Monday Morning QB Column: Solid A-Day

It was a busy weekend on the Plains with the A-Day football game, softball and baseball taking center stage.

The play Jeremy Johnson (above) was one of the highlights of A-Day for the football Tigers.

Solid Saturday

There’s really no way to have a perfect spring football game because in the end one side of the ball is going to be pleased with its play and the other will be left with more questions than answers. While Auburn’s A-Day wasn’t perfect by any means, there were plenty of positives to take away from Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

On offense the quarterback competition looks to be all but done with Jeremy Johnson showing no signs of letting anyone else be Auburn’s starter in the fall. While Sean White did some good things and Tyler Queen showed glimpses of his talent, Johnson is on another level and should be fun to watch next season.

The same is true of the running backs. Roc Thomas, Peyton Barber and Jovon Robinson all have the talent to get the job done and while Robert Leff and Devonte Danzey both played really well, throwing Shon Coleman and Alex Kozan back on the first-team offensive line should give the Tigers another powerful front five, especially in the running game.

It was harder to tell as much about the defense, but the front four was active and that’s a good start considering Carl Lawson and Raashed Kennion both were held out of action. At linebacker the duo of Tre Williams and DeShaun Davis both made some positive plays. Davis was especially impressive after not playing for almost two full years following a knee injury that forced him to miss his senior season. Showing a knack for finding the football, Davis has a good feel for how to play the game and will help the Tigers in some capacity this season.

Needing Jonathan Jones to come back full speed to help out a thin group of cornerbacks, safeties Tray Matthews and Johnathan Jones along with reserves Nick Ruffin and Markell Boston give Auburn a solid two-deep heading into the fall.

Tough Weekend

A weekend that held so much promise and excitement for Coach Clint Myers’ softball Tigers instead turned into near disaster as it took three different comebacks in Saturday’s third and final game of the series against Alabama to avoid a sweep. Still in good position in the Southeastern Conference with last-place Arkansas coming in this weekend for the next-to-last conference series, the Tigers should still have a chance to win the SEC regular season championship when they travel to LSU in two weeks. While there is still plenty to play for the next two weeks and the rest of the year, the weekend was a disappointing one for a program that is still on the rise.

SEC Standings

Florida 13-4, 43-4
LSU 13-4, 40-6
Auburn 13-5, 41-8
Alabama 12-6, 35-10
Tennessee 10-7, 34-11
Missouri 10-7, 30-10
Georgia 11-9, 35-13
Texas A&M 8-8, 35-13
Mississippi State 9-11, 31-15
South Carolina 6-12, 31-17
Kentucky 5-13, 28-16
Ole Miss 5-13, 26-19
Arkansas 1-16, 15-29

This Week’s Schedule

Arkansas at Auburn
Tennessee at Alabama
Texas A&M at Florida
Georgia at Kentucky
LSU at Missouri
South Carolina at Ole Miss
Mississippi State at Georgia Southern

Job No. 1 Gets Done

In a must-win situation against Ole Miss, the baseball Tigers won took two out of three over the weekend against the Rebels to start the second half on a positive note. Just a game out of sixth-place in the league and with another winnable series coming up beginning Thursday night at Plainsman Park against Georgia, Auburn has a chance to take another step towards the postseason against the Bulldogs.

The biggest question for the Tigers moving forward is how well sophomore ace Keegan Thompson is going to hold up the rest of the season. Lasting just two innings on Saturday before being taken out because of soreness in his shoulder, Thompson has been a workhorse this season and it remains to be seen how much the last six weeks have taken out of him. Taking into account his 95 pitches in seven innings against Georgia Tech on Feb. 24, Thompson had thrown a total of 805 pitches in seven starts over 53 days before taking the mound on Saturday. Right now it looks like rest should allow him to get back this weekend and Auburn has to hope that is the case.

The good news for the baseball team is that the offense showed signs of life with first baseman Daniel Robert going 10-17 with eight RBI for the week. Damon Haecker finally got going as well with a 7-11 series against Ole Miss after entering the weekend hitting just .171 in SEC play.

Western Division Standings

Texas A&M 12-5, 35-5
LSU 12-5, 34-6
Arkansas 9-9, 24-17
Ole Miss 8-10, 20-20
Auburn 7-11, 25-16
Mississippi State 6-12, 22-19

Eastern Division Standings

Vanderbilt 12-6, 29-12
Missouri 12-6, 26-14
Florida 12-6, 31-10
Kentucky 8-9, 22-16
South Carolina 8-10, 25-16
Georgia 6-11, 20-20
Tennessee 5-13, 15-20

This Week’s SEC Schedule

Georgia at Auburn
Alabama at Ole Miss
Texas A&M at LSU
Mississippi State at Arkansas
Missouri at Vanderbilt
South Carolina at Tennessee
Kentucky at Florida

Program Moving Forward

Even though Coach Jeff Graba and the Auburn gymnastics team didn't come home with a national championship they have got plenty to be proud of after earning a spot in the Super Six for just the third time in school history and showing the program is one to contend with in the coming years.

With junior Caitlin Atkinson earning the two top finishes in NCAA Championship history for Auburn with an eighth place finish in all-around and third on the beam, the Tigers are in good hands moving forward with most of their key performers back after setting more than 50 school scoring records in 2015.

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