A spring game is not the time to unleash everything in the play calling bag, however, anything shown during A-Day 2021 will be completely new and refreshing to Auburn fans.
Fans will get to see Auburn under center for the first time since the Al Borges/Jason Campbell days. Of course we have seen AU under center but this time it won’t be a gimmick; Auburn will also be seen in a true huddle at times.
While staying vanilla, it will be obvious that multiple different schemes, sets, and strategies will be on the table for this offense.
In the A-Day game we should see different variations of the zone run game: Inside Zone, Outside Zone, Wide Zone.
Play Action will be prevalent and could come from any look.
12 (2 TE’s) and maybe even 13 (3 TE’s) personnel will be a normal look for the offense. TE’s are an intricate part of the offense and probably have the hardest learning curve.
Auburn will throw it around a lot. There will be Quick Game, Drop Back, Sprint Out, Back Shoulders, and whatever else. The goal in this offense is to have almost anything available.
For each position I will give a Power Ranking. This is an educated guess at who is leading the pack vs. who is falling behind based on knowledge from the inside as well as getting to see practice.
Bo Nix is the undisputed and unquestioned starter here. There are some things he’s got work on. I’m most interested in seeing his poise and mechanics in the under center play action game.
They’ve been working hard to get Bo to be fluid with his steps in the play action game... he cannot rush that. Think back to Jason Campbell and some of the longer developing play actions. His patience in the development of the play was key to the success of the play.
Bo Nix will have to slow it down and trust the play caller. We will see if he’s taking that coaching.
Grant Loy has been in and out with an injury but should solidify that backup spot and get some action in the spring game. I’d love to see him throw some intermediate and deeper throws.
D. Davis will get his shot to lead some drives and I’ll be watching to see how comfortable he is in his first pressure situation in front of fans.
Bigsby is the most polished player on the team. He will excel on the new variations of the Zone run game (Outside Zone, Wide Zone)
Shivers will get a good chance to show that he can be a multi-purpose back instead of a role player.
Devan Barrett is most intriguing right now as we haven’t seen him in action since the 2017 season. He is bigger, stronger, and possessing plenty of speed.
Adding Jarquez Hunter in the summer and possibly holding out another spot for a portal guy.. we will see.
Might as well start referring to Hudson, Canion, and Capers as “the big 3”. They will carry this receiver Corp in 2021
Jackson and Capers have been out with injuries, but they will be sorely needed to step up.
From the open practice, it looked as though the receiver group was having to take the most coaching—a long way to go for them right now.
Kobe Hudson is the clear front runner, and it isn’t close.
Canion is a wild card.. He was recruited here as a big body with strong hands and great leaping ability.. he will now be expected to run a full route tree and create separation.
Malcolm Johnson gets the nod over Ja’Varrius due to his size and speed—but it’s extremely close. They really want him to step up.
Ja’Varrius Johnson has gotten a lot of praise and I think it’s warranted. He could be a big time player with his route running ability; That is a huge asset to have in this offense.
Adding Tar’Varish Dawson and Hal Presley in the summer.
John Samuel Shenker
Interestingly, being in last place here doesn’t necessarily mean no playing time. This entire group will all get a chance to get on the field.
I believe that this position will be experiencing the hardest time with the new playbook.. They are all over the place with so many different looks, motions, and schemes.
JJ Pegues and Luke Deal were battling it out for alpha.. but Deal is alone at the top IMO. We know what Shenker can do.. but Deal as a blocker is a game changer.
Luke Deal is probably the best blocker on the team.. and that includes the OL.
Shenker isn’t participating in spring so he is at a small disadvantage but has proven to be sure-handed and good in the open field as a blocker.
Fromm is the one I’m most wanting to see.
Landen King could be the breakout star. Probably the highest ceiling as a receiver.
Brandon Frazier is working to find his niche in the offense.
Prince Michael Sammons
Alec Jackson is my alpha dog pick for the season. At open practice he was the guy helping younger guys and had multiple good reps in IZ pods against the 1st team DL.
Jackson and Manning are basically tied at the top.
Brodarius Hamm could easily be playing guard when the season rolls around.
I think Nick Brahms will do everything in his power to hold that center spot.
Keiondre Jones is strong in the run game, but still trying to refine his pass set.
Brandon Council has been out, but when he comes back, I feel strongly that one of the top 5 will be bumped down. Seniority doesn’t matter. Best 5 will play.
Brenden Coffey will have a say at one of the tackle spots.
Austin Troxell is a fighter, but he will have to turn it up a notch.
Tate Johnson has a bright future... He will be highly thought of as a back up.
