Auburn Football: Outback Bowl Practices Will Offer Sneak Peek of 2015 Stars

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Aug 30, 2014; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers receiver Melvin Ray (82) celebrates with quarterback Jeremy Johnson (6) after scoring a touchdown agains the Arkansas Razorbacks during the first half at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a simple idea, but it’s a fact. The Outback Bowl, and the extra practice that comes with it, will benefit young Auburn football players as they look ahead to the 2015 season.

“I think that’s one of the big advantages bowl teams have to get a chance to get their young guys some extra work, some fundamental work, outside of their normal (work),” Malzahn said Sunday.

The bowl game will be the final opportunity for many Auburn football players to represent the Tigers on the football field. Center Reese Dismukes, defensive lineman Gabe Wright and running back Cameron Artis-Payne are headed to the Senior Bowl, and Nick Marshall will probably play in some sort of post-season all-star game, but there are plenty of seniors (and possibly a junior or two) that may have the AU on their helmet for the final time on New Year’s Day.

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Between now and then, there are several players that can make their case to replace those stars in 2015.

“During the season a lot of time they’re just worried about scout team,” Malzahn said. “But now it’s (about) starting to develop them and I know our coaches and players will be excited about that.”

Malzahn and the Auburn coaching staff will have roughly 15 bowl practices at their disposal, though that number is not written in stone as many think.

“(It’s) a common misconception that’s been around for years,” NCAA spokesman Christopher Radford said recently. “There is no specific limit on the number of practices a team may hold while preparing for a bowl game, but standard NCAA rules apply for participation in practice or other athletically related activities. Same as the regular season, these rules limit practice and other athletic activities to a maximum of four hours per day and 20 hours per week.”

Malzahn and his staff are likely to finalize their use of that time soon.

“We’re really wanting to get ready for our bowl, we want to also get our young guys some extra work, Malzahn said, “so the next 24 hours we’ll figure out our schedule.”

So, who will make the most of those opportunities?

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