Just hours after the Auburn veterans took to the practice field for the first day of fall training, the Tigers’ rookies (newcomers and some less-experienced returning pieces) walked onto the practice field at the athletics for their first round of preseason practices. .
As with the morning session, local media were granted a viewing window of the afternoon session on the first day of fall camp. Reporters were allowed to watch about 15 minutes of the afternoon practice, a condensed window compared to the morning, which provided a first look at many of the team’s most recent additions, as well as the progress made by some reserves who they seek to assume larger roles. this autumn.
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There wasn’t much to learn from the first afternoon of practice, but here are some of AL.com’s observations from the rookie session:
— With TJ Finley and Zach Calzada in the morning session, Oregon transfer Robby Ashford and early-registered freshman Holden Geriner split quarterback reps Friday afternoon. Ashford, who took home A-Day MVP honors in the spring, still has a live arm and throws a good deep ball. Both he and Geriner had some trouble with accuracy during the brief viewing window, with Geriner throwing a pair of passes behind receivers down the middle and Ashford sending a deep pass to Miami transfer Dazalin Worsham.
— One of those passes Geriner threw behind his receiver was to converted tight end Landen King, who made an impressive grab on his rear hip while in coverage. King continues to look more comfortable and smooth as a receiver after moving away from being a full-time tight end.
“I think now that he’s crossed that bridge, like, ‘You know what? I’m doing this as a receiver, we’re going to be able to use him a lot in a variety of ways,” offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau said Thursday. “We can create mismatches because he is very tall, very athletic, he can run and he has good hands. We have to be able to move it around and play in different places so we can create those mismatches.”
— Among those who worked at wide receiver in the afternoon alongside King were Worsham and the Tigers’ three 2022 signatories at the job: Jay Fair (a spring signing), Camden Brown and Omari Kelly. Brown certainly looks like an SEC wide receiver, and it’s easy to see why he’s received early recognition from his veteran teammates. At 6-foot-3, 202 pounds, Brown is one of the biggest receivers on the list (only King, at 6-foot-5, and Ze’Vian Capers, at 6-foot-4, are taller), and some of his skill shone. during the Friday session.
He made the viewing window play during one-on-one drills, outplaying transferred JUCO cornerback Keionte Scott to make a catch near the sideline. Brown’s catch drew praise from defensive backs coach Zac Etheridge, who yelled, “I see you, 1-7,” referring to Brown’s jersey number, 17. “He plays big!”
“Great guy, strong too,” senior wide receiver Shedrick Jackson said Friday. “He did like 225. I don’t remember how many reps. He did a lot, so he’s a strong guy.”
— Speaking of Scott, the transfer from JUCO, who was the highest-rated college corner in the nation last season, was working with the newcomers after arriving on campus just a couple of days ago. It will be interesting to see how quickly he can acclimate and how he will be a factor in Auburn’s secondary this season.
— Joko Willis, who spent last season at linebacker, was the only scholarship defender who worked with Roc Bellantoni on Friday afternoon. Defensive coordinator Jeff Schmedding confirmed Thursday that Willis, who was used on special teams and in some blitz packages last season, is now working in a hybrid role on the rim.
— Jeremiah Wright returned at defensive tackle, as Bryan Harsin said Thursday. During a replay on Friday afternoon, the 6-foot-5, 332-pound nose tackle overtook center Jalil Irvin and speared him at the line of scrimmage.
Tom Green is an Auburn Beat reporter for the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Tomas_Verde.