Aug. 16, 2014
Justin Garrett is ready on defense
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Gus Malzahn gave a small glimpse of his depth chart Saturday, including the promotion of Daniel Carlson to triple-threat status, talked of a freshman quarterback who has looked good and the possibility of losing a starter on defense.
Malzahn said Carlson, a redshirt freshman, will be the starting punter, kickoff man and will be the field goal kicker after winning all those jobs in fall practice. Malzahn placed others on the depth chart, too, on a partial-scrimmage Saturday:
• Malzahn said "we're working through some eligibility issues" with Robenson Therese, the starting hybrid safety/linebacker at the Star position. He led Auburn with four interceptions last year.
Malzahn said "we should know more in the near future" about Therezie's status.
Malzahn said Justin Garrett is a capable replacement at the position, if needed.
"The good thing is Justin Garrett was a starter before he got hurt, and he was the MVP of our spring (in 2013)," Malzahn said. Behind Garrett are, among others, T.J. Davis and Mackenro Alexander.
• Malzahn said freshman Sean White is the No. 3 quarterback behind Nick Marshall and Jeremy Johnson. Jonathan Wallace, the No. 3 quarterback last season, has primarily been working with special teams in the preseason.
Malzahn said White "has really responded well. He's going to go into the season as our third quarterback, so we really wanted make sure he had a good feel for everything. He was very impressive.
"He's very accurate. Of course, we knew that when we recruited him, but you never know how they handle everything else that goes with the position, but I believe the couple scrimmages he's been live, he runs better than everybody thinks."
• Freshman offensive lineman Braden Smith is probably too good to redshirt, the coaches have decided.
"He's ultra-talented, he's everything that we thought when we recruited him. It's just a matter of learning the offense and the little details, but when you say block the guy in front of you, he's going to block the guy in front of him," Malzahn said. "He's still learning, but he's a very smart young man, and he really, I mean, I know comparisons now, but when Greg Robinson was a freshman, there's a lot of similarities."
• Malzahn showcased the younger players in a practice in front of a crowd of donors in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
"We still let a lot of our non-starter guys put the ball down and play, just to give them a one-last chance before school starts to show what they can do, to see who got better, who is ready to play. We gathered some really good information with that," Malzahn said.
• Malzahn, as he has most of the preseason, had his players on the field around 3 o'clock, which just happens to be when Auburn kicks off the season against Arkansas on Aug. 30.
"It was good for our guys to be out there in full gear, run around, feel the heat and everything that went to it," Malzahn said.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer on AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine