With new NCAA rules limiting college football teams to just nine days of practice in full pads prior to the opening game, Coach Bryan Harsin says he doesn’t see that as an issue for his first Auburn team.
Probably one of the reasons for that is the Tigers open their season vs. one of the worst teams in college football in 2020, the Akron Zips, who are not expected to be much better when they show up at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Sept 4th. That game shouldn’t be as challenging as an intrasquad scrimmage for the Tigers and the same goes for game two vs. Alabama State.
The first test for the Tigers won’t come until Sept. 18th when they travel to Penn State so that should give Harsin and the rebuilt Auburn coaching staff plenty of extra time to get ready for a schedule that will be much tougher to deal with in October and November.
With the camp portion of preseason done the biggest questions for the Tigers are how well the rebuilt wide receivers group will perform and will the offensive line step up and play more consistently than it did last year.
With the exceptions of senior Shedrick Jackson and senior Demetris Robertson, a transfer who is a recent arrival from the University of Georgia, there isn’t a lot of college experience for Auburn’s players at the receiver positions. The offensive line, in contrast, is loaded with experienced guys.
A Hot Ticket
With the exception of last season when attendance was limited due to the pandemic, the Auburn women’s gymnastics program has done a good job of drawing large crowds to Auburn Arena.
With Olympic gold medalist Suni Lee beginning classes this week, Coach Jeff Graba’s team added the most famous freshman in the country to AU’s roster for the season that will begin in January.
Over the years Auburn has done a good job of marketing gymnastics to encourage fans to be at the arena to support the Tigers. For the 2022 season that isn’t going to be necessary because season tickets sold out in just four days with fans wanting the chance to see the all-around gymnastics gold medal winner in person.
Promising Season for AHS
After narrowly missing the school’s first state championship in football last year, Auburn High looks to have a team that could make another run at the 2021 Class 7A title. Only a strategic meltdown by the former head coach in the final minutes of the 2020 state title game kept the Tigers from winning the big one.
New AHS head coach Keith Etheredge has won four state championships and has an outstanding overall record in postseason play. Look for him to put a talented and well-coached group on the field.
The Tigers open their schedule on Friday night at home against Park Crossing High from Montgomery. If you are headed out to Duck Samford Stadium to watch the action you might want to check out the play at the line of scrimmage because the Tigers are loaded with good players on both the offensive and defense fronts.
Mark Murphy is the editor of Inside the Auburn Tigers magazine and newsletter.