The Auburn football team hits Jordan-Hare Stadium again Wednesday for its second 11-versus-11 scrimmage of the preseason, with plenty left to learn and plenty left to prove as the calendar barrels closer to kickoff on Aug. 31.
Camp is coming to a close soon. Classes start next Monday, and with them will come the rhythm of the regular fall routine. Auburn only has a handful of camp days left, focused on football out in the brutal August heat and oppressing humidity.
The Tigers will have to make the most out of every day. And they’ll have to take advantage of one of their last chances today to simulate game action before it’s time for the real deal against Oregon two weeks from this Saturday.
The defense got the better of the offense last scrimmage in Jordan-Hare last Thursday. Now challenged to respond, that’s sure to weigh over the offensive players getting their shot to show improvement six days later.
Auburn is still searching for a starter at quarterback between Bo Nix and Joey Gatewood, who’ll both be in non-contact jerseys as the quarterbacks will be protected by quick whistles and kept upright.
Every other part of the scrimmage will look a lot like a Saturday game day coming this season. That experience is invaluable for the team.
“We’re very motivated,” wide receiver Marquis McClain said after Monday’s practice. “We’re getting closer to game time. … Each day we’re more motivated.
“I think that’s one big thing that’s really helping us to get through this last week of fall camp, honestly.”
Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn challenged the offense to answer after that first scrimmage last Thursday. He and just about everyone else said the defense dominated the offense on that day.
“We’ve got to be better — just improve,” receiver Sal Cannella said. “That’s the main thing: You’ve just got to improve. You can’t take a step back.”
As for the defense, cornerback Noah Igbinoghene said the unit is looking to pile onto its success, and carry that right into kickoff.
“The same: Dominate,” he said of the defense’s focus for the scrimmage. “We dominated the first one and kept going. That’s all that coach is preaching to us.
“We can do a lot this year. We could be very special, so we’ve got to keep going every time we get on that field.”
The scrimmage will be closed to the public and to the media. Malzahn will address the media after the workout.
“Just attack, be aggressive,” backup center Nick Brahms said. “We have just got to keep pushing, keep getting better every day. That is really the key, just getting better every day with everybody, even like the second team, the blue team — just making improvements all of the time.”