Photo by Jason Caldwell

Coach Gus Malzahn Said He Liked What He Saw As Auburn Began Practice for A Sugar Bowl Matchup Vs. Oklahoma

The Auburn football Tigers put on the pads for a workout as Sugar Bowl preparations have begun on the AU campus.

Sean White (above) is back in action for the Tigers.

Auburn, Ala.--Gus Malzahn was an upbeat football coach on Wednesday evening as his Auburn Tigers were back on the field for the first time since their regular season finale on November 26th.

A major reason for his demeanor was a positive injury report that included first team quarterback Sean White being back to full speed along with the team’s leading rusher, Kamryn Pettway, who had suffered a strained quadriceps. White has not been full speed since being hurt (shoulder) in the Ole Miss game in late October and he did not play at all in the previous two games.

“Sean practiced the whole time,” Malzahn said. “Looked to me like he is 100 percent. He is ready to go and did everything the other QBs did and didn’t miss a beat while doing it.”

Also back at practice were senior wide receiver Marcus Davis, who suffered a broken collarbone vs. Georgia, and defensive end Byron Cowart, who had an emergency appendectomy in mid-November.

“It was great to be back on the practice field today,” said Malzahn, who put the Tigers through a full pads workout that included contact. “We went about 12 periods with our older guys just trying to get them back acclimated and some base fundamentals. I thought it was good. Our guys were very excited.

“The second part of the practice, it was focusing more on the young guys, whether they're redshirted guys, whether they are freshmen--just trying to work with those,” Malzahn said. “I thought it was good. Our guys were extremely excited to be on the field. They are very excited to be playing the Sugar Bowl against a very good Oklahoma team.”

The Tigers and Sooners will square off in New Orleans on January 2nd at the Superdome.

In other news and notes:

*Freshman offensive lineman Prince Sammons, who spent the entire fall rehabbing from an ankle injury suffered in high school, practiced on Wednesday and won praise from Malzahn.


Prince Sammons is a 2016 Auburn signee.

“He’s playing tackle,” the coach said. “We’re training him right now just to play tackle and have the ability to do both. He’s still in the early stages, but I really feel like these next eight practices will really help him and give him a foundation before we get to spring. He’s a very talented young man. He’s a strong guy. We’re very excited about him.”

*A player not available for the bowl game is senior defensive tackle Devaroe Lawrence, who is rehabbing from ACL surgery after injuring his knee in the Alabama game.

“Devaroe being a senior, that was a very tough blow,” Malzahn said. “He is an outstanding young man. He did a very good job for us this year. I really feel bad for him.”

*The Tigers are scheduled to practice through Saturday and will be off on Sunday. After that the schedule calls for practices daily through Dec. 22nd before a Christmas break and re-assembling in New Orleans on Dec. 27th.

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