Aug 20, 2013
There's a lot of respect for Auburn coach Rodney Garner (Todd Van Emst photo)
AUBURN, Ala. -- Defensive line coach Rodney Garner, known for his tough and demanding ways, has the attention of his players.
They say they like him and trust him, but there is also a healthy dose of respect. And there is some dread of the consequences when things don't go like he wants. Junior defensive tackles Gabe Wright and Angelo Blackson talked Tuesday night about life with Garner.
"I would say this: We've all had our downs," junior defensive tackle Gabe Wright said. "We've had our highs, too. Definitely more downs. That's how you would want it.
"When we go into the meeting room, we pretty much know what we messed up on in practice. We just can't wait to hear it from Coach G. He never misses anything. That's what we need. He brings that toughness and accountability factor to this game."
Garner, Blackson said, emphasizes details and is not easily satisfied. In fact, he hasn't been satisfied yet.
"Coach Garner is emphasizing technique more than anything," Blackson said. "He wants us to get our steps right, hand placement, hat placement, pad level. I think he's emphasized that the whole camp, and has done a great job of it. Coach G brings great energy every day. He lets up."
New way of attacking on the defensive line
Auburn's defensive linemen won't wait around this season when the ball is snapped. They'll go straight ahead, trying to "create a new line of scrimmage."
"When you start off vertical with those first two steps, everything else changes," Wright said. "You can change the line of scrimmage. You can rush the passer off play action. Having that vertical mindset takes away a lot of thinking."
Wright said Auburn players believe in Garner and what he teaches.
"He works us hard," Wright said. "There's never a down day for us. He's been in the SEC. He knows how to get it done."
Offensive line is close
Gus Malzahn says he's still "mixing and matching" his offensive line.
"The good thing is we do have very quality depth," he says.
Depth or not, he'll have his starting five soon.
"When we get to next week, when we get to Sunday, all of that will be intact," Malzahn said.
-- Charles Goldberg
Adams turns heads with his strength
Freshman defensive tackle Montravius Adams has earned early respect from his teammates.
"He's a hard-nosed guy," Wright said. "We say he is country strong. He's a freshman and doesn't have that college build, but he's throwing around varsity guys. He's like we were when we were freshmen - slow mentally. But he's definitely a guy that is coming along."
-- Phillip Marshall
Monday was filled with an extensive injury report, especially from defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson. Tuesday, Gus Malzahn was taking a positive spin.
"Any time you have injuries that's opportunities for other guys," Malzahn said. "We're building this thing. If you have to play young guys early, and they may not be completely ready, it's good for the long term. We just need people to step up. It's always good to see people do it."
He said he hoped hybrid Star safety Justin Garrett, who has a foot injury, may be close to returning.
"He didn't practice today. We're hoping we're getting him back by next week," Malzahn said.
Defensive end Dee Ford will miss the opener. Malzahn didn't predict when he'd return.
"It's hard to say right now," he said.
The injuries prompted the move of freshman running back Johnathan Ford to defensive back.
"He's a phenomenal running back, but we need help in the secondary. You've got to have depth in the secondary. He played some in high school, and he's off to a good start," Malzahn said.
-- Charles Goldberg