Auburn assistants give inside look at fall work

Aug. 9, 2013

RodneyGarner

Auburn's Rodney Garner takes a look at his defensive line (Todd Van Emst photo)


It was Auburn assistantcoachingpalooza Friday at Jordan-Hare Stadium. All the assistants, excluding the two coordinators, talked a little football with the media for the first time this fall.

Look for a bunch of detailed stories on the assistant coaches in the next few days, including this Friday, on AuburnTigers.com. Until then, here are some quick (and interesting) hits from the assistants: 

Coach Scott Fountain (tight end/special teams/H-back) says Jay Prosch will have an interesting role in the new offense. 

"We'll do a lot of things with him. It won't be a deal where he's just a blocking fullback," Fountain said. "Jay's a really good athlete, probably a better athlete we thought when we first got him to Auburn." 

Walk-on linebacker Gage Batten has been moved to back up Prosch at fullback. 

"He's a guy we hoped could be a Jay Prosch for us in terms of blocking. Early in camp, he struggled, but the last two practices he's come on. It's been a really good move for us.

I think he's really bought into that position. I can definitely see an opportunity for him to help us this year."
-- Charles Goldberg 

Coach Melvin Smith (cornerbacks) says Chris Davis continues to impress. 

"Chris does not have an interception in his career, and that's hard for me to believe because he's been able to intercept the ball in the spring and in fall camp. 

"It looks to me like the technique fits him. He's really bought in. He's got a really good understanding right now in what we're trying to get done."
-- Charles Goldberg

Coach Charlie Harbison (safeties) says spring standout Justin Garrett has continued to look good at the Star position. 

"He has a motor, which I like. He's a quiet guy that plays fast. Sometimes, you have to slow him down. I'd rather slow it down than have to push it." 

Harbison said the player who has impressed in fall camp is Jermaine Whitehead. 

"He has that quiet strength about him. I tell guys, 'Don't get bored by doing what is right. Don't try to go make a play. You do your job and the plays will happen.' If I'm a baseball player and I play outfield, I may not get a ball until maybe the seventh inning. But if something comes out there, I can't be asleep. You have to have uncommon focus one snap at a time. Then, when the ball comes, you'll make a play. Whitehead has that." 
-- Phillip Marshall

Coach J.B. Grimes (offensive line) said there was a "little separation" among his players in Wednesday's scrimmage. 

"The things we are really trying hard to do is identify and see who the best eight guys are. If you can find three guards and three tackles and two centers you feel like you can put in the football game, you are ahead of it. If you get more than that, you are really ahead of the game." 

He said tackle Shon Coleman "has a chance to be really good. Physically, God blessed him with a lot of ability. I noticed the other day Carl Lawson, who is really talented, gave Shon an inside move that Shon bit on. Carl went back outside on him. I call Shon an Avatar. He's so long. He stuck his left paw out and recovered.

"Coaching didn't have a dadgummed thing to do with that. That guy has some talent, and he's long. That impressed me. Not a lot of guys can do that. I don't think Carl had seen one like that in his short career."
-- Phillip Marshall 

Coach Rodney Garner (defensive line) says Jeff Whitaker has a leadership role. 

"He's a guy you can set your watch by. If I have to say one guy is the leader in my room, I'd say it would be him," Garner said. 

Garner stopped short of giving his group an overwhelming endorsement. 

"They've all had flashes, but flashes aren't good enough," he said. "We've got to be more consistent. We've got to improve fundamentally. There's no one at that level where we need to be at. If the guys continue to work hard and improve their fundamentals, we can be a very, very much-improved unit."
-- Charles Goldberg 

Coach Tim Horton (running backs) said he likes his running backs. 

"There are probably five main guys we're working with, but their attitudes have been terrific," Horton said. "I think we have a chance to be a really good group, and the best part is they're all underclassmen." 

Horton said he likes the look of freshman tailback Johnathan Ford.

"I think he'll be one of the fastest players on the team. He has shown the ability to make a play. He can run. He's going to have a good future here," Horton said.
-- Charles Goldberg 

Coach Dameyune Craig (receivers) said his players are "coming along pretty well. The guys had a great offseason and have come out with a great work ethic. 

"They're being physical and having a passion for the game. I'm excited about this group and the future of Auburn football with these guys."
-- Charles Goldberg