Photo by Jason Caldwell

Braden Smith Getting A Look Outside at Tackle In Auburn Spring Drills

Auburn opened spring football practice with one of its key players at a different position.

Auburn, Ala.--A starter at right guard last season, Braden Smith opened Auburn's spring football practice on Tuesday getting a look at right tackle.

“The great thing about Braden is he is a veteran guy,” Coach Gus Malzahn said. “He can play anywhere, but he will start out at right tackle.”

A five-star recruit from Olathe, Kansas, Smith has played in 39 games for the Tigers with 27 starts.

Asked about the move, Smith said, “Since I am a senior and all that, I have been around the program long enough. I know the ins and outs of the system.

“There is a need at tackle so I am going to try my best to kind of work it out--just do my best to fill the position,”?he said. “I have had some experience at tackle, but as the spring goes along just getting the reps will help out.”

Asked about the differences in playing guard and tackle in Auburn’s offense, Smith said, “It is going to be different than guard, of course. It will be more oriented toward pass protection at that position. It is still going to be heavy run block, but I will be going more against pass rushers, speed rushers and things like that.”

Photography: Inside the Auburn Tigers/AUTigers.com

Braden Smith is headed into his senior season. He has lined up at guard, tackle and tight end.

If Smith stays outside at tackle that means both guards spots will have new starters in 2017 because No. 1 left guard Alex Kozan was a senior. 

“I know Mike Horton, obviously, played right guard,” Malzahn said. “Marquel Harrell will play left guard. Of course, we have got Tyler Carr that can play either guard, also.

“Darius James, obviously, is the returning starter at left tackle, and I think he’s in a good spot,” Malzahn said. “He has had a very good offseason. He has got his body really looking good.

“Prince Tega (Wanogho) and Prince Sammons, obviously, at tackle--we have got a lot of different options,” the head coach noted. “I know Coach (Herb) Hand is going to look at a lot of different things, especially the first two weeks before we get to spring break, and then we will kind of start narrowing things down, but at the same time we are wanting guys to compete.”


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