John Franklin (above) is competing for the quarterback starting position.
Auburn, Ala.-- Auburn began its spring practice last Tuesday and with three workouts under their belts the Tigers are in the early stages of coming together and forming as a football team.
“I love our attitude,” Coach Gus Malzahn after he watched his former players participate in Auburn’s annual pro day for NFL scouts on Monday. “I love our effort and our coaching staff. So far, so good. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but the overall attitude is really good.”
These early practices have been a chance for the January enrollees to quickly make their mark on the team. One of the newcomers, juco transfer defensive end Paul James, was expected to miss practice time this spring due to a stress fracture in his foot.
“He’s got a little, minor tweak,” Malzahn pointed out. “Hopefully, this week he will be back out there. (It’s) nothing major.”
A two-year starter in the secondary, Rudy Ford, has also been held out of practice due to an illness. “We’re hoping that both those guys will get to do some things this week,” Malzahn said.
Rudy Ford is one of Auburn's most experienced players and led the Tigers in tackles last season.
Auburn’s head coach said that junior transfer quarterback John Franklin is off to a good start and his looked “really elusive” in the first three practices. “I love his attitude,” Malzahn said. “He wants to be coached. He’s picking up things pretty quick. He is fast. When things break down he makes a couple of plays with his feet.
“Our other two guys, the two veterans, have really improved, too,” Malzahn said of senior quarterback Jeremy Johnson and redshirt sophomore QB Sean White. “It’s a good competition. I feel really good about the competition at that position, and I think it’ll bring out the best in everyone.”
Malzahn noted that his early approach this season is being “hands-on with the whole offense” and not just quarterbacks. “I’m going to do more of the offensive coaching and helping the guys,” he said. “I feel great about our staff, but that’s what I enjoy doing.”
The Tigers will practice again on Tuesday and Thursday before taking a 10-day spring break. Auburn’s A-Day is set for April 9th.