What we learned from Auburn football's first practice of extended game week prep
Tuesday's practice shows there might be a little intrigue left at QB and some other positions on offense. Also, the Tigers reveal their three permanent captains for the 2022 season.
LB Owen Pappoe (Todd Van Emst/Auburn Athletics)
If you wanted a visual reminder that Auburn had moved on from preseason camp and into game preparation on Tuesday afternoon, the jerseys would’ve told you everything you needed to know.
Auburn’s practice jerseys are usually split into two colors — navy for offense and white for defense. On Tuesday, there was a third color in the mix, as the Tigers broke out the green jerseys.
Many of the players wearing the green aren’t expected to be in the two-deep this season. Instead, they’re scout teamers, serving important roles as Auburn gameplans for their upcoming opponents. As Bryan Harsin said over the weekend, Monday’s off day was important for getting depth charts and squads settled, and the proof was right there on the practice field.
Auburn is already getting ready for the season opener against Mercer, and a lot of the depth chart decisions have been narrowed down ahead of what will most likely be a public release early next week.
(The Tigers could announce a starting quarterback before then, but Harsin isn’t scheduled to speak with the media for the rest of the week, outside of an appearance on the in-house Tiger Talk radio show Thursday night.)
On Tuesday, media members were allowed to watch the first 20 minutes of practice — divided into four 5-minute periods — and then talk to the three new permanent captains for the 2022 season. Here’s what we learned during that time.
(Once again, this is a reminder that if you don’t see a particular player referenced in these Observations, there’s a really good chance that we can’t say if he was out there or not.)
QB Robby Ashford (Todd Van Emst/Auburn Athletics)
There might be a little bit of intrigue left at quarterback
After warming up in the first period of practice and working on handoffs with running backs — the order there is still Tank Bigsby, Jarquez Hunter, Damari Alston and Sean Jackson — in the second period, Auburn’s quarterbacks put the ball in the air for the final two periods of the viewing window.
The quarterbacks started out throwing the ball to the tight ends, working through a variety of routes that included short and medium outs, intermediate ins, deeper corners and those “flares” that Auburn runs after pre-snap motion in some RPO looks.
T.J. Finley continued to be the first quarterback up, and he threw the ball quite well — in fact, he didn’t have an incompletion during the two periods of action. But Finley didn’t take the first snap in every part of the drills.