Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Opening camp: Auburn
By Chris Low
Schedule: The Tigers’ first preseason practice is Friday at 5 p.m. ET. Their first day in full pads is set for Tuesday, while the first two-a-day practices are scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 8.
On the mend: Senior cornerback Chris Davis is healthy and poised to be one of the top breakout players in the SEC after battling injuries each of the last two seasons. He was slowed by a concussion last year and a shoulder injury in 2011. Offensive tackle Avery Young is also healthy. He started as a true freshman last season at right tackle for the first three games, but missed the rest of the season after injuring his shoulder. Young and fellow sophomore Patrick Miller are expected to battle for the starting right tackle spot.
Key battle: First-year coach Gus Malzahn won’t stray too far from the quarterbacks. There wasn’t any real separation in the spring between incumbents Kiehl Frazier and Jonathan Wallace, which means junior college newcomer Nick Marshall and true freshman Jeremy Johnson will join the competition this preseason. Marshall is a dynamic athlete who started his college career at Georgia as a cornerback. Malzahn admits that it won’t be ideal trying to evaluate four quarterbacks during camp. The Tigers will have to get it down to two pretty quickly.
Of note: Malzahn has had a different starting quarterback every year he’s been in college football, dating back to 2006 when he was Arkansas’ offensive coordinator. So this will be his eighth different starting quarterback in eight years.
Predicted order of finish: Picked fifth in the West at SEC media days.
They said it: “Everything that people loved about Auburn, we’re trying to bring that back, and we’re not far off at all.” -- Auburn defensive end Dee Ford