Malzahn Discusses Depth Chart, QB Battle

Comments from Auburn's head football coach and offensive and defensive depth charts are featured.

Auburn, Ala.--Announcing his post-spring depth chart and saying he is generally pleased with spring training, Gus Malzahn said the battle for the starting quarterback spot is a dead heat with junior Kiehl Frazier and sophomore Jonathan Wallace tied on the QB depth chart.

"Both of those guys are capable of running our offense," the head coach said, noting those players got equal reps in spring drills. "I will be curious to see their progress once we get to fall camp."

Malzahn said that his two high school signees, Jeremy Johnson and Jason Smith plus juco signee Nick Marshall, will have a chance to win the starting job in preseason.

"There is no doubt that is challenge," Malzahn said of having a newcomer taking the starting quarterback job. "They have got to have a good understanding--a good understanding of the receivers. There is a window of time whether it is two weeks or three weeks as coaches you have got to make a decision (during preseason drills).

"I know a lot of coaches will wait until the last day before to see who their starter is, but my experience is the earlier the better so you can start with getting everything that goes with being a leader and all of that."

The Auburn head football coach also noted that safety Demetruce McNeal is back in good standing with the team after missing the last week and half of spring drills. However, the senior is not on the coach's two-deep, but Malzahn said that McNeal has a chance to do that in preseason practice at either one of the safety spots.

McNeal was Auburn's second leading tackler and has been a significant contributor for three seasons.

The head coach had praise for all three of his scholarship tailbacks and noted that Tre Mason, Cameron Artis-Payne and Corey Grant are co-number ones on the depth chart. Artis-Payne was the offensive MVP of the spring game

Defensively, the big surprise on the depth chart is that sophomore Josh Holsey is number one at safety after spending almost all of spring drills at cornerback. He also played cornerback last season.

The Tigers wrapped up spring drills last Wednesday with their 15th practice. Malzahn's team will return to practice in August in preparation for the August 31st season opener vs. Washington State.

Malzahn said that despite him announcing a depth chart that every position will be "wide open once fall camp starts."

He added, "We have young guys coming in, we have junior college guys coming in. We actually have guys we feel like will improve--a lot of them will have a chance to improve greatly before we go."

Malzahn noted that the focus for the players is to finish strongly in the classroom this semester and then make progress in their offseason workouts while the coaches hit the recruiting trail. "Now the key is getting better over the summer," he said, noting the players will get a week and a half off after final exams before resuming their conditioning work.

"Overall, I like where our team is mentally," Malzahn said. "Coming out of spring we learned a lot of things from a coaching staff (stand point). I like where we are at. We have some work to do. As a matter of fact, we have a lot of work to do, but I like where our mindset is. I feel like our team is closer together and that was important."

Malzahn said he isn't ready to name a depth chart with his returners on special teams although he noted that returning starters Cody Parkey at kicker and Steven Clark as the punter are the obvious number ones. Both are seniors.

OFFENSIVE DEPTH CHART, POST-SPRING

Quarterback

10 Kiehl Frazier (6-2, 234, Jr.) or

12 Jonathan Wallace (6-2, 209, So.)

Jonathan Wallace throws a pass in the A-Day Game.


Running Back

21 Tre Mason (5-10, 196, Jr.) or

44 Cameron Artis-Payne (5-11, 208, Jr.) or

20 Corey Grant (5-11, 201, Jr.)


Fullback/H-Back

35 Jay Prosch (6-0, 247, Sr.)

46 Ricky Parks (6-4, 257, RFr.)


Tight End

81 C.J. Uzomah (6-4, 253, Jr.)

11 Brandon Fulse (6-4, 264, Jr.)


Flanker

1 Trovon Reed (6-0, 190, Jr.)

6 Ricardo Louis (6-2, 217, So.)


Ricardo Louis showed flashes of his potential last season as a true freshman.

X Wide Receiver

89 Jaylon Denson (6-3, 216, Jr.)

18 Sammie Coates (6-2, 201, So.)


Slot Receiver

4 Quan Bray (5-10, 183, Jr.)


Y Receiver

81 C.J. Uzomah (6-4, 253, Jr.)

11 Brandon Fulse (6-4, 264, Jr.)

82 Melvin Ray (6-3, 218, So.)


Left Tackle

73 Greg Robinson (6-5, 314, So.)

72 Shon Coleman (6-6, 294, RFr.)


Left Guard

63 Alex Kozan (6-4, 292, RFr.)

53 Devonte Danzey (6-4, 284, So.)


Center

50 Reese Dismukes (6-3, 290, Jr.)

65 Tunde Fariyike (6-2, 307, Jr.)


Right Guard

62 Chad Slade (6-5, 308, Jr.)

76 Jordan Diamond (6-6, 314, RFr.)


Right Tackle

51 Patrick Miller (6-7, 283, So.)

56 Avery Young (6-6, 313, So.)

Patrick Miller is a returning starter at right tackle. Malzahn said the sophomore made major strides in spring drills.


DEFENSIVE DEPTH CHART, POST-SPRING

Left End

95 Dee Ford (6-2, 238, Sr.)

13 Craig Sanders (6-4, 242, Sr.)


Right End

92 Kenneth Carter (6-4, 287, Sr.)

94 Nosa Eguae (6-3, 268, Sr.) or


Defensive Tackle

54 Jeffrey Whitaker (6-4, 307, Sr.)

50 Ben Bradley (6-1, 310, Jr.)


Defensive Tackle

90 Gabe Wright (6-3, 300, Jr.)

98 Angelo Blackson (6-4, 312, Jr.)


Middle Linebacker

17 Kris Frost (6-2, 231, So.)

5 Jake Holland (6-1, 243, Sr.)


Weakside Linebacker

30 Cassanova McKinzy (6-3, 245, So.)

18 Javiie Mitchell (6-2, 211, RFr.) or

10 LaDarius Owens (6-2, 248, Jr.)


Star

26 Justin Garrett (6-1, 214, Jr.)

27 Robenson Therezie (5-9, 202, Jr.)

Robenson Therezie began spring training at cornerback and moved to the new "star" rover position where he won praise from defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson.


Boundary Cornerback

11 Chris Davis (5-11, 198, Sr.)

19 Ryan White (6-1, 198, Sr.)


Field Cornerback

21 Jonathon Mincy (5-10, 191, Jr.)

3 Jonathan Jones (5-10, 172, So.)


Free Safety

9 Jermaine Whitehead (5-11, 198, Jr.)

24 Ryan Smith (6-2, 197, Sr.)


Boundary Safety

15 Josh Holsey (5-11, 195, So.)

31 Trent Fisher (6-1, 200, Jr.) or

28 T.J. Davis (6-1, 194, RFr.) or

12 Demetruce McNeal (6-2, 194, Sr.)



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