Not to be outdone by a Southeastern Conference rival, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn attended Thursday’s practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, then struck the on-field pose with six of his players.
Malzahn was joined by former quarterback Nick Marshall, who is converting to cornerback, wide receiver Sammie Coates, running back Cameron Artis-Payne, center Reese Dismukes, tight end C.J. Uzomah and defensive tackle Gabe Wright.
That the two proud programs have 10 players on the South roster explains why each of that team's three days of practice drew significantly larger crowds than the North squad workouts.
Whenever Sims made a play on Thursday, a smattering of Crimson Tide fans cheered their approval on an overcast, chilly afternoon. Even when he scrambled, someone in the stands offered encouragement.
And when an Auburn player did something noteworthy, at least one fan was heard to holler repeatedly, “War Eagle!”
In an ironic twist, Marshall sometimes lined up opposite Coates, his No. 1 receiver with the Tigers. And while Marshall is expected to need some time to adjust to his new position, the converted quarterback did have an interception Thursday.
Last year’s Senior Bowl had four players from each program on the South roster. The year before that, it was five from Alabama and one from Auburn.