Auburn, Ala.--Opening the season against a quality opponent can offer college football coaches a lot of insight into their strengths and weaknesses moving forward into a season.
Auburn’s head coach, Gus Malzahn, said on Tuesday that his Tigers got plenty of information about the offense, defense and special teams personnel from their 31-24 victory over Louisville at the Georgia Dome on Saturday as they prepare for game two at home vs. Jacksonville State.
“We learned a lot about our team, we learned about some individuals and we learned a whole lot about the young guys,” the coach said.
Nine true freshmen made their Auburn debuts vs. Louisville. The group includes safety Montavious Atkinson , defensive end Byron Cowart, fullback/H-back Chandler Cox, cornerbacks Carlton Davis and Jeremiah Dinson, buck end Jeff Holland, safety/nickel Tim Irvin, running back Kerryon Johnson and linebacker Darrell Williams, whose action was limited to special teams as was the case with Atkinson.
“With the young guys you never know how they are going to react until you get out there in the game,”?Malzahn pointed out. “We feel good about our team moving forward and I think everyone saw the freshmen and the new faces actually play for the first time wearing an Auburn uniform.
“It is encouraging from the standpoint that we did some good things, and the things we need to improve on, we feel like they can all be corrected,” he added.
A total of 21 players made their Auburn debuts, a group which included redshirt freshman starter Dontavius Russell at defensive tackle and three transfers who started--center Austin Golson, safety Tray Matthews and cornerback Blake Countess.
Kickoff for Saturday’s contest at soldout Jordan-Hare Stadium is set for 11 a.m. with TV coverage on the SEC Network. AU’s director of athletics, Jay Jacobs, said on Tuesday the Tigers are on the verge of selling out each of their home games. He noted the only tickets left are ones returned by Ole Miss and expects them to be purchased prior to Saturday.