AUBURN – Auburn stars Derrick Brown, Seth Williams and Prince Tega Wanogho have all returned to practice, head coach Gus Malzahn said Tuesday, with eyes on their playing status in this Saturday’s SEC opener at Texas A&M.
Malzahn said all three would practice and be evaluated before the team determines if they’ll play against the Aggies.
Auburn (3-0) and Texas A&M (2-1) kick off at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in College Station, Texas.
All three of those standouts missed action in Auburn’s homecoming win over Kent State last Saturday. Wanogho and Williams missed the game, and Brown left the field early in the game and did not return.
Brown, at defensive tackle, and Wanogho, at left tackle, are two senior leaders who have both been touted with preseason All-SEC honors and as two of Auburn’s best NFL Draft prospects.
Williams caught the game-winning touchdown pass for Auburn in the Tigers’ season-opening win over Oregon.
“We’ll see how they’re doing,” Malzahn said, while adding that he’s ‘not ready’ to say whether they’ll play on Saturday. “It’s still day-to-day,” he said.
“But they’ll be out there and we’ll be evaluating.”
Meanwhile, freshman defensive lineman Derick Hall has been ruled out by Malzahn.
But in Brown, Wanogho and Williams, three critical returns could come just in time for Auburn to open conference play in a hostile environment in one of college football’s biggest stadiums.
“Those are three impact players, now,” Malzahn said. “Your impact players, when you play league games especially on the road, they’re very important.
“So we’ll see how they move around and how they do today.”
Malzahn spoke at his weekly press conference Tuesday before the Tigers’ practice.
Brown left the Kent State game early with what Malzahn later called an upper-body contusion.
Williams was sidelined for the game from the start of the week. Wanogho dressed and seemed available but did not play.
Williams injured his shoulder on a play which saw him bring in a catch near the goal line during Auburn’s second game against Tulane. He left the field in a sling that day. He did not dress in gear for the Kent State game, but was with the team and not in a sling last Saturday.
Wanogho seemed ready to play but was rested, after he was “banged up” in the Tulane game before, Malzahn said.
Senior Bailey Sharp played in his place, but during the course of the Kent State game, injured his knee and is now out for the next six weeks.
With depth behind Wanogho thinner, his presence appears even more valuable.
Malzahn said Sunday that in Wanogho’s absence, sophomore Brodarious Hamm could slide into the starting lineup, with senior right tackle Jack Driscoll moving to the left side to protect quarterback Bo Nix’s blind side, and Hamm stepping into Driscoll’s spot on the right side.