Photography: Wade Rackley

Auburn Spring Football Practice Notes--Practice 3

News, notes and quotes from Auburn's third football practice are featured.

Kamryn Pettway (aboe) is getting practice time at another position.

Auburn, Ala.--One of the spring experiments for the Auburn football team is giving redshirt sophomore fullback/H-back Kamryn Pettway practice time as a featured running back.

With Kerryon Johnson out this spring after having shoulder surgery and Peyton Barber leaving early for the NFL, Pettway and sophomore Chandler Cox are getting carries as tailbacks.

“I am enjoying it very much,” said Pettway, who was a tailback at Prattville High School. He said it has been an easy adjustment. “It is like riding a bike,” he said.

“I am think I am going to do it a lot in the fall because Coach (Gus) Malzahn talked to me a lot about it in the offseason,” Pettway said. “He told me to be prepare, be ready.

“I missed it a lot and I am looking forward to it,” Pettway said of playing tailback, a position he is sharing this spring with Jovon Robinson, Roc Thomas and Cox.

Commenting on the team three days into spring practice, Pettway said, “We look pretty good. We still have some things to work on, but that is just going to come in time. Today we worked on our base runs and base passes.”

Pettway said his No. 1 role is still fullback/H-back, but noted the coaches want him to make sure he knows his assignments at tailback.

Pettway and the Tigers had their first full pads practice on Saturday at the football complex. Both defensive coordinator Kevin Steele and offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said they liked what they saw.

Steele said it is too early to have a lot of impressions about what type of defense the Tigers will have this season. “What we are trying to create right now on the third day--the first day of pads--so the first real day of football is to be a physical dominating group that plays with relentless effort.

“The thing that is the most encouraging at this point over the first three days is we’ve got a really, really good attitude and we have really tried to play with great effort on every play,” he said. “We are trying to create a culture where the other players in the group affect the guy beside them, you have to affect the people you play with. The simple version of that is if you are an older guy out there you demand the guys you play with bring effort. The technique stuff, the scheme stuff that’s a process that’s going to take some time. We have to go day-by-day with that, evaluate it and keep teaching.”

The biggest question about the defense this spring is how the Tigers will replace three 2015 starters.

“They’re an eager group,” Steele said. “There’s actually more bodies there in terms of guys who have instincts and understand the game. They’re good students of the game. They’re just young and inexperienced.

“We got to develop them fast, but that’s not something that has not been done before,” he said. “I’ve been coaching linebackers long enough, and of course, Travis (Williams) is doing a great job with them. He’s a good teacher. But it’s not the first time you’ve had to play inexperienced linebackers at all.”

The only experienced linebacker is junior Tre Williams. “Tre is trying to be what I said about affecting the others around him,” Steele said. “He’s trying to be a good leader and affecting the personality, the demeanor, the way we go about things. He’s working hard to do that.”

The Tigers will return to practice for workouts on Tuesday and Thursday before taking a 10-day spring vacation.

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