Avery Jernigan could be the center at Auburn one day.. will have to wait his turn for now.
Stutts seems to have found a comfortable position in guard and could be on the 2 deep.
Garner Langlo could be a monster when he adds much needed weight.
Adding Colby Smith in the summer.
Daniel Foster Allen
Unfortunately Wright will probably be out most, if not all of the season. He was moving up the board.
Colby Wooden is the alpha here and it isn’t all that close.
Walker started to figure things out late in the season.. with some added weight he should be much more consistent. Gaining comfortability on the inside.
Truesdell is going to fit better at nose and won’t have to play near as many snaps.. that will benefit him.
Hardy is one who could break out at any moment. He’s got that elite frame and strong athleticism.
Butler and Burks are pretty close. Butler has major potential with his frame. Burks is a guy who won’t play a huge amount of snaps, but could be effective when he does. Reminds me some of Ben Bradley from the 2013 team.
Caleb Johnson makes plays when he checks in... can sometimes get lost in the shuffle, but I expect him to earn some snaps.
Lee Hunter is a beast in the making but he’s got a ways to go. Will probably have a wow moment and the go quiet.. consistency is the most difficult thing for talented newcomers.
How does it feel seeing Pegues in this lineup? Personally, I love it. The biggest unknown on the team. Can’t wait to see him in action.
Adding Ian Mathews, Tobechi Okoli, and Marquis Robinson in the summer.. potentially a strong group of freshman here. Lot of raw athleticism and great size... they will have time to develop.
Good looking group for spring that will have to continue to learn how to play in space. Big change for most of these guys.
Derick Hall is the alpha dog here, and may be the alpha of the entire defense as well.
Moultry ran with the 1’s at open practice and looks comfortable in that position.
Handy could be the freak here when all is put together.
Romello Height is one I want to see in action. He has the ability... does he have the physicality?
Keep in mind, this position is much different than the buck. They will be playing in space often. A true OLB.
Adding Dylan Brooks and Eku Leota in the summer.. Both are major talents and may have a say in the rotation sooner than later.
McClain and Pappoe are truly 1a and 1b. Those two will play multiple positions at the LB level and will not leave the field too often.
Chandler Wooten will also be well versed as he’s knocking off the rust. I like his versatility.
Cam Riley and Wesley Steiner are also very close and both should get some playing time. They’re the next guys up without a doubt.
Riley has added some weight and will be ready to roll. So much potential for him.
Steiner is one of the strongest people on the team.. I’m wanting to see if he’s retained his speed and quickness with the extra bulk.
Desmond Tisdol has been limited but he looks the part 100%. I’m very interested to see him in action as well.
Adding Joko Willis in the summer.
Roger McCreary is number 1 and nobody is coming close to beating him. An NFL talent.
Pritchett is highly regarded by the new staff and they like him at the slot corner—formerly known as the nickel. Having his speed and man coverage skills in that position will help the entire secondary.
Jaylin Simpson is one who can’t be denied. He will find his way onto the field but he won’t have the easiest path. They love his game and he can be an impact player as the 2nd or 3rd guy.
Kamal Hadden shows tons of promise and has a ridiculous wing-span. He will need some refining first, but wouldn’t be surprised to see him find a role soon.
Domio has been sidelined and while he is fast and talented, it is not a good time to be out. Competition is only getting better at this position.
I added Trey Elston, a walk on, because he stood out a few times at the open practice. He’s big and seemed to hold his own with the big dogs.
Adding A.D. Diamond and Dreshun Miller in the summer. Diamond, IMO was a true Diamond in the rough and Miller is going to challenge for a starting job—he’s that good.
Chris Thompson Jr.
Eric Reed Jr.
Smoke Monday is the stand alone vet and one who I think will be helped out tremendously in this defense. He will have the luxury to not be in man coverage often at all. He can be very effective in almost every other phase of the game.
Tennison—who I called a spark plug when he committed—is bringing some much needed energy to the safety room. He’s got a ton of burst and can cover the entire field comfortably. A budding star at AU.
Thompson was more than likely the perceived starter, and he will play often, but he’s one that needs to be in a similar role to Monday: not being in man coverage too often.
I consider Reed to be a wildcard.. he could play slot corner if needed and has good size with good speed. He’s one I want to watch closely along with Tisdol and Height. Just haven’t seen enough of those guys yet.
Ahmari Harvey has been a pleasant surprise to help with depth. I gave him a 9 in Football IQ and smart players have an advantage early.
Puckett is another battling injury and it couldn’t come at a worse time with the new staff evaluating much like with Domio.
Adding Cayden Bridges, Juwon Gaston in the summer.