defensive players
For the first time in his Auburn career, linebacker Kris Frost has the same defensive coordinator for the second consecutive season.
During Frost’s redshirt season in 2011, Ted Roof was the defensive coordinator. Brian VanGorder took over in 2012, but was not retained when Gus Malzahn was named head coach. Ellis Johnson took over and is back for his second season.
“It’s hard,” Frost said. “When you first come in, you have an outlook on how it’s going to be, and it changes. When you are a freshman, you finally get the feeling you are adjusting to that coach. Then it changes, and it’s like you are starting all over again.
“The adjustment to these guys for all of us was good. We had a bunch of players that just wanted to get the job done and were hungry to make plays. It’s all about how much work you are willing to put in and how well you understand the game.”
Veterans lead the way for the offensive line
Auburn offensive line coach J.B. Grimes sees familiar faces all around. He sees players who played for a national championship.
“You know what they can do already,” Grimes said. “You know what they are capable of doing. I think that’s the biggest thing. You just went through 14 football games. If they’re not quite doing as well as they can do, you can call them out on it. If they’re doing about as well as they can do, you understand.”