Notes from First Auburn Beginner Practice for Autumn Camp

Just hours after the Auburn veterans took to the training ground on the first day of fall camp, the Junior Tigers—newcomers and some less experienced returning pieces—stepped onto the training ground at the athletics complex for their first round of pre-season practices.

As in the morning session, local media were given a window to watch the afternoon session on the first day of fall camp. Reporters were allowed to watch about 15 minutes of training in the afternoon – an intense window compared to the morning – which provided their first look at many of the team’s latest additions, as well as the progress of some reserves looking to step into bigger roles this fall.

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There wasn’t much to take away from the first afternoon of training, but here are some notes from the beginner’s session:

– With TJ Finley and Zach Calzada gone in the morning session, Oregon transfer Robbie Ashford and new signing Holden Gerner split up the quarterback early Friday afternoon. Ashford, who won an A-Day MVP in the spring, still has a lively arm and throws a nice deep ball. He and Gerner both had some accuracy issues during the short viewing period, with Gerner throwing passes behind receivers over center and Ashford sailing a deep ball to D’Alene Worsham in Miami.

–Among those passes by Geirner thrown behind his receiver was the narrow end diversion of Landen King, who impressively grabbed him with his back hip as he covered. The King continues to look more comfortable and smooth at the receiver after transitioning from being a full-time narrow end.

“I think now that he crossed that bridge, he’s like, ‘You know what?'” I’m doing something with this receiver, “We’re going to be able to use a lot in a variety of ways,” attack coordinator Eric Kisau said Thursday. “We can create a mismatch because he’s very tall, he’s very athletic, he can run and he has good hands. We have to be able to move him around and play different areas so we can create these mismatches.”

– Among those who worked extensively in the afternoon alongside King were Worsham and three signed Tigers in 2022 on site: Jay Fair (Spring Affiliate), Camden Brown and Omari Kelly. Brown definitely looks a bit part of the SEC receiver, and it’s easy to see why he’s getting some early recognition from his veteran teammates. At 6-foot-3, 202 pounds, Brown is one of the biggest receivers on the list (only King, who’s 6-foot-5, and Ze’Vian Capers are 6-foot-4), flashing some of his ability during Friday’s session.

He turned on the viewing window during individual practice, beating County Scott in a JUCO transfer for a pickup near the sideline. Brown’s catch earned praise from full-back coach Zach Etheridge, who said, “See you, 1-7,” referring to Brown’s jersey number, 17. “Play big!”

“The big guy – strong too,” said Cedric Jackson, one of the top benefactors on Friday. “He did, like, he did 225. I don’t remember how many reps. He did a lot, so this is a tough guy.”

Speaking of Scott, JUCO’s transfer – who was the university’s top rated junior last season – has been working with the newcomers after arriving on campus just two days ago. It will be interesting to see how quickly he adapts himself, and how he’ll take into account Auburn’s secondary this season.

Joko Willis, who spent last season at full-back, was the only outstanding scholarship defender to work with Rock Bellantoni on Friday afternoon. Defensive coordinator Jeff Schmieding 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 edge.

Jeremiah Wright is back on the defensive, Brian Harsin said Thursday. During a reps on Friday afternoon, the 6-foot-5, 332-pound nose tackle got the best of center Jalil Ervin, plowing him into the line of scrimmage.

Tom Green is the Auburn Beat correspondent for the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter Tweet embed