Kamryn Pettway (above) is shown at Saturday's practice.
Auburn’s new offensive coordinator, Chip Lindsey, is off to a smooth start.
Malzahn made that assessment following Auburn’s first full pads practice of spring training on Saturday.
“He has been a head coach, even though it was at the high school level,” Malzahn said of Lindsey. “He understands how to work with people and how to build relationships with players--how to build an offense and strategically the steps it takes. That is what has stood out to me--just his leadership.
“You can just tell the players are very confident in him and he is off to a very good start with them,” Malzahn said. “It has been good to sit there and watch him work. It has been impressive.
“He is a teacher, he has got a plan, he is very intelligent and is a great communicator,” Malzahn said. “He is very direct. He puts things out there and is off to a very good start. I think if you would ask our offensive players, they would say the same thing.”
Junior running back Kerryon Johnson said that Lindsey is fitting in and noted “he’s a very relaxed guy” in his role of directing the offense.
“Now, he’s going to get his work done and make sure we’re paying attention, but ultimately he puts the pressure on us to execute,” Johnson said. “He is not going to go a lot of yelling, but he’s going to make sure we’re getting to where we’re supposed to go and make sure we do what we’re supposed to do.”
Chip Lindsey is shown at his first practice as AU's offensive coordinator and quarterback coach.
Asked if he agreed with Malzahn’s assessment that Lindsey is a “teacher,” Johnson said, “Definitely...you could be a teacher and still yell and do all that, but he is a quiet guy and he is going to teach every itty bitty step, every yard marker, every left, right, everything that’s important to you and your success. He is going to make sure that he puts it in.”
Kamryn Pettway, who led the SEC in rushing last season, agrees that Lindsey is off to a positive start in his new job.
“On the field he is a pretty cool coach,” Pettway stated. “He wants us to come out and work, fly around with tempo. I think the passing game with him is going to be a little different.”
Gus Malzahn is starting is fifth season as head coach of the Tigers.
Malzahn noted he liked what he saw at Saturday’s session. “There was a lot of energy, a lot enthusiasm, a lot of guys flying around. It was a real physical practice. I think we went 30 minutes of good on good and we gave everybody a chance to get out there and show what they could do.
“The defense was really flying around,” the coach said. “Obviously, we have got a lot of experience back.
“Offensively, we rotated a lot of guys, but it was good to see how they react in pads. When you are in helmets (and shorts) you can see attitude, coachability, effort--things like that--but when you get in pads everything changes. From a coaches standpoint, you can really learn a lot.
“Just overall looking, I?loved our attitude, our effort, our approach, but it will be good for the coaches to see some things to get cleaned up. Overall, I?thought it was a very successful day.”
In other news and notes:
*John Franklin split reps at quarterback and wide receiver. “He also got some reps at some receiver, too, but he was primarily with the quarterbacks,” Malzahn said. “He has got a skill set, obviously, everybody knows he’s a great athlete, but it’s kind of really hard to tell (what type of receiver he could be). He hasn’t got much (experience), but we’ll give him an opportunity and his attitude is great. He is wanting to help the team any way he can. He is wanting to compete for the starting quarterback job first.”
*Malzahn said that redshirt freshman Woody Barrett looks like a more confident quarterback than the one he saw last year. “He has a strong arm, too,” the coach said.
*Kaleb Kim, a redshirt sophomore, is getting the No. 2 reps at center behind returning starter Austin Golson, a senior.
*Malzahn noted that juco transfer Sal Canella is off to a solid start at tight end. “The thing that stands out to me about Sal is he has good hands. We knew that. Obviously, he played wide receiver in high school so he’s got a wide-receiver ability with his hands.
“He has also learned to put his hand on the ground a little more and do some things even out of H-Back. Him and Jalen (Harris) both had solid days today. You can tell they are improving. One of the things Chip wanted to do was get the ball to the tight ends more and get them more involved. We’ve tried to do that the first three days.”
*The Tigers return to the field on Tuesday for the fourth of their 15th spring practices.