Observations: What we saw at every position on the first day of spring practice
The Tigers started their new era Monday. Here's a position-by-position look at what all we observed from the opening viewing window.
RB Jarquez Hunter (Austin Perryman/Auburn Athletics)
From a purely on-field perspective, the new era of Auburn football is underway.
On Monday afternoon, the Tigers took the field for both the first time under new head coach Hugh Freeze and for the first time at the new Woltosz Football Performance Center.
And with more than 20 newcomers, eight new assistant coaches and two brand-new systems on both sides of the ball, there were plenty of fresh faces on the two full-sized outdoor fields.
Oh, and the open viewing window was a single, 20-minute long session instead of a series of short segments — or stretching. Everything is different now for the program.
We got to every position group over the 20-minute mark, spending half of the time watching the offensive field and the other half on the defensive field.
For this edition of the Observations, here’s a position-by-position look at what we saw. We’ll have more information on the opening day of practice in another newsletter Tuesday morning at 6 a.m. CT.
At the start of the window, offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery worked with the quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends in a pass skeleton drill. Montgomery put the Tigers through several different personnel groupings, including a bunch set and a stack set that featured a tight end split out wide.
Two quarterbacks went at the same time, one throwing to the left side of the field, and the other throwing to the right side. The first two quarterbacks, as one would expect, were Robby Ashford and T.J. Finley. The second duo was Holden Geriner and Sawyer Pate.
Those are the only four quarterbacks the Tigers have on their spring roster, as incoming freshman Hank Brown won’t arrive until the summer. And, by then, we’ll know if Freeze and Montgomery will want to add a new quarterback in the portal.
None of the quarterbacks seemed to really stand out above the others in the drill, although that’s probably to be expected this early in spring ball. There were good and not-good passes from each. I noticed that Ashford went off to the side to get some individual instruction from coaches when it wasn’t his turn in the rotation.
During the second half of the viewing window, the quarterbacks worked with the other two position groups — the offensive line and the running backs. The Tigers worked on snaps from the shotgun and the mesh point with the running backs on handoffs. From what I could tell, the snaps and handoffs were clean throughout.
RB Damari Alston (Austin Perryman/Auburn Athletics)
Speaking of running backs, the viewing window for them started with a footwork drill led by Cadillac Williams. Back at his old position group, Williams was playing close attention to the movement of his backs as they weaved their way through a series of pads.
We admittedly didn’t catch a ton of the running backs as we made our way around the fields, but here’s the order that they went in during their drills:
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