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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Freshmen may be asked to contribute immediately

I wrote a story for the newspaper today about the freshman class and who has a good chance of playing this year. Here's how it starts:
AUBURN, Ala. — Ask an Auburn veteran how his first action at the college level went and you'll likely get a funny tale.

Antonio Coleman felt like his feet were stuck in mud. Kodi Burns didn't know he'd play until he heard coaches yelling in his direction. And Walt McFadden cut short his duties on kickoff coverage.

"I was supposed to run down the field like 40 yards and I ain't even make it down there because I was so excited just looking in the stands," he said. "I got in a lot of trouble for that."

Of the 19 true freshmen on Auburn's roster, the majority might have an experience of their own this Saturday against Louisiana Tech. Faced with depth problems up and down the roster, the Tigers could play as many as 14 true freshmen in various roles this season, a concern for first-year head coach Gene Chizik.
Read the rest here.

Here's how I broke down the freshman class, and keep in mind this was an educated guess (the depth chart won't be released until later this week, and even then it might not provide all the answers we're looking for:

Will play
  • S Daren Bates: A late arrival who impressed coaches quickly, he could jump past Mike Slade and Drew Cole into the starting lineup.
  • WR DeAngelo Benton: Two years removed from high school, he'll likely start at one of the outside receiver spots in Week 1.
  • WR Emory Blake: Polished former high school star has the maturity to be an option in the receiving rotation right away.
  • DE Nose Eguae: Rangy lineman has impressed coaches with ability to not make the same mistake twice.
  • TE Philip Lutzenkirchen: Utility back has size and speed to play a variety of roles as pass catcher or blocker.
  • RB Onterio McCalebb: A transfer from Hargrave Military Academy, he's a home run threat who could be Ben Tate's primary backup.
Likely to play
  • LB Jonathan Evans: Has been slowed by a preseason injury but might be needed to provide depth at the linebacker position.
  • LB Harris Gaston: Anybody who plays linebacker will get a serious look at playing time at some point this season.
  • WR Anthony Gulley: Offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn likes his players to be versatile, and Gulley has shown a knack for doing it all.
  • WR Travante Stallworth: Similar to Gulley; the former high school quarterback could be an option in the Wildcat formation.
  • OL John Sullen: Has emerged as a top reserve on a thin offensive line. If a starter goes down, he could be the first man up.
Might play
  • RB Dontae Aycock: Chances to play increased now that Eric Smith's status on the team is in limbo following his arrest for third-degree assault.
  • DL Dee Ford: Dabbled at linebacker briefly but moved back to the line, where he needs more size to fit in.
  • OL Andre Harris: Hasn't gotten as much pub as Sullen, but help on the line is scarce, meaning every able body is an option.
  • QB Tyrik Rollison: Didn't win the backup job, but he is talented and intriguing enough that coaches might consider easing him into action as the season progresses.
Redshirt candidates
  • TE Robert Cooper: Converted quarterback is still adjusting to a new position.
  • QB Clint Moseley: Crowded quarterback competition means he'll wait until 2010 for a chance.
  • OL Aubrey Phillips: Hasn't practiced since suffering a medical episode earlier this August; the transfer might not be cleared by the NCAA to play immediately anyway.
  • DT Jamar Travis: Crowded defensive line rotation could be a tough one to crack.
Anybody you think I missed the mark with?


Marmot said...

Off the top of my head, I'd say Demond Washington will also definitely play as a backup.

Marmot said...

...but Washington isn't a freshman. I get it now. Its a story about freshman, not juniors.

tigercowboy said...

Nice work as usual. I hope you maintain this quality. I am very impressed with your coverage. I am easily impressed though, so don't get to excited

Andy Bitter said...

I specialize in impressing the easily impressed. I'll take what I can get.