It seems like it has been longer than a year since Jeremy Johnson put on a show in Auburn’s A-Day and wrapped up the quarterback job while Duke Williams showed that he was going to be a force during the 2015 season.
With A-Day coming up this Saturday, Auburn fans will get a look at what will be a revamped offense from the struggles of last season. Here are five things to look out for:
1. Will John Franklin III Take The Next Step? – All signs are pointing toward Malzahn favoring Franklin for the starting quarterback position, but how will the JUCO transfer will the lights come on? Sure, playing in front of 60,000 in a scrimmage isn’t as intimidating as when SEC play starts, but it will be a good test. In a live full-contact scrimmage this past Saturday, Franklin performed well, pleasing Malzahn with his reads and ball security. If he has a big A-Day, he could enter the fall as the clear favorite over Johnson and Sean White.
2. A Crowded Backfield – Jovon Robinson and Roc Thomas will all get their chances to impress during the game, while Kerryon Johnson is out due to shoulder surgery. Will one separate from the pack and become the stud? Robinson seems to be that guy, but Thomas had a big A-Day last year. Could we see another 1-2 punch like Cadillac-Ronnie in 2004?
3. Finding A Top Receiver – Gone are Ricardo Louis, Melvin Ray, and Duke Williams. With a top wide receiver signing class not coming in until the fall, it has given some players an opportunity to shine. Sophomore Ryan Davis has had a solid spring, with Malzahn saying, “Davis is a guy that’s really you can tell has taken the next step.” Early enrollee Kyle Davis should get some looks, but has been wearing a non-contact jersey all spring. Marcus Davis (how many Davis’ do we need?) should get playing time at the flanker position, while Tony Stephens will most likely start at split end.
4. Will There Be Production At Tight End? – Sophomore Jalen Harris and early enrollee Landon Rice are battling for the starting position at TE, and have been a big part of the offense so far this spring. With a reliable tight end in the system, Auburn’s red zone woes could be fixed.
5. Opening The Holes – A young offensive line will be facing one of Auburn’s strengths – the front four of the defense – in the scrimmage, and we will quickly see how far they have come. As everyone knows: the way the offensive line goes, the way an offense goes.