Where all 36 Auburn offensive scholarship players (for now) stand after spring practices
Here's our annual player-by-player breakdown of what we learned about the Tigers during spring ball, starting with a new-look offense.
RB Tank Bigsby (Todd Van Emst/Auburn Athletics)
While there’s been a lot of talk this offseason about Auburn’s depth situation, that doesn’t seem to be as much of an issue on the offensive side of the ball right now.
Everywhere except for wide receiver, that is.
Auburn had three dozen scholarship players go through spring practices in 2022, which was up two from where it was a year ago. The Tigers could use some reinforcements out wide — and the future of the offensive line is murky — but the name of the game this offseason for Bryan Harsin’s offense isn’t depth. It’s development.
Like we did here at The Observer this time last spring, let’s go through a player-by-player breakdown of what we saw and heard during the last several weeks on the Plains. Players who will arrive later this year are not included, and we’ll follow up with the defensive side of the ball in Wednesday’s newsletter.
Consider these post-spring scouting reports for each individual player, listed in alphabetical order by last name. If you were to ask “What’s going on with [Player X] right now?,” here’s our answer.
QB T.J. Finley (Todd Van Emst/Auburn Athletics)
Robby Ashford: Undoubtedly the biggest storyline coming out of the A-Day Game was the performance of Ashford, the Oregon transfer who won Offensive MVP with a 12-16 day through the air for a team-high 8.25 yards per attempt — all against the first-team defense. Ashford is learning a brand-new offensive system and has zero college experience, but his arm talent and ability to make throws on the run stood out in spring ball. The Hoover native felt like a wild card when Auburn picked him up. Now, he feels like a serious contender to start.
Zach Calzada: While the former Texas A&M quarterback might be the preseason favorite to win the starting job at Auburn, there wasn’t much to learn about him during spring practices. Calzada was limited in practices due to a shoulder injury he suffered last season, and Auburn played it extremely safe with him in drills. Calzada was able to get a lot of “mental reps” in the offense, and his experience with the Aggies should mean he will be able to get off to a fast start once he gets healthy for the fall.
T.J. Finley: After a sour end to the 2021 season, it was unclear what to expect out of Finley — especially after Auburn got two different transfer quarterbacks in the portal. But Finley showed improvement in spring ball and stepped up as a leader with his high volume of reps as QB1. Much like his predecessor, consistency will be the main thing for Finley. He made some great throws at A-Day, but he has to cut down on the mistakes. Still, Finley gained a lot from being the only Auburn quarterback with experience during spring ball, and that should lead him into a huge fall camp battle.
Holden Geriner: The longest shot for the quarterback job, Geriner most likely will be in line for a redshirt freshman campaign. But that didn’t stop him from shining at times in spring ball, most notably on the touchdown drive to close the A-Day Game. Geriner is learning a lot in a hurry as an early enrollee, yet his skill set — specifically the touch he puts on his passes — had teammates saying he will be “special” in time on the Plains.