Observations from Auburn’s first rookie practice of fall camp

Just hours after the Auburn veterans took to the practice field for the first day of fall camp, the Tigers’ rookies — newcomers and some less-experienced returnees — stepped onto the practice field at the athletic complex for their first round of preseason practice.

As in the morning session, the local media got a glimpse into the afternoon session of the first fall camp day. Reporters got to watch about 15 minutes of the afternoon practice – a shortened window compared to the morning – which provided the first look at many of the team’s latest additions, as well as the progress made by some reserves looking for bigger roles. this fall.

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There wasn’t much to get out of the first afternoon of practice, but here are some of AL.com’s observations from the rookie session:

— With TJ Finley and Zach Calzada in the morning session, Oregon transfer Robby Ashford and freshman early-enrolled Holden Geriner split the quarterback reps Friday afternoon. Ashford, who took home the A-Day MVP honors in the spring, still has a living arm and throws a nice deep ball. Both he and Geriner had some issues with accuracy during the short viewing window, with Geriner throwing over center a few paces behind the receivers and Ashford handing a deep ball to Miami, Dazalin Worsham.

— One of those Geriner passes thrown behind his receiver was converted tight end Landen King, who made an impressive grab on his rear hip while in cover. King continues to look more comfortable and smooth on the receiver after making the switch from a full-time tight end.

“I think now that he’s crossed that bridge, it’s like, ‘You know what? I’m doing this receiver thing, ‘we’ll be able to use it a lot in different ways,’ offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau said on Thursday. “We can create mismatches because he is so tall, so athletic, he can run and he has good hands. We need to be able to move him and play in different places so we can create those mismatches.”

— Among those working on the wide receiver in the afternoon alongside King were the three Worsham and Tigers signatories for 2022 in the position: Jay Fair (a spring-enrolled), Camden Brown and Omari Kelly. Brown certainly looks like an SEC receiver, and it’s easy to see why he got some early recognition from his veteran teammates. At six feet tall and 202 pounds, Brown is one of the tallest receivers on the roster (only 6 foot 5 King and 6 foot Ze’Vian Capers are taller) and he flashed some of his net worth during Friday’s session.

He made the game off the viewing window during one-on-one drills, working out JUCO transfer cornerback Keionte Scott for a catch near the sidelines. Brown’s catch was praised by defensive backs coach Zac Etheridge, who roared, “See you, 1-7,” referring to Brown’s jersey number, 17. “Play big!”

“Big guy – strong too,” senior receiver Shedrick Jackson said Friday. “He did it, he did 225. I can’t remember how many reps. He did a lot, so that’s a strong guy.”

— Speaking of Scott, the JUCO transfer — which was the top-rated junior college corner in the country last season — worked with the newcomers after arriving on campus a few days ago. It will be interesting to see how quickly he can acclimate himself, and how he will play a part in Auburn’s secondary this season.

— Joko Willis, who spent last season at linebacker, was the only defender to team up with Roc Bellantoni on Friday afternoon. Defensive coordinator Jeff Schmedding confirmed on Thursday that Willis, who was used on special teams and in some blitz packs last season, is now working in a hybrid role on the fringe.

— Jeremiah Wright was back in defensive tackle, as Bryan Harsin said Thursday. During one rep Friday afternoon, the 6-foot-5, 332-pound nose-tackle got the best of Jalil Irvin in the middle, plowing through him at the scrimmage.

Tom Green is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Tomas_Verde.

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