By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- Looking for something new in Auburn's offense? Try the wide receivers. Offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee did, and has come up with this:
"We don't have one guy starting at a position he played last year."
And, with that, Auburn heads into Saturday's 8 p.m. season-opener against Clemson feeling good about a new-look offense that has Sean White at quarterback, a mix of veteran and freshman receivers on the depth chart and a backup kicker-turned wideout who may start.
Sophomore Will Hastings, who practiced at wide receiver but mostly served as the backup kicker last season, may get one of the first calls on opening night.
"There's a chance," Lashlee said.
Freshman receivers Nate Craig-Myers, Kyle Davis and Eli Stove are likely more familiar than Hastings to recruiting aficionados. The freshmen are already listed as second-teamers and figure to play Saturday after impressing new receivers coach Kodi Burns this offseason.
The four players listed as starters at receivers, should Auburn have four wide receivers on the field at the same time, are either Hastings or sophomore Stanton Truitt at one spot; and senior Marcus Davis, sophomore Ryan Davis, and redshirt freshman Darius Slayton.
Lashlee said the freshmen have "earned that right" to be on the depth chart.
"But, at the same time, they've got to go out on the field and prove it when they get their opportunities. Then we've got a mix of veteran guys. Some of those guys are playing either multiple spots or different spots."
Auburn wide receivers? 'We don't have one guy starting at a position he played last year,' says Rhett Lashlee. Video pic.twitter.com/n1OMDl67qE
— Auburn Gold Mine (@AUGoldMine) September 1, 2016
The experience starts with Marcus Davis, who had 30 catches for 181 yards last season and started last season at a different position. Truitt had one catch for 13 yards. Other returning receivers are Tony Stevens, 11 catches for 177 yards; and Jason Smith, 13 catches for 177 yards.
Shall we meet the new receivers?
Craig-Myers had 1,018 yards and 16 touchdowns receiving last year at Tampa Catholic. Stove had 1,878 yards and 22 touchdowns receiving his career in Niceville, Fla. Kyle Davis had 1,499 yards and 178 touchdowns in his career at Archer High in Loganville. Ga.
Oh, and Hastings? He had more, as in 2,040 yards as a senior at Pulaski Academy in Little Rock.
Lashlee said the receiving corps is a "a good mix."
"You look at Marcus, he's our most veteran guy. He's done it the most in a game so from a trust standpoint, he has the most with us. Ryan, since the spring, has earned the right to go out there first. A lot of the guys behind them have size.
"All those guys will get the opportunity and see who has the hot hand and who can be consistent. We feel like those guys can do that, but the bigger guys are pretty athletic too."
The first quarterback who will try to get them the ball is White, who was named the starting quarterback last Thursday. Lashlee said White has seized the role.
"I've liked the way he's carried himself. There's just a natural sense of confidence that comes with that, when you know you're the guy and you can kind of have that release to go ahead and prepare that way," Lashlee said. "He's done a nice job. Really, all those guys have done a good job this week with the level of focus and attention to detail. We've just got to carry it over to the field."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine