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Attitude wins the day as Auburn wraps up spring practice
April 12, 2016

Defensive lineman Carl Lawson is in position on the final day of Auburn's spring practice
Defensive lineman Carl Lawson is in position on the final day of Auburn's spring practice

By Charles Goldberg

AUBURN, Ala.  And you thought Auburn's spring football concluded with A-Day. Not the case. The Tigers practiced Tuesday for the final time this spring, cleaning up some things, throwing the football around, having a race between defensive linemen Dontavius Russell and Antwuan Jackson.

And, more importantly, receiving some words of encouragement from their head coach.

"I just told them I like where they are as a group," Gus Malzahn said.

Malzahn said his final message was to continue to improve in the offseason after a spring practice that was used to build depth.

"That was really the big thing. There really wasn't one position that stood out. It was just the overall attitude of our guys wanting to be coachable."

The spring ended like it started for the quarterbacks. The race for the starting job between Sean White, Jeremy Johnson and John Franklin III will continue.

"I thought our quarterbacks did a solid job. They all improved, their footwork, their decision making and just getting more comfortable playing the position," Malzahn said.

They provided a mix bag in last Saturday's A-Day Game, limited, in part, by the fact they wore their non-contact orange jerseys. But Malzahn said the coaches learned a lot watching the quarterbacks in more serious scrimmages that came in the weekends leading up to the show in Jordan-Hare.

"Our quarterbacks went live, and that gave our coaches a whole lot," he said. "It was good for the defense, and it was great, not just for the quarterbacks, but the offense all together. We learned a lot in those scrimmages. But A-Day was good, too. There's something to be said, and especially for the young guys, is how are they going to respond in front of a crowd. Some responded well. Some needed to respond better, but it was good information for our coaches."

The defense allowed only two touchdowns at A-Day to continue a spring in which it received good reviews from players and coaches alike.

"Our defense responded to our coaches very well. They enjoy playing together," Malzahn said. "You can tell they got better during the spring, and I think they've got a confidence going into the fall. We've just got to continue to work and keep doing those things during the summer."

Oh, and the race between Russell and Jackson? There was good-natured claims of jumping the gun, an instant replay and another race just to make sure. Each, between the laughter, decided he was the winner.

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



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