With so many returning players who started or played a lot as backups last fall, this season's team will be more experienced than the 2011 group. One of the things to watch is the level of enthusiasm from the players with new coordinators coaching them on both offense and defense.
I have never been one who felt like change was not good for a coaching staff. It brings in new enthusiasm and makes everybody a little more alert. It keeps you on your toes.
I talked to Coach Larry Blakeney from Troy for a long time recently and he is going through some transition on his staff. College football has a way of going in cycles, and what happens is you get to where you assume things are going to get done like they have always been done when you have been at a place 10 or 12 years. That's not the way life is. You can't assume anything.
You know you have got to oversee it every day and make sure that it is being done properly. It is awful easy to sit back and think it is going to get done if you've got confidence in people working for you so this will be an exciting spring for Auburn people with Brian VanGorder in charge of the defense and Scot Loeffler directing the offense.
I know the Auburn fans are looking forward to watching this team develop this year and I am, too. I know the Tigers have talent. The team may not have the best players at every position, but there are enough players at Auburn to win.
To make sure that happens this is an important spring practice coming up for the new coaches to evaluate the talent on hand and see what changes, if any, are needed in personnel.
It will be important to get the schemes in and established, both offensively and defensively, in the 15 days of spring practice so the Tigers can go into the summer ready to hit the ground running when preseason practice begins in August.
Auburn plays in a conference and a part of the country where there are a lot of good teams and a lot of talented players. The Tigers will need to be ready to perform at a high level early in the season because there is a lot of take-no-prisoners football being played in the SEC.
The Tigers get into conference play in game two on the road at Mississippi State, but before that they will play a Clemson team that beat them last year. I am really looking forward to that game and hope the Auburn players and coaches are, too. I didn't like some of the comments that were made after the Auburn-Clemson game over there last year. I think that if I were an Auburn player or coach I would have a little extra incentive for the opener.
(If you have a question or a subject you would like me to write about in future columns, you can email it to PatDye@autigers.com.)
Editor's Note: This is part of a series of columns that College Football Hall of Fame member Pat Dye is writing for AUTigers.com about the game he played and coached. An All-American player at Georgia and one of the top head coaches in SEC history at Auburn, he also served as a head coach at East Carolina and Wyoming. Dye participates in the Legends Poll, a Top 25 rating of the best teams in college football as determined by a panel of all-star former head coaches. Dye writes three columns for AUTigers.com--The Dye-Log, the Dye-Gest and Pat's Picks.