Tyler Queen (above) is a no-go for the A-Day Game due to another injury.
Auburn, Ala.--Although two of the quarterbacks were “live” for tackling in last weekend’s scrimmage, all of them will be off limits to being hit by the defense for the A-Day football game on Saturday.
That was the word following Thursday evening’s practice from Rhett Lashlee, the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach for the Tigers after the team worked out for two hours in shorts, shoulder pads and helmets.
The Auburn coach said that senior Jeremy Johnson, redshirt sophomore Sean White and junior John Franklin are all still competing for a starting job and it is a long time until a decision will need to be made on who is at the top of the depth chart. Lashlee said to look for those three to share playing time with the first and second units in the spring game.
In last Saturday’s scrimmage Johnson and White were in orange non-contact jerseys. Franklin will be added to that list for the A-Day Game while redshirt freshman Tyler Queen will not participate after taking a blow to the shoulder in the previous scrimmage while being tackled.
Lashlee said the injury to Queen is not related to his Tommy John surgery, which caused him to miss the 2015 season.
“I think Tyler’s going to be okay long term,” Lashlee said. “He got dinged up, what was it last Saturday? He just fell on his AC (joint). I don’t anticipate anything that will require surgery, but he’ll be out through the rest of the spring.”
Commenting on Queen, Lashlee added, “He had been on a pitch count anyway, which is good that we never had to pull back or miss a day of practice so I think from a structural standpoint his old injury was good. I don’t think we’ve had any setbacks there.
“Knowing myself--I didn’t have an elbow injury but I had a shoulder injury--it is tough when you’re coming back and you may be healthy and not hurt, but it just feels different. There’s a lot of confidence and hurdles you have to overcome. I think he was getting better as spring went on. He wasn’t where he wanted to be, but he was getting better.
“It’s a run of bad luck for him. It’s a different injury and it’s hopefully not near as severe. I know he was disappointed. He was excited to play last Saturday and hopefully this Saturday and showed he was improving.”
Asked what he wants to see from the offense when he evaluates the spring game, Lashlee said, “I want to see toughness. I want to see some guys play with physicality and toughness like Auburn expects and like we have done for a long time when we have been successful.
“Tempo is something we have really stressed,” the coach said. “Obviously, we have to make some plays to have some tempo. We want to play faster. Even when we are not snapping it at a faster clip just seeing our guys flying around and playing faster.
“We want to see some guys make some plays and that is the bottom line,” he said. “We have put a lot of emphasis on that.
“Spring games are tough, it is hard to get a fair evaluation on anybody in a spring game--not necessarily an individual, but teams,” Lashlee added. “Everyone does them differently. You want to do a good job for the fans. You want to have a reward for the players and let them go play, but all of our games are on TV, every opponent we play is going to be recording it so both sides are going to be pretty vanilla.
“We have also been going against each other for 15 days, or 13 days, so if you are really simple and the offense knows what the defense is going to do, and the defense knows what the offense is going to do, it can get tough sometimes to show exactly where everything is at and that’s okay.
“The biggest thing for us is can we come out of it healthy,” the offensive coordinator said. “Can our guys play tough and extremely physical and can we have some guys make some plays? That is what I am going to be looking for.”
In other news and notes:
*Kickoff for the A-Day Game is set for 3:05 p.m. CDT on Saturday and it will be televised live by the SEC Network. Tickets for the game are $5 and will be on sale beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday at Auburn Arena and 1 p.m. at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
*The Tiger Transit shuttles that are used for regular season games will be in service on Saturday starting at 11 a.m. and are free of charge. Buses drop off riders going to the stadium on War Eagle Way (by the Village Residence Halls). Buses line up along War Eagle Way in order to return fans to game day stops.
The off campus pickup points are Duck Samford Park and Village Mall. On-campus stops include the Facilities Division parking lot on Samford Avenue, the intersection of Lem Morrison and Donahue Drive, the West Parking Lot on West Thach Avenue and the Community Gardens on Samford Avenue. AU officials say that the shuttles will no longer use the Biggio Drive turnaround behind the coliseum.
*New defensive coordinator Kevin Steele said a major point of emphasis this spring has been to avoid giving up big plays in the passing game and for the most part the coach has been pleased with what he has watched. He noted that Auburn’s new secondary coach, Wesley McGriff, has been getting that point across to the cornerbacks and safeties.
“The thing they have done is we are communicating well,” Steele said. “Coach McGriff has done a really, really good job technique-wise with them. We’re keeping things underneath us.”
Steele added, “If you do that in this league you’ve got a chance.”
*McGriff inherited one of the top young cornerbacks in the country, Carlton Davis, who earned All-SEC Freshman honors last season.
“He has got the length and size for the position,” the coach said. “That is one thing you really welcome for the position for a guy who has height and speed like he has. He has really improved on his attention to detail. He loves the game and he is so competitive.”
*The starter at the other cornerback spot is a competition that may go on until close to the season opener with redshirt freshmen Javaris Davis and Jamel Dean in the mix this spring. When preseason drills start in August the Tigers should have fifth-year senior Josh Holsey back from injury.
“He is really, really smart,”?McGriff says of Holsey, a former starter at cornerback as well as safety. “We will get him in the best position where he can help us win football games.”