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Sunday, April 10, 2016

Auburn A Day and Softball

The Auburn Family on A Day. photo by the author
I made it to Auburn about 2 hours before the start of the 2016 A Day football game. I stopped at the “Chicken Salad Chick” on the way in to town and they were preparing meals for the Auburn Girls Softball team. 

It was a festive atmosphere in the restaurant and many people were taking photos of their families. Over the years, I have learned that Auburn A Day is more about just getting together with family and friends than attempting to figure out how the Auburn football team is going to play next season.

I arrived in Auburn and there was more people than I expected, a track meet was taking place and Auburn had a softball game with the Longwood Lancers at 6 P.M. 

I was able to find a great parking place in the hay fields next to several great tail gates. I will say that parking will not be easy when football season does begin due to the new construction going in Auburn. 

I decided to actually sit down with my “Loyalstrikcklin” notepad this time and actually record what I saw at this A Day game. Yes, I did use pen and paper instead of recording notes on my iPhone. As expected, the play calling was simple and the  defense played “nickel”most of the time. All 3 quarterbacks did play and it was hard for me to determine who was the best due to the play calling. It was obvious that Gus Malzahn was not going to show a lot of plays in this scrimmage. I was sitting under the scoreboard in the first half and I now know what the players see. I noticed many of the players watching the scoreboard in between plays. It is an amazing piece technology.

This A Day game was much different form 2015 where Jeremy Johnson and Sean White combined for 435 passing yards. I would probably have to give Sean White the prize for throwing the best looking pass at the start of the game. Of course, I would like to see the Auburn quarterbacks throw more mid range passes in the actual games. Auburn will have several good tight ends and H-backs to catch the ball in the Fall.

The MVPs of the game were Carl Lawson on defense, Marcus Davis and Jovon Robinson on the offense and Daniel Carlson on special teams. I was able to see Daniel Carlson actually kick the ball and he hasten of the best legs in college football. I really think that he will be an All American before he does leave Auburn and he will be playing on Sunday afternoons. 

The Auburn first and second string defenses did hold the offense to 1 third down out of 22 attempts. I was impressed with the Auburn front four and Carl Lawson cannot be blocked if he is healthy. Carl had 4 solo tackles and a sack on John Franklin in the first half. Carl really seemed to enjoy playing the game and he is destined to play on Sunday afternoons. Paul James III is listed as a linebacker, but he was lining up on the edge. He has some speed and blew up one of the sweep plays. Also, I feel that Montravius Adams will have a good year. I did not see Byron Cowart in the game. The big runs of 71, 55, and 40 yards all occurred against the second team defense. 

Coming into this Fall, the linebacker position was a concern; however, Deshaun Davis had 9 tackles and Tre Williams and Darrell Williams had 6 tackles each.

The passing game should improve with the arrival the new recruits this summer. Of course, Kyle Davis did not play on Saturday and Marcus Davis seemed to be the primary target for the quarterbacks. Jason Smith was running some great routes, but seemed to go unnoticed. He was wide open several times and either his number was not called to receive the pass or the quarterbacks did not see him. He does block down field and does break off his routes.

We should all get ready for some action from the Auburn H-backs this Fall. Chandler Cox, C.J. Tolbert and Kamryn Pettway all played well. If John Franklin does get the start at QB, he will be able to use their talents to move the ball down the field.

After the game I did compare notes with some other fans and we all agree that Auburn will need a running quarterback for the Gus Malzahn offense to succeed. The best option right now seems to be John Franklin and I did like his enthusiasm on the sidelines. I am sure that Auburn is going to assist him with adding some weight prior to the start of the football season. Right now, he is 10 pounds lighter than Charlie Ward, who won a Heisman trophy at Florida State. 

By the way, the halftime recognition of the Auburn former football captains was a memorable experience for me. Congratulations to all of the former players who were on the field where they played. 

I headed over to the Auburn Girls softball game after the A Day game. Auburn was playing the Longwood Lancers from FarmVille, Virginia. Auburn did win the game 5-2. All of Auburn’s softball games are now sold out for the rest of the season. If you are unable to get a ticket, just go behind the fence and sit with in the left field stands at no charge. Clint Myers has really elevated this Auburn softball team to new heights and many good players want to play for him. Today, the Auburn softball team is ranked number 2 in the USA behind  Michigan and I expect them to play for another spot in the College World Series. My compliments to the Auburn grounds crew for their hospitality. 

Enjoy the spring and summer and I look forward to the start of the football season.
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