As a coach you realize it is necessary to spend a tremendous amount of time on the field figuring out which newcomers are ready to play while installing the offense and defense plus making sure the special teams are up to par. Then your players have to rehearse what they have learned, and do it time and time again, so they can carry out their assignments under the pressure of game days.
Spending more time on the field in the preseason practices than during any other part of the season, a team has to be fortunate to get through this month without suffering setbacks due to hamstring problems, knee injuries or something else. There are always going to players who miss practice time in preseason for health reasons. That is something that can't be avoided so in this era of college football in which the depth isn't what it used to be on most teams a little injury luck for a team that is rebuilding rather than reloading can go a long way.
In Auburn's situation I don't see how the transition could be going much smoother than it has so far when looking at what Gus Malzahn and his staff have done. The change in the atmosphere for the better with the program after what was a depressing season for everybody involved has been noticeable.
Also, from everything I can gather, the players and the new coaching staff are building good chemistry. The players seem serious wanting to get the their team back to where Auburn fans want and expect their program to be so there are reasons to believe we will see a more competitive team when the Tigers take the field on Saturdays this year.
From people who are around the players and know them well, they tell me that the Tigers put in a lot of hard work in the summer. What is even better, those workouts were just a continuation of what the players have been doing since beginning winter workouts back in January, which is the way things should be for a college football team that is serious about having success in the SEC.
I am excited about what is going on with Auburn football and I am eager to see the Tigers hit the field on August 31st to play the opener vs. Washington State. From talking to a lot of Auburn people, I would say I am not the only one who feels that way.
(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 writes three columns for AUTigers.com--The Dye-Log, the Dye-Gest and Pat's Picks.