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No-Huddle Notebook: Tempo, pads, and tempo

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Here’s your obligatory photo of the quarterbacks kind of doing something.

The Auburn Tigers were back in Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday for the first time since last fall, and for the first time this spring, it was the real deal: full pads, full contact, and even some 11 on 11.

But the pads didn’t slow down Gus Malzahn’s fast tempo practice. And keeping with the theme, today’s post is going to be quick. Let’s get to it:

Quarterbacks in pads. Everybody loved getting out in pads and going full contact — especially the quarterbacks, who saw all the positives of live action around them without any the negatives of actually getting hit.

Both quarterbacks spoke to the media for the first time this spring.

“I think it’s great for me,” Jonathan Wallace said. “Even though I’m not getting hit, I’m still getting that timing of when the rush is coming and how fast the rush is coming and different things like that. Just being able to be in pads today, it was good.”

Malzahn said that there was some good and some bad for the quarterbacks, but overall average. Both quarterbacks ran with “first” and “second” group (neither of which are set in stone of course) in 11 on 11 drills.

“It was good,” Frazier said of playing full pads. “We haven’t been in pads since last year. So for us to get out there and run around a little bit and hit a little bit, it was fun.”

Speaking of the quarterbacks, there’s only two on scholarship with the team right now, which means Wallace and Frazier have had their fair share of reps this spring.

“A lot of reps, a lot of reps, a lot of reps,” Wallace said. “It’s good reps. Even when we’re not in, we’re out there paying attention to the other guy, what the next play is. It’s good for us. We’re always doing something, and I think that’s a good thing for us.”

Of course, Auburn isn’t experiencing any kind of crisis at depth at the quarterback position. Three more scholarship guys will be joining the team in the fall.

11 on 11. The team got to do a good bit of 11 on 11 drills during practice, including this tempo drill that we media types got to see a bit of at the very beginning of practice. That’s Malzahn yelling “WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?” of course.

You can see a couple more quick look-ins at what the quarterbacks were doing with offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee here and here.

Much later on in practice, the team concluded with some much more serious 11 on 11 stuff, according to Malzahn.

“We ended, probably the last 20, 25 minutes with some 11 on 11 stuff,” Malzahn said. “We didn’t move the ball. We just brought it back. It was scripted stuff, but it was tackle football. It gave our coaches a chance to see how we block, tackle, protect the football, everything that goes with playing real live football.”

While Malzahn was encouraged, he still said the team is trying to grasp the frantic pace of practice, and when asked if he had seen anyone step up and shine given the opportunity in pads, the answer was: Zero.

“I thought there was some guys that really tried to and there’s got some guys that we’ve got a really long way to go,” Malzahn said. “That’s kind of what I told them. But, at the same time, a lot of them are in shock, with how fast the pace, everything that goes with that. Fatigue is a factor. We’ve got to get them in our type of playing shape.

“But I really believe that our guys have that attitude and they want to do that and it’s just a matter of time before we get there.”

Up next: Practice back at the practice fields.

Previously: No-Huddle Notebook: Happy New Year!, No-Huddle Notebook: It’s another New Day, again.

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