AUBURN, Ala. – I got away from this ‘7 at 7’ habit during the fall. I swear, I won’t let that happen again.
Because you’re unbelievable fans, and you crave the important news on this football program. Your interest in Auburn football is at its apex, as well it should be for many reasons.
So let’s get into some housekeeping notes along with a few funnies from Wednesday’s inaugural Gus Malzahn-governed spring practice. But first, a pep talk between you and me.
1) There are many ways to approach covering any sports team. Could be the Yankees, could be an SEC college, could be the 2A volleyball powerhouse from Littletown High down the street.
The way my mind’s been molded, the way my work ethic’s been trained, I can best sum up my strategy in two words:
I’m not a volume shooter. I’ve never been one, specifically at my previous post when game stories were routinely no longer than 400-450 words. (For comparison, this first portion of the 7 at 7 will be within that length.) Short and sweet was the way it went, whether we liked it or not.
Believe me, as long as this post and others are, it’s only the tip of the iceberg of the information available to spill. Not necessarily all of it is significant, though.
So here’s the deal: I’ll continue to post solid Malzahn quotes as he’s speaking through our live chat – which was wildly popular Wednesday, more than we expected. (Bored at work much? Kidding! Kidding. Again, props to y’all for the audience.) Probably won’t have many player quotes, since they’re spreading them out around the room.
Then for the rest of the day – remember, these sessions are all Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays through A-Day – my job is to sort out the generic rah-rah from the critical analysis. Let’s not forget: this is spring football. It builds a foundation, but certainly doesn’t dictate how the actual football season will unfold. So I’ll pass along the most essential of developments, while also going in-depth on particular players (see: Quan Bray) and tossing in some fun facts along the way, like what you’ll see below on Kris Frost.
I’ll try to post practice videos in a timely fashion much as possible. I’ve yet to put it together, but the first video is a compilation of quarterback work. Ideally, I’ll be cutting and editing clips by keeping position groups together. Simpler that way, I say.
Don’t expect 10 stories from me a day. I’m one guy. I’ll see as much as I can, talk as much as I can, but my commitment is to quality over quantity. What multiple pieces I do produce daily will likely be spread out over the course of that day, so as not to let anything get swept under the rug.
By the way, the reason I lay all this out? It’s kind of my plan for the fall, too; granted, there’s more ‘breaking’ news in the fall, but it’s a plan nonetheless.
The reader support on this web site and on my Twitter feed has been really cool. And yeah, I do read the criticism, usually answering back to the well-worded, correctly-spelled retorts. (Especially if they’re clever.) Of course, any feedback from you guys and gals is also appreciated. Much as I’m fond of giving advice, I doubly enjoy getting it.
Thanks for making the hard work well worth it.
2) OK, enough of that. Let’s talk about Robenson Therezie maybe beating Onterio McCalebb in a footrace!
Therezie briefly switched from cornerback to running back last year, never latching on permanently at any position. Offense, according to Therezie, isn’t out of the picture.
“It will be a possibility,” Therezie said. “I spoke with coach Malzahn and it seems like a plan. I won’t mind at all playing (Onterio’s) position.
Therezie was flat-out asked if he’s faster than McCalebb, a noted speed demon whose unofficial NFL Scouting Combine 40-yard-dash time (though later trounced by the electronic time) was 4.21 seconds, a would-be combine record.
“In my opinion, yeah,” Therezie said. “We never did (race), but I believe I could beat him … by a foot.”
3) WEIGHT WATCHERS: I took a copy of the season-ending roster in November, and one of the spring roster released Wednesday, comparing all the returning scholarship players’ listed weights then and now based on their work with strength and conditioning coach Ryan Russell. (By the way, I didn’t catch anybody who grew or lost an inch. Sometimes that happens on measurements.)
Twenty-seven players have gained weight.
Twenty-six players have lost weight.
Six players – WR Trovon Reed, P Steven Clark, DT Jeffrey Whitaker, DE Nosa Eguae, FS Trent Fisher and DB Anthony Swain – weigh exactly the same as in November.
– Quarterbacks Kiehl Frazier (was 226, now 234) and Jonathan Wallace (was 197, now 209) each have bulked up. Frazier particularly has larger calves. However, Malzahn said Wednesday Frazier was initially even heavier than 234 when winter workouts began.
– The offensive linemen have shifted a bit. From left to right: Greg Robinson 311 -> 314; Reese Dismukes 296 -> 293; Chad Slade 301 -> 308; Patrick Miller 293 -> 288; Avery Young 295 -> 314, which comes with an asterisk; he was recovering from shoulder surgery most of the late fall/early winter. As far as backups, Tunde Fariyike (301 -> 307) and Will Adams (289 -> 293) are slightly beefier, while Jordan Diamond (323 -> 314), Shon Coleman (302 -> 294) and Robert Leff (289 -> 284) are noticeably slimmer.
– Brandon Fulse (249 -> 264, up 15 pounds) could be a blocking monster, clearly. Just gotta make sure that’s 264 healthy pounds.
– Jay Prosch (260 -> 247, down 13 pounds) is moving from fullback to H-back. More running.
– LaDarius Owens (260 -> 248, down 12 pounds) is moving from defensive end to linebacker. More running. Could Craig Sanders (257 -> 242, down 15) be next?
– Dee Ford’s been preaching his health kick. He’s down to 238 from 246, but still toned the way a grown man who chases around quarterbacks should be.
– Good boys, Joshua Holsey (188 -> 195, up 7) and Jonathan Jones (166 -> 172, up 6). I said all offseason the rising sophomore corners needed to bulk up, and they did. Jones is still 10 pounds lighter than any other smallest scholarship player on the roster, though.
– Looks like Tyler Nero (277 -> 266, down 11) might be thinking more along the lines of playing defensive end, not tackle. It would also appear JaBrian Niles (297 -> 305, up 8) is clearly an interior lineman now.
4) Linebacker Kris Frost majors in aviation (or ‘Professional Flight Management’, to be technical), and is taking two-hour classes simply observing and absorbing information on how to fly a four-passenger Cessna 172 airplane, which he’s had a few chances to operate.
“When I found out (Auburn) had a flight program, it was a big say-so in me coming here,” Frost said. “I’m taking advantage of it, academically. It’s a cool little twist in my life, and I’m enjoying it every step of the way.”
5) Coach tweets following practice today (the handles should speak for their identities). Melvin Smith’s is the most interesting:
@CoachGusMalzahn: Great to be back on practice field with our players and coaches!! Focus today learning how to practice at the tempo and pace we expect.
@AU_CoachMelvin: We’ve got a long way to go but these men are visibly better than when we started. #wareagle
@RhettLashlee: Had a blast on the practice field today with our team ! Just the start…14 more chances to build on today
@CoachSFountain: Day 1- Our Team came to work. Very proud of our Focus as an AU Football team
@coachharbisonAU: We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided. Some words to live by.
6) A video interview with tailback Corey Grant, who talks about that hurry-up drill with less than three seconds to snap the football. Enjoy.
7) All right, one more message from the writer to his readers. (Sorry! The other five items were loaded today.) I’m skipping the normal Thursday live chat today, but just today – between baseball, women’s basketball and a Columbus trip, life’s a little too busy this afternoon. But I promise, live interactive chats are a go for April 4, 11 and 18. Hope to see you in there.