Young Back Home At Tackle

Avery Young talks about being back at offensive tackle for the Tigers in spring practice.

Auburn, Ala.--As Auburn was preparing to face Wisconsin in the Jan. 1 Outback Bowl, offensive lineman Avery Young said that he thought his future was going to be at guard for the Tigers with Shon Coleman and Patrick Miller both expected back in 2015. When Miller declared early for the NFL Draft it changed things in a hurry for Young and that he was once again back at right tackle for the Tigers when they opened spring practice on Tuesday.

Trimmed back down to just over 300 pounds to make sure his quickness and explosion is there to take on athletic pass rushers on the edge, Young said making the move back is fine with him.

“I love it,” Young said. “I don’t feel like I missed a step on it.”

With the veteran young on the right side and Shon Coleman back as the starter at left tackle the Tigers are in good shape as spring practice gears up. While Young has worked through the growing pains already of a young player stepping into life in the SEC, it’s something that Coleman dealt with last season.

Even though there were some good things from the big redshirt junior, Coleman struggled at times, but Coach Gus Malzahn said that’s to be expected when you’ve had as much down time as Coleman has had. With a year under his belt, Coleman is primed for a big year his coach believes.

“Shon did some very good things last year, but it was his first real football in four years,” Malzahn said. “We truly believe that after he got that year under his belt -- the experience that goes with it -- that he’s a very smart individual. He’s very strong; he’s very talented. Now he will be able to just loosen up and play. We really believe he has a chance to be a really good left tackle in this league.”

Miller isn’t the only guy missing from the offensive line as four-year starter Reese Dismukes and three-year starter Chad Slade are also gone, leaving Young as the most experienced player of the group for the Tigers. Because of that he said that taking on a bigger leadership role is something he’s working on during the 15 practice days this spring.

“I’m still myself,” Young said. “I’m not that loud, rowdy type of person, but when I see a guy that needs help, I’m able to help him now because I know the game so well now.

“It’s amazing how much more I know,” he added. “I just know more about the game and know about this whole team and offense and how to execute in the game and handle myself in certain things.”

Avery Young blocks against Alabama last season

Leadership has to come from all levels on a football team and offensively that starts with the quarterback position. Expected to take over the role as the starter this season provided he wins the job in spring practice, Jeremy Johnson said he’s working on his skills as a leader as well and it’s something Young said he’s seen from the talented junior as well as the hard work he’s put in to prepare for the moment.

“I don’t think he’s changed at all, really,” Young said of what he’s seen from Johnson. “I know he’s taking the job real serious right now and trying to do what he got to do to get things done for us.

With Grimes’ penchant for moving guys around to take a look at different combinations on the offensive line during spring practices and early in fall camp, there is a chance Young could once again wind up playing guard before everything is said and done. While he said he’ll do whatever it takes, Young is hoping this move back to tackle is his last.

“I’m not going to jinx myself by saying anything because there’s no telling what could happen these next few weeks,” Young said. “I’m just enjoying it while I can.”

Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories