Gus Malzahn previews Auburn spring practice


AUBURN, Ala. (WIAT) — Auburn football begins spring practice Monday afternoon. Head coach Gus Malzahn met with the media prior to the Tigers taking the field. Malzahn said he plans to rotate four players at quarterback until a starter is named. Tiger’s new offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham and Malzahn will keep the offensive plan “bland” during spring training until a starting quarterback is named.

Below is more from Malzahn’s press conference:

…“First off, I’d like to congratulate Bruce Pearl and the Auburn basketball team for winning the SEC tournament. It’s really fun to watch what he’s done in five years to get our program where it’s at. It’s really unbelievable. Being here before he got here, just the way they played, a true team, knowing who they are, playing to their strengths and playing their best game in the biggest game says a lot. I’m really happy for him and his team. I wish them luck in the NCAA tournament.

“We’re starting spring practice today. Our coaches are really excited about it. Our players are, too. We’re going to practice Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturdays for the next four weeks. It’s a little bit different than what we’ve done in the past, but that’s by design. We gave Coach Russell two more weeks to work with our guys to get them physically ready. I think our coaches are excited about getting this thing done in a month’s time.

“A couple of updates: a few guys will be missing spring ball — Daquan Newkirk with a foot, Jordyn Peters will miss spring ball with a foot also and Smoke Monday with his shoulder that he had a procedure done at the end of the season. Will Hastings will also be out with a knee, but we do expect all of those guys to be back. Anthony Schwartz and Shaun Shivers will focus on track. That was already planned. A position change—Alec Jackson will be playing on the offensive line this spring. We’re looking forward to watching him and his progression as far as that goes. Our quarterbacks — we’re going to start out spring rotating all four guys equally, at least starting out. We’ll see where that goes — no timetable on narrowing things down or naming starters. We’re going to let those guys compete. It’s an open position. We’re looking forward to watching that competition.”

Schwartz and Shivers focusing on track…“That was part of the plan when we recruited the guys. They’re great at that sport, and they’re going to help Auburn be very successful in that sport. That competition will keep them sharp. Both guys had big-time freshman years. Both guys, football is very important to them, too. I know they’ll do everything they can to stay updated. In the summer, they’ll be catching up.”

Will the quarterbacks go live at some point during spring…“It’s possible. We have done that in the past. We’ll see where things go and how guys separate themselves. In the past, if guys hadn’t really separated themselves, you could usually find out in a couple of series going live. I’m not ready to say that now, but it is a possibility.”

How many scrimmages will he have…“We’re going to scrimmage — not this Saturday — but really the next two Saturdays. And of course we have A-Day after that. As far as that goes, this week we’re going to be in helmet only today and Wednesday and pads on Friday and Saturday this week.”

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