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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Looking at the Positives in A Day 2016

Jordan-Hare Stadium before kickoff on A Day 2016
The questions are still the same. The anxiety only worsened. 1 for 22 on third down has a way of gnawing at the pit of your stomach. And yet, Gus Malzahn is not concerned. 

That the head football coach at Auburn University is not concerned with whether his offense will be up to competing  in an actual football game, against a real live opponent must indicate that there were some positives offensively to glean from Auburn's annual spring football game.

Let's look at some of those positives. You can add your thoughts in the comment section. Feel free to join in the discussion. Also, lets remember that this game is meaningless in trying to decipher how good Auburn will be. During any spring game it's easier to see how far along the young and inexperienced guys are progressing.

The weather was beautiful. Wishing I could have been there only made missing the game this year painful.

Sean White was clearly the better passer. Yes, White turned the ball over inside the red zone on his second drive, and that is a big no-no. Sean White demonstrated a much improved placement of his passes. He displayed good touch on the deep ball and the wheel route down the sideline. Especially important was his passes on the Wide Out Screen. They were to the correct side of the Wide Out. 

All but one of Whites screen passes had the receiver facing the defense, instead of having to reach behind them to make a catch. 

When the WO has to reach behind to make a catch, the play is usually ineffective. This reduces the effect the play is supposed to have, which is to catch the outside of the defense flat footed, and the rest of the defense slow to respond.

If White can eliminate the mistakes, he will be tough to beat out for the starting job. White is healthy again as well, and that is great news.  

John Franklin is as advertised. Man, is he quick? Franklin looked good at times. I will have to say the pass to Marcus Davis for a TD late in the first half would have been picked off by a first team defense. I look for Franklin to have a huge role in this offense if he doesn't become the starter from day one.

The two young men playing the H Back position looked really good running the ball. Really good. I thought of Rudy Johnson while watching Kamyrn Pettway run. This makes me smile.

Jovon Robinson is ready to be the man. If he can stay healthy, he will certainly become the next Auburn RB to break the 1,000 yard barrier. Robinson has speed and power, which will serve him well in the coming season.

Much has been said by the Auburn beat writers about the loss of production in the WR corps due to graduation. What I saw was a group of guys that played unselfishly, and blocked pretty well downfield. This is a must for this offense to work. 

It doesn't hurt the nations number one wide out class will report in full for fall camp. This area of the offense can only get better. 

Defensively, this team looks like a force that will create havoc, and disrupt all who dare step on the field. What I saw on film, from the starters and the others, was gang tackling. 

Effort to get to the ball was easily better than any outing since Tommy Tuberville was walking the sidelines at Auburn. If this continues, and they can stay healthy, this will be a fun season for Auburn fans to watch their beloved defense play.

Special Teams is difficult to judge accurately, because of the way Gus sets up the spring game. Although, Daniel Carlson made a statement with his FG kicking. The prestigious 2015 Lou Groza Award finalist will be in the mix once again in 2016.  

War Eagle!

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