Smoke Monday
Auburn freshman safety Smoke Monday got valuable experience in spring practice.  (Photo: Inside The Auburn Tigers, Scout.com)

 

On The Road Again

One of the most important times of the year for college football coaches is upon us beginning this week with the coaches able to go on the road for the spring evaluation period. Auburn will have a few coaches out this week, but will be out in full force beginning next week as more high school teams begin spring practices.

This is a time when Auburn’s coaches want to see players in action on the field, not only to judge their talent, but also to see how they practice and respond to coaching. There is more to playing at the college level than just talent so being able to see how a player prepares and works on the field is one of the big keys as coaches try to find some separation on their recruiting boards heading into the summer.

A place that will get plenty of attention is Grayson (Ga.) High where recent Auburn commitment Jakai Clark plays along with five-star linebacker Owen Pappoe, four-star offensive tackle Wanya Morris and dozens of other prospects.

On Sunday, Pappoe and Morris were among the best players at the Nike Elite 11 Regional in Charlotte. All Pappoe did was put up the best numbers ever for a regional event, checking in at 6-1, 209 and running a 4.47 second 40-yard dash with a vertical leap of 41 inches.

Not to be outdone, Morris was the top offensive lineman in attendance and is showing why he’s one of the most coveted tackles in the country.

Auburn is making a strong push for both players with Georgia likely the biggest threat for Pappoe with Tennessee the other finalist for Morris.

Young Safeties

While Daniel Thomas had a solid spring at safety and Jeremiah Dinson should be back and ready to go after having shoulder surgery after the A-Day game, there is no denying that Smoke Monday and Jamien Sherwood created quite a buzz with their play after arriving on campus early.

A long player who can cover a ton of ground, Monday has the ability to cover in space and has shown a knack for being in the right place at the right time.

A true box safety who can lay the lumber, Sherwood may not have gotten the attention publicly that Monday did in the spring, but he definitely caught the eye of his coaches and teammates on the field.

Now with several months to refine what they learned in the spring and get bigger and stronger in the weight room, don’t be surprised if one or both of the true freshman safeties not only makes a big impact early in the season, but finds his way into a starting role.

Time For Payback

Last season an Alabama baseball team that had won just three conference games came to Plainsman Park and won three games by a total of four runs, likely costing Auburn a chance to be  an NCAA regional in the process.

It continued a baffling streak as Auburn hasn’t won a series from the Crimson Tide since 2011 and hasn’t swept Alabama since 2001.

While this Auburn team has a whole lot of issues to get fixed on offense, the talent is there to make a run. There is no time like this weekend to get that started if you’re Butch Thompson and company when the Tigers travel to Tuscaloosa for another huge SEC series.

Sitting at 6-9 in SEC play with road trips still left to Florida and Ole Miss with home series vs. Vanderbilt and LSU, Auburn still has to face four of the top five teams in the league at the midway point in the second half of the schedule.

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