As a college football coach you often aren’t sure how your players are going to perform in a spring scrimmage like Saturday’s Auburn A-Day game, which I thought showed the 2015 Tigers are team with promise. A coach wants to see if his guys are truly excited to be playing or are just trying to get the day over with, which is something that is hard to look at for coaches and fans.
What I saw on Saturday was encouraging. I thought it was a well-played scrimmage and a nice crowd got a good idea of what to expect from their team this fall. I saw a lot of positive things on both sides of the ball from the first and second offensive groups as well as the first defensive group.
The body language on the field was good, which was particularly noticeable to me on the defensive side because in my opinion that is where the team needed to show the most improvement compared to last year. Watching the kids run on and off the field, getting lined up and chasing the football, I didn’t see anybody dragging around out there. That was impressive.
Other things that got my attention were the lack of penalties and lack of turnovers. Both can be issues in spring games.
I also thought the defensive front looked pretty good. Gimel President performed better than I have seen him play. Montravius Adams and Dontavius Russell had good games and it looked like Devaroe Lawrence made some plays for the second defense. The linebackers looked like they played pretty good, too, and as did the first team secondary.Although they didn’t have live punting the new guy (Kevin Phillips) did a solid job and I think Daniel Carlson is a really good kicker, which is very important.
A big deal to me is that Jeremy Johnson and Sean White didn’t throw an interception. Johnson’s stats were impressive, especially considering how little he played, and he looked like a veteran quarterback to me.
I thought the true freshman quarterback, Tyler Queen, did some good things, too. All three of them look like they can make plays and all looked comfortable out there in front of the crowd directing the offense. Queen plays with a lot of confidence for someone who should still be in high school, a kid who has only been on campus for a couple of months.
With dynamic quarterback Nick Marshall gone the offense is going to look different, but I think this group has a chance to be good and I can say that about the entire team. From what I saw this group isn’t going to be lacking talent-wise, although it lacks depth in the secondary.
It is going to be important to have a good offseason and preseason because the Tigers can’t afford to take their time becoming a good football team with Louisville their opening opponent and with LSU and Mississippi State also on the September schedule. Each of those games should be a real test to find out what type of football team the Tigers have got this year.