Auburn took to the practice field Monday for the first time under coach Hugh Freeze and for the first official time under the new coach at the Woltosz Football Center.
The Tigers opened spring practice on Monday afternoon, the first of 15 practices over the next six weeks leading up to the spring game’s A-Day on April 8. Local media were allowed to watch 20 minutes on day 1 of work, they give the first one. See the Tigers as they enter a new era under Freeze.
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During this 20-minute period, Auburn worked on the individual ranking. Like last year, the media was asked not to report on any injuries or absences, employees and wisdom from work. Dareze will address those later Monday afternoon, when he holds his first press conference of the summer shortly after 6 p.m.
With that said, here are a few observations from Day 1 of summer practice:
– The offensive line worked on three teams with position coach Jake Thornton in the early part of the season. The first unit, from left to right, featured Dillon Wade at left tackle, Tate Johnson at left guard, Avery Jones at center, Kameron Stutts at right guard and Gunner Britton at right tackle. It’s no big surprise that the Tigers’ three additions — Wade (Tulsa), Jones (ECU) and Britton (WKU) — are getting some first-team reps.
– The second group across the offensive line, from left to right, includes walk-on Evan Richards, Jeremiah Wright, freshman Connor Lew, EJ Harris and Izavion Miller. The third rotation saw Colby Smith, freshman Bradyn Joiner, Cort Bradley, freshman Clay Wedin and Garner Langlo.
– Cadillac Williams worked with running backs on footwork and ball protection in the first half. Jarquez Hunter started practice, followed by sophomore Damari Alston, USF transfer Brian Battie, Sean Jackson, Justin Jones and Luke Reebals.
– The quarterbacks worked with wide receivers and tight ends during the first part of the season. Both quarterbacks took repetitions at the same time, with pairs of receivers running in different directions. Robby Ashford and TJ Finley are the starting quarterbacks, followed by redshirt freshman Holden Geriner and walk-on Sawyer Pate.
— The first two receiver combination consists of Camden Brown and Ja’Varrius Johnson, and Koy Moore and Nick Mardner. FIU transfer tight end Rivaldo Fairweather also rotated with that first team. Tar’Varish Dawson and Landen King were in the secondary rotation, with King working at the X receiver spot on the outside and Dawson in the slot.
— This should be obvious, considering he’s listed at 6-foot-6, but Mardner’s height is very visible there. Fairweather, listed at 6-foot-4 and 251 pounds, is a big target who should add new energy to Auburn’s offense. Brown, who switched from No. 17 to No. 4, looked as impressive as he did last fall. It will be interesting to track the number of events that have become this holiday season.
–Jay Fair made a nice one-handed catch on the way to the sideline that was answered by offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery.
– Wesley McGriff spent the season working with Auburn’s cornerbacks, while Zac Etheridge focused his time on defense. The two will work together to train the defenders this season, but it will be interesting to see how they split their duties this season.
– Nehemiah Pritchett, DJ James and JD Rhym are the starting three corners in the rotation with McGriff.
– Jaylin Simpson and Sion Puckett lead the rotation at safety with Etheridge’s group, with Cayden Bridges and Marquis Gilbert behind them. Caleb Wooden also turns up with these types.
— Josh Aldridge worked with the linebackers in pairs during individual training. Wesley Steiner and Eugene Asante are paired together. Cam Riley and Ole Miss transfer Austin Keys are included. Jake Levant and Robert Woodyard Jr. they are joined together. Powell Gordon and Desmond Tisdol joined, and LSU transfer DeMario Tolan was paired with Kameron Brown.
— Former police officer John Samuel Shenker participated in the exercise.
Tom Green is an Auburn reporter for the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Tomas_Verde.
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