April 17, 2014
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- Some of Auburn's defensive starters this fall won't play in Auburn's A-Day Game on Saturday. They're hurt, hurt so much Auburn has barely scrimmaged all spring. But the injuries have opened the door for others, and they'll have a chance to impress Gus Malzahn again in the 2 p.m. game in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
"We’ve been a little bit banged up," Malzahn said Thursday, "but we know a lot more about our team than we did last year. We have a lot more information. So we’ve been able to accomplish a lot even though we haven’t had as many scrimmages as we did last year. We’ve still had some very good 11-on-11 work and been able to really coach up the finer points of our offense and our defense."
The offense has stayed relatively healthy, but the defense suffered another injury this week when end Carl Lawson went down. He's iffy for A-Day, and he's the 12th-or-so defender to miss all or part of the spring.
"You’re always as a coach looking to develop quality depth, and I think over the course of the spring we’ve come close to doing that," Malzahn said. "We’ve gotten better in some areas, but like I’ve said it’ll be good for our coaches to see some of those younger guys, how they react."
Malzahn also said…
•On whether he'd endorse quarterback Nick Marshall for the Heisman Trophy, as he did late last season:
"He ended the season last year as one of the better players and we expect him to even be better next year."
"I feel pretty good about where he's at. He's worked extremely hard and he's gotten better as well as Jeremy (Johnson) has."
•On Thursday's practice:
"The emphasis was on really just going back to the basics and cleaning up the things we needed to going into the summer. It was also some A-Day prep as far as that goes. Overall I thought our guys were excited to practice and had good energy."
•On A-Day's setup.
"We’ll have our offense on one sideline and our defense on the other sideline. There will be a little bit of special teams as far as punt-team and extra-point and field goals. Then we’ll have 12-minute quarters in the first half and then we’ll re-evaluate where we’re at for the second half. It will be a very similar setup" as last year.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine