Auburn football: Luke Deal on tight ends’ expanded role in 2023 offense

Auburn footballMandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
Auburn footballMandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports /

The Auburn football program is entering a new era this year under head coach Hugh Freeze. Not only has the coaching staff changed, but the roster and the schemes have, too, and things will hopefully look very different in the 2023 season.

Freeze’s Auburn offense is expected to have an actual identity, and to play with more ferocity and speed than the offense of the past two years. In this new system, the tight end position group will have an expanded role and higher expectations.

Though the loss of John Samuel Shenker is no small thing for the Tigers, several returners will be on the roster to step up as leaders during this transition period, one of which is senior Luke Deal. According to Auburn Live’s Ellie Oldham, Deal and the rest of the tight ends love new TE coach Ben Aigamaua, who is requiring his position group to learn the entire route tree in preparation for the 2023 season:

"“…The passing game is going to be a big deal for us with kind of pairing the physical run game that our room brings, that the running backs bring,” Deal said. “I think that’s going to be really good for us”."

Also expected to add to the group this season are incoming transfer Rivaldo Fairweather (FIU) and redshirt freshman Micah Riley-Ducker, a member of the Tigers’ recruiting class of 2022. Deal described Fairweather as a great receiver, and noted that Riley-Ducker has worked really hard to improve his game from last year.

Along with Luke Deal and Micah Riley-Ducker, returners include Tyler Fromm and Brandon Frazier, and Coach Aigamaua seems to be optimistic about his group, per

"“They bring a lot of different traits to what we do upfront in the tight end room,” Aigamua said.” Luke, we know his strengths, and we see what he can do. My job as his coach is to strengthen the area of improvement: The passing game. Tyler, same thing.”"

Overall, it seems that the passing game is going to be a huge area of focus for Auburn football’s tight ends ahead of the 2023 football season.

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