Jonathan Wallace has a new role at Auburn
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- Jonathan Wallace is out of the quarterback race, landing instead on special teams. But, don't worry, he still has a valuable role at Auburn, coach Gus Malzahn said Wednesday.
"He's got such a great attitude, and everybody knows that. He's a team guy from the standpoint that he is one of our leaders, but doesn't have an every-down, active role like most of your leaders do. But he does a lot of things to help us win."
Wallace was 2-2 as a starting quarterback in 2012. He played sparingly last season behind Nick Marshall and Jeremy Johnson, and would have been in that role this season, too. Wallace is a holder and more. He's on most special teams.
Malzahn was asked after practice about some possible trickery from Arkansas, Saturday's opponent. Of course, Wallace is a holder who is/was a quarterback...
"He is an athlete, and he can do some different things," Malzahn said. 'I know he's in the mix in just about every one of our special teams, whether it's punt return, punt team, kickoff, kickoff return. He's a very smart football player, understands the game very well."
Malzahn said Wallace gives Auburn "a lot of flexibility."
Malzahn also said...
"Solid practice... what stood out to me was our kids' focus. You can tell it's getting closer to the game. There was a high level of intensity, a high level of focus, and they were excited about practice, so that was definitely encouraging this close to the game."
Auburn is pacing itself to Saturday.
"The fact that we've got a lot of veteran guys helps with that. You've got to bring yourself along throughout the week.
"As it gets closer, that's when you've got to start programming your mind and your body. You've got to get rest."
More on the special teams...
"There's a lot of new people out there, and because of that, we tried to get better around those new guys. That's kind of been our focus. I believe last year we returned a kickoff the very first game and special teams is usually a huge part and we've been preaching it to our kids. They've worked extremely hard. They had a very good day of special teams today and they're usually big factors in first games."
Quan Bray is the top punt returner. Marcus Davis and Stephen Roberts will back him up.
"Quan is a guy that has a lot of experience and we're opening up with an SEC team. Marcus is a guy that we really trust, too, so we feel good that we've got some guys -- multiple guys -- we feel like can do it."
There's a 50 percent chance of rain Saturday.
"There's nothing better than experience and the fact that we went through a couple of those situations last year in the rain, the guys know how to handle it better, I would assume, this second time."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine