Auburn football wide receivers have ‘grown up’ during preseason

AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey has seen the Tigers’ wide receiving unit transform in a relatively short time.

“That group has grown up right in front of our eyes,” Lindsey said during his Thursday night appearance on Tiger Talk. “They’ve made plays on contested catches, which, in the SEC, you better be able to make 50-50 plays.”

When Jarrett Stidham arrived on campus it seemed Gus Malzahn and his new coordinator had found the missing piece to the puzzle. At that point the question became which receivers would help Stidham balance Auburn’s offense.

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Through the summer months a long list of players seemed to be stepping up, more concerned about the team’s success than individual numbers. A clearer picture of particular role players has started to emerge as Auburn enters game week.

“I think Darius Slayton has had a really good camp,” Lindsey said. “I think Ryan Davis has had a really good camp. Those are two that stand out. Eli Stove, obviously Will Hastings.”

But Lindsey’s just getting started.

“Nate Craig-Myers has come on here in the last week or so,” Lindsey said. “Sal Cannella is another guy that I think has done a really good job.”

Lindsey’s also been impressed with a few underclassmen, perhaps even enough to get them quality minutes early in the year. The student-athletes on that list include speedster Noah Igbinoghene and Marquis McClain.

Everyone will have a chance to be heavily involved in the offense in 2017.

“That group as a unit, I think has done some really nice things and grown up,” Lindsey said. “I think they’ll all have some kind of role.

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Overall the offense was less plagued by injuries than Auburn’s defense this August. Still, Lindsey put his players through specific situations designed to test their will to succeed. And the first year offensive coordinator liked the responses he saw.

“Each and every time, our guys have responded on offense when we challenged them to do better the next day or whatever,” Lindsey said. “I like the direction we’re headed, and we’re looking forward to getting on the field and seeing where we are.”

Auburn opens against Georgia Southern in Jordan-Hare Stadium on Sept. 2.

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