Signals point to Auburn's Jeremy Johnson having a fine preseason camp
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. ― Jeremy Johnson and Carl Lawson have been two of the hottest names during Auburn's first three weeks of football practice, and they remained that way Monday as the Tigers began heading to their final two weeks of preseason drills.
Offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said Johnson, the quarterback, has had a fine preseason practice "and I expect him to get even better in the next two weeks." Defensive coordinator Will Muschamp said Lawson, a defensive end, gives offenses pause because they "have to account for him on every snap. The guy plays with a tremendous motor."
Lashlee and Muschamp each said during Monday's Tiger Talk radio show that Auburn is on track for the opener against Louisville on Sept. 5.
"I'm pleased with where we are," Muschamp said.
Lashlee said that defense has helped.
"It's been great. Their energy…they're so multiple… It's helped us for this first game," Lashlee said. "But the overall energy the defense is playing with, the way they're competing, has had our guys raise our level. I think we're making each other better."
Muschamp named much of his depth chart, giving them a nod for having a good preseason camp. One of those players, of course, was Lawson, who'll play defensive end and the stand-up Buck position in Muschamp's defense.
"He's a smart football player. He's just not a one-way player… he rushes the passer extremely well, and he's a very good run-defender as well," Muschamp said.
Auburn's defense has some injuries, but "nothing serious," Muschamp said, though said he would like to get safety Tray Matthews back from a nagging hamstring injury.
"I think we're on the verge of that right now getting him back on the field full time. He's been doing part-time duty the last week or so," Muschamp said.
That secondary has some experience, and some newcomers.
"We're in a much better place than we were in the spring," Muschamp said. "You take the emergence of (freshmen) Carlton Davis and Jeremiah Dinson. They have allowed us to be flexible with a guy like (transfer) Blake Countess, who is a really good football player. "
Lashlee said his offense has been "first and foremost" healthy. He said Auburn will switch to game-week practice when it returns to the field Tuesday, even though the game is two practice weeks away.
"We're excited to kind of get geared toward that game," he said.
Lashlee said he's Johnson's leadership and "he's taken it to a new level."
He also said he offensive tackle Shon Coleman "has taken a big step in the spring and the fall. Everybody knows his ability."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine