AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn football expects every player on its defense to be available for its season opener in two weeks against Georgia Southern, and everyone is already accounted for on the practice field.
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said every defensive player who has been injured in fall camp participated in practice Saturday. Defensive end Marlon Davidson, defensive tackle Andrew Williams and defensive back Daniel Thomas were among those who suffered injuries during the first three weeks of camp.
“All of them were back in some capacity, that’s out there doing something,” Malzahn said “Everyone of those guys we expect to be ready for game one. Anytime you go through fall camp and it’s physical, you’re going to have some nicks and stuff like that.”
Davidson, a returning starter and key player on the defensive line, suffered a non-contact knee injury two weeks ago in the final practice of camp’s first week. Auburn defensive line coach Rodney Garner said Davidson “should be fine” for the start of the season last week.
Williams had an knee injury of his own during the first week of camp and was limited in open media viewing sessions. The junior is most likely Auburn’s No. 3 defensive tackle for 2017 behind projected starters Derrick Brown and Dontavius Russell.
Thomas had a cast on his left hand during the team’s picture day in Week 2 of camp. The sophomore played in place of Rudy Ford during the Tigers’ last two games of 2016, picking off a pair of passes against Alabama. Thomas has worked at nickel and safety during fall camp.
While Auburn’s staff is undoubtedly pleased the injured players are back in action in some capacity, Malzahn said the Tigers benefited from some of those absences.
“It gives some guys that may be with the twos get a chance to see how they respond with the ones,” Malzahn said. “Those guys that you just talked about, all of them have game experience so our coaches know a lot about what they’re going to get.
“I think that will be a blessing as far as moving forward in a season and get that experience. There’s nothing like being out there with the first group and seeing how they respond.”
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