Auburn Football: The Five Biggest Stories of Fall Camp Week 1

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Jan 6, 2014; Pasadena, CA, USA; Auburn Tigers guard Alex Kozan (63) tries to hear the play call while in the huddle with tackle Greg Robinson (73) center Reese Dismukes (50) and tackle Avery Young (56) against the Florida State Seminoles during the second half of the 2014 BCS National Championship game at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

2. The Offensive Line is Banged Up, But Taking Shape

Aside from the acknowledgement that Marshall and Mincy wouldn’t start, the first practice of the fall was notable because Malzahn broke the news that starting guard Alex Kozan – a Freshman All-American in 2013 – would likely be out of action for the entire 2014 season.

That news was difficult, but the Tigers had a capable replacement on hand in Patrick Miller, a junior with starting experience. Kozan’s injury would necessitate the move of Chad Slade to left guard, Avery Young to right guard, and Miller into the right tackle spot Young was expected to fill. All of that movement also solidified Shon Coleman as the starting left tackle. Prior to the announcement that Kozan would miss 2014, Coleman and Miller had been competing for that role.

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  • Then, Slade missed a couple of practices with a minor injury. Austin Golson, a transfer from Ole Miss that must sit out the season, has missed several days. Junior Devonte Danzey was able to take advantage of extra practice time with Slade sitting out, and has developed as the true sixth man on this year’s unit.

    True freshman Braden Smith has also impressed – and earned the nickname “Drago.” The Kansas native was originally believed to be a redshirt candidate, though now may be counted on as a top reserve as the coaching staff attempts to solidify depth on the unit.

    While no one wants to see starters on the sidelines with injuries, if there is a silver lining to the injuries thus far it is that the backups are getting more opportunities and getting better as a result to help depth.