Coach Rodney Garner (above) races senior defensive tackle Devaroe Lawrence as they head for a drill at Tuesday's practice.
Auburn, Ala.--With 60 percent of Auburn's spring football practices completed Coach Rodney Garner said he is pleased with what he has seen so far from the group.
Garner’s defensive line group and the rest of the Tigers practiced for two hours on Tuesday in shoulder pads, helmets and shorts. The team is scheduled to work out again on Thursday and is expected to scrimmage on Saturday.
“Overall, the guys are working hard,” said Garner. “We have got three new guys out there. Two of them, the freshmen ( Marlon Davidson and Antwuan Jackson) actually practiced two times before the bowl game. Paul James is a new kid and he didn’t until we got back from spring break.”
Marlon Davidson is a freshman from Greenville High School, who was an Under Armour All-American.
James is a transfer from junior college who was still rehabbing a stress fracture in his foot when spring drills started on March 1st. The juco All-American has been through four practices with his new team.
Garner said the early high school graduates, Jackson and Davidson, have “a great opportunity to jump-start their careers” as they go through spring drills on the heels of winter workouts with their college teammates. “It has been awesome for Antwuan and Marlon,” the coach said.
Garner said it was encouraging how Jackson and Davidson handled the winter workouts they went through in Janduary and February. “That is a lot of mental development. We are trying to develop mental toughness and see who can be pushed, who can’t be pushed, the breaking points and all of that. I?think that is very good.
“I like it from the standpoint with the guys being able to adjust to college without the pressure of having to prepare for a game every week,” Garner said. “That is tough.”
Sean White (13) throws a pass in Tuesday's practice as Marlon Davidson (3) looks to defend the play.
The coach said when the early enrollees report for preseason practices in August they will be much better prepared to help them team than their classmates who arrived on campus during the summer.
“I have been encouraged and I think their teammates have been encouraged,” Garner said of the early high school graduates. “I think the staff is encouraged. You see some talented young men who are going be really good football players.”
Looking at the big picture with the defensive front this year, Garner said, “I am excited about the group and we are just trying to continue to get better.”