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Auburn’s new defensive line coach Nick Easton said the the entire position group would be playing “musical chairs” through spring practice and need to prove themselves again. 247 Sports reports that Eason has been putting backups in starting situations, and vice versa, to get guys out of their comfort zone.
“I don’t want guys to think they’ve arrived,” Eason said, per 247 Sports. “None of us have arrived. We’ve got a long ways to go. But they’re moving in the right direction. So I’ve been moving guys with our first and second and third groups, shuffling them around and seeing how they handle a little bit of competition.”
Easton arrived at Auburn shortly after new head coach Bryan Harsin was hired once the Tigers had fired former head coach Gus Malzahn. Eason works under defensive coordinator Derek Mason.
The new defensive line coach said he’s creating competition and making sure guys understand they have to earn right to run out there on that field come Saturdays.
Easton said senior Tyrone Truesdell is a “silent leader” and getting the majority of first-team reps at nose tackle, with senior Marquis Burks at the other starting defensive tackle spot, along with Colby Wooden at defensive end, 247 Sports reports.
The second group consists of former JUCO product Dre Butler and sophomore Zykeivous Walker, along with redshirt freshmen Jay Hardy and Daniel Foster-Allen, both of whom were limited by injuries last season.
With the new defensive leadership, Auburn is moving to a base 3-4 defense — with other alignments blended in — and Eason said his group has gotten accustomed to it without too much difficulty.
Auburn will close out its third week of spring practices with a scrimmage Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium at 11 a.m. and will open the stadium up to AU students, faculty and staff.