Auburn returned to the practice field Saturday morning for the second day of fall camp, which continued with another split-squad session.
The Tigers’ veterans were the first on the field Saturday, while the newcomers will practice during the afternoon — although a couple of new faces were sprinkled in with the returning players during Saturday’s session. The local media was granted another viewing window for Day 2 of fall camp, providing another early look into this year’s team as preparation picks up for the 2022 season.
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Observations from Auburn’s first rookie practice of the preseason
Below are AL.com’s observations from Saturday’s viewing period:
— As mentioned, a couple of newcomers (who participated in the afternoon practice Friday) shifted to the veterans session Saturday: wide receivers Camden Brown and Dazalin Worsham. Brown, a true freshman, has drawn some early praise from teammates since his arrival this summer, as the 6-foot-3, 202-pounder certainly looks the part of a big-time SEC receiver. Worsham, a transfer from Miami and former Hewitt-Trussville starter, also mixed in with the veteran receivers Saturday morning.
— When the media first walked out onto the field, with practice already underway, the Tigers were in the middle of some 11-on-11 work. Zach Calzada was at quarterback with the second-team offense, which included Jarquez Hunter at running back, Tyler Fromm at tight end, Ja’Varrius Johnson at slot receiver, and Camden Brown out wide (along with another receiver, whose number I did not catch immediately). The offensive line with that group was Kilian Zierer at left tackle, Kam Stutts at left guard, Tate Johnson at center, Keiondre Jones at right guard and Alec Jackson at right tackle.
— That offensive unit went up against a defense that included Morris Joseph Jr., Zykeivous Walker and Jayson Jones along the defensive line, with Dylan Brook on the edge. Desmond Tisdol was at linebacker, along with walk-on Jake Levant. Jaylin Simpson and DJ James were at cornerback, with Donovan Kaufman at nickel. Keionte Scott was deep at safety (I was unable to make out the other safety in this unit).
— After the 11-on-11 session, the offensive skill players went through group drills, with personnel rotating with each rep. TJ Finley received the first rep, along with running back Tank Bigsby, receiver Shedrick Jackson, tight end John Samuel Shenker and two others whose number I missed on the first rep.
Finley and Calzada alternated reps, with different personnel groupings each time. Calzada’s first rep featured wide receivers Koy Moore and Camden Brown, running back Sean Jackson, and tight ends Tyler Fromm and Brandon Frazier.
The third rotation, with Finley back at quarterback, included running back Jarquez Hunter, receivers Malcolm Johnson Jr. and Shedrick Jackson, and tight ends John Samuel Shenker and Luke Deal. The fourth rotation, with Calzada, included Moore and Brown at receiver, Bigsby at running back, and Shenker and Deal at tight end.
Rotation no. 5, with Finley, included Jackson, Malcom Johnson Jr. and Ja’Varrius Johnson at receiver, Sean Jackson at running back, and Deal at tight end. The final rotation with Calzada featured Brown, Moore and walk-on Tommy Nesmith at receiver, Hunter at running back and Frazier at tight end.
— Following that period, the quarterbacks worked on hand-offs and wheel routes to the running backs. During those drills, Finley was paired with Bigsby, while Calzada paired with Hunter. Finley threw a nice-looking wheel route to Bigsby during one rep, while Calzada and Hunter couldn’t connect on their first attempt, prompting running backs coach Cadillac Williams to tell them to repeat the rep. Calzada’s second attempt on a wheel route to Hunter was completed down the right sideline. In this drill, walk-on quarterback Sawyer Pate worked with Jackson at running back.
— Following the work with running backs, the quarterbacks then worked on passing drills with the tight ends. Finley was paired with Shenker, while Calzada alternated reps with Deal and Fromm. Pate worked with Frazier.
— Toward the end of the viewing window, the offense and defense went head-to-head in some red-zone running drills (Finley and Calzada were not included in this drill, with Pate handling snaps and hand-offs to the running backs ).
— Bigsby broke a couple of runs for scores against the first-team defense inside the red-zone, including one in which he bounced out to the right and into the corner of the end zone for a score. That prompted linebackers coach Christian Robinson to get on linebacker Eugene Asante, who over-pursued to the inside, giving Bigsby space to break the run out wide.
— Sean Jackson had a nice run up the middle against the second-team defense during this drill.
— Hunter fumbled after contact at the line of scrimmage on a hit by Marcus Harris on one rep, with Tisdol coming up with the recovery.
Tom Green is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Tomas_Verde.