No. 11 Auburn banking on Nix, worthwhile overhaul on strains

The Auburn Tigers contain played for a Southeastern Convention championship, knocked rival Alabama from playoff contention and had a losing league tag.

The Tigers’ closing three seasons were eventful in a Western Division the establish it’s awfully laborious to ruin by. Now, they’ve quarterback Bo Nix support from a promising freshman season with a novel offensive coordinator and a foul wide receiver in Seth Williams.

Taking that next step from a 9-select season that included an exhilarating select over Alabama will require bigger than appropriate a more seasoned Nix and new play calling. This would possibly occasionally takes a serious replenishing of broad men on all facets of the ball.

The Tigers, who’re ranked No. 11 in the preseason AP Top 25 ballot, misplaced all 5 predominant offensive line starters from closing season, even supposing heart Slash Brahms started 5 video games each of the previous two seasons. The defensive position need to replace high 10 NFL draft catch Derrick Brown in the center and kill Marlon Davidson, a second-rounder.

The secondary will require a identical overhaul having to alter four starters, including a predominant-round catch in cornerback Noah Igniboghene.

The defense is led by linebackers KJ Britt, Owen Pappoe and Zakoby McClain.

There’s indubitably about the offensive chief this season. Nix executed a modest 57.6% of his passes but didn’t throw an interception in the closing 5 video games.

He’ll lead an offense directed by unique coordinator Chad Morris, who changed into fired after two disastrous seasons as Arkansas’s head coach. Morris will desire over play calling tasks from head coach Gus Malzahn.

“He’s very confident,” Malzahn stated of Nix. “There’s indubitably about that. I can pronounce that he’s began to actually feel look after it’s more of his crew, which that’s natural progression for a genuine freshman that begins.”

CALLING THE SHOTS

Malzahn reclaimed playcalling tasks closing season with blended outcomes but handed the reins to a longtime friend. Morris, a dilapidated head coach at Arkansas and SMU, had undoubtedly huge success as Clemson’s offensive coordinator.

Morris and Auburn, alternatively, didn’t score a single observe at some stage in the spring thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

“No longer having a spring with a novel coach, a novel offensive coordinator, originate of most recent performs and things look after that, it’s been tough,” Nix stated. “No longer having a spring didn’t enable us to dive deep in the playbook or something else look after that.”

WHO’S RUNNING

With leading rusher JaTarvious Whitlow having left the crew, Auburn will seemingly flip to D.J. Williams or high freshman recruit Tank Bigsby to lead the working recreation. Williams ran for 400 yards and two touchdowns as a freshman closing season. Redshirt freshman Price-Antony Richards also would possibly perchance merely be in the combine.

BIG MEN

If there changed into a predicament that most wished a spring to form things out, it’s the offensive line under unique predicament coach Jack Bicknell Jr. Brahms and juniors Austin Troxell and Brodarious Hamms seem seemingly starters, and Auburn signed 5 offensive linemen including two junior faculty transfers.

VIRUS UPDATE

Auburn needed to abolish several practices in gradual August after 9 players tested sure for COVID-19. With contact tracing, that intended 16 players needed to be held out four weeks sooner than the season opener. Malzahn stated two unspecified predicament teams were particularly left short-handed. Several Auburn players contain opted to sit out the season, including backup linebacker Chandler Wooten.

SCHEDULE SCRAMBLE

Auburn added a road recreation against South Carolina Oct. 17 and a condominium recreation against No. 25 Tennessee Nov. 21. Long previous are Alcorn Remark, No. 18 North Carolina, Southern Leave out and Massachusetts.

“Having fun with two extra (league) video games gained’t be a shock to our machine,” Malzahn stated. “I deem we’ve had the toughest schedule since 2013. We’re undoubtedly having a seek for at that as a bonus.”

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Extra AP faculty soccer: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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