Auburn football: Spring has sprung; practice note you may have missed –

Welcome to SEC Country’s daily War Eagle Wakeup, a rundown of everything happening in Auburn football and Auburn Tigers athletics with Lauren Shute. Today, we discuss the highly anticipated start of spring ball and a lesser-discussed observation from the media viewing period on Tuesday.

Back to work

It’s finally time to read those three little words you’ve been so patiently waiting on for weeks: Spring has sprung.

Auburn football started practice Tuesday and there’s no time to waste.

New coaches (such as Chip Lindsey and defensive backs coach Greg Brown) and new players (like Jarrett Stidham) have joined returning Tigers and everyone has their eyes on a championship in 2017, Yes, the word “championship” was said multiple times throughout the day.

Though it was a helmets only practice, the weather was just right and the excitement was evident.

Here are a few highlights from the workouts:

Inside the media viewing period

While open practices are rare on the Plains, members of the media were able to watch some of the Tigers’ initial workout on Tuesday.

The time slot (about 15 minutes) was broken down into short periods that included stretching along with movement-and-pace drills.

But in such a short window, can you really see anything of value?

The Internet is filled with practice reports and notes from Day 1. You can easily find out that former Baylor quarterback Jarrett Stidham led the first-team offense through reps. It’s relatively simple to find out who took turns at various positions on defense.

What most people won’t mention, however, is stretching lines.

And you can learn a lot — no matter the level (middle school or Division I football) or sport — simply from watching players get loose.

Getting warmer

As a former Division I athlete, it’s always interesting to watch other teams stretch and warm up. Every program has its own tendencies and personality.

The first day of practice, no matter the sport, is always pretty upbeat. Players and programs are getting a fresh start in fresh gear — something Auburn was particularly thrilled about on Tuesday.

Still, there are different kinds of excitement. Some groups start off practice chatty, buzzing about what they feel will be a good year. Some teams come into a practice facility and establish a more quiet, focused nature.

Auburn players emitted a bit of both through the beginning of their first workout.

H-Back Chandler Cox (typically one of the loudest players during media viewing periods) wildly shouted back and forth to teammates stretching in lines across the building. Others clapped and laughed while some simply went about their business. Whatever players felt got them best prepared, or so it appeared, is what they did.

Every athlete, however, seemed like he belonged.

Chemistry is something that’s hard to fake. A lot of times, as much as coaches try to create it, teams either have it or they don’t. But with so many new faces around, there was lots of laughing and joking (even some playful shoving) for a first day of practice.

When drills started, players who have experience at Auburn cheered for newcomers who haven’t been around that long.

Coach Gus Malzahn said at the Sugar Bowl that his team from a year ago got along better than any group he’d coached in his time as head coach at Auburn.

Being around the current group, which will add more members in the coming months, felt a lot like being around the 2016 team. The team seemed at ease. The camaraderie was evident. Still, Auburn gave off a little bit of an edge that eluded the Tigers last season.

And they were just a little bit louder.


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