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Auburn's offense rebounds in second scrimmage
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn says the offense rebounded Saturday after the defense controlled Monday's first preseason scrimmage.
Aug. 12, 2017

By Jeff Shearer

AUBURN, Ala. - In a scrimmage designed to showcase newcomers, Auburn’s offense delivered explosive plays Saturday, with all three quarterbacks throwing touchdown passes.

“The offense did a good job today,” coach Gus Malzahn said. “I thought they rebounded from the last scrimmage.

“Our No. 1 goal today in our scrimmage was to give our true freshman a real look, to see where they are on special teams, offense and defense, to see the guys who are going to have a chance to help this year. Also, the emphasis was on some veterans we feel like have improved, really give them a good look, see what they can do.”

Auburn’s defense, Malzahn said, also had its share of highlights, with a safety and an interception.

“Our first-team defense was missing some guys, by design, to get some of these guys who are older to get an opportunity to show what they can do, and the freshmen, too.”

Auburn’s quarterback competition continues. Malzahn says personnel meetings with assistant coaches will focus on clarifying roles on first and second teams.

“He [Jarrett Stidham] has done a lot of good things. He’s a talented young man,” Malzahn said. “I’ve been very impressed with Sean White. If you ask Chip [Lindsey, offensive coordinator], Sean’s like a coach on the field. He knows the offense inside and out.”

Freshman Malik Willis also provides the quality depth Malzahn has mentioned frequently this summer.

“He’s a guy I’m really happy with,” Malzahn said. “He’s been throwing the ball very well. He can extend plays. He can really run. He’s one of our best athletes on our team. The depth at our quarterback position has really been confirmed, and I know Chip would say the same thing.”



Auburn’s receivers showed big-play ability during the second preseason scrimmage, Malzahn said.

“I thought the young receivers really responded well,” he said. “A couple of them made something happen after they caught the ball, broke some tackles. It’s just a matter of that group taking that next step. Today, as a group, I was pleased with them.”

Punter Ian Shannon also responded to Malzahn’s challenge, making a case to earn the starting position.

“He had a good day today,” Malzahn said. “I was really happy for him.”

Auburn’s preseason camp is longer than in previous years, with the elimination of two-a-days and the addition of more non-practice days.

“Our guys, they come ready to practice,” Malzahn said. “We’ve not had any of those days that we had to give them a pep rally. It’s been hot out there, that’s good, getting used to it. That mental and physical toughness, that edge that we always talk about. This is part of it. I’ve been really pleased with the way our guys responded. They’re hungry. I said that before we started, and I still feel that way right now.”

With two weeks down and three weeks to go before the Sept. 2 season opener against Georgia Southern, offensive lineman Mike Horton says the energy level remains high.

“Every day we come to our meeting, [Coach Malzahn] has our goal up there,” Horton said. “It’s SEC Championship first. We all see that, and I feel like that motivates us a lot.”

Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:

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