Competition for playing time key as Auburn begins falls practice

Sports

AUBURN, Ala. – There are high expectations on The Plains as the Auburn Tigers begin fall practice for the 2017 college football season. While the competition for the starting quarterback role has been the main focus for many fans, Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn is excited about the competition for playing time all over the field, including at quarterback.

“It’s a good competition. And there’s nothing better than competition, it just brings the best out in everybody,” Malzahn said on Monday.

Last year’s starting quarterback Sean White, split first team rotations with transfer Jarrett Stidham as camp opened. Stidham worked with the first team in spring practice while White sat out rehabbing from fractured arm surgery.

Malzahn and his staff expect to have an idea of who will start at most positions after spending the first two weeks evaluating the players. “This first two weeks, offense, there’s going to be some great competition,” said Malzahn. “Things will start to settle in after that two-week mark.”

The Tigers have seven returning starters on defense. The 2016 Auburn defense ranked sixth nationally in scoring defense at 15.6 points allowed per game.

“We have a lot of experience coming back, and we have a lot of talented freshmen. All we have to do is learn from each other, build off each other, and we’ll be fine,” said senior linebacker Tre Williams, one of the team’s three player representatives at last month’s SEC Media Days.

Auburn will practice in shorts and helmets through Wednesday. Their first practice in full pads will be Saturday, August 5.

“I thought it was a good first day,” Malzahn said. “Our focus was on our older guys the first part of practice. I was looking for effort, attitude, body language, just flying around. I thought for the most part our veteran guys did that.”

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