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Auburn playmakers? Expect surprises

The debate has already started and will continue until and even into next season. Who will be the playmakers for Auburn as Gus Malzahn’s tenure as head coach begins?

The fact is, we just don’t know.

I take you back to 2009, Malzahn’s first season as Auburn’s offensive coordinator. Nobody celebrated when Chris Todd, without the benefit of spring practice, was named the starting quarterback. Junior wide receivers Darvin Adams and Terrell Zachery had been all but forgotten at wide receiver. They had five career catches between them. Senior running back Ben Tate had been good but not great the previous season. Mario Fannin was best-known for fumble problems.

Here’s what happened in 2009:

Todd passed for 2612 yards, threw 22 touchdown passes and just six interceptions. Adams caught 60 passes for 997 yards and 10 touchdowns. Fannin caught 42 passes for 413 yards and three touchdowns. Zachery caught 26 passes for 477 yards and five touchdowns. Tate rushed 263 times for 1362 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Adams, Zachery and Fannin went on to play key roles in the drive to the 2010 national championship.

College football players change from one season to the next. They can change even more when there’s a change at the top. In healthy programs, most players get better as they go.

The moral of the story: Don’t write anybody off in 2013 because of how he performed in the dreadful season of 2012.

Moving on:

Offensive line coach J.B. Grimes, featured in a story on this page today, says he’s been impressed with what he’s seen from the players he will coach.

“The initial impression is very favorable,” Grimes said. “I see guys that are long and guys that are athletic. I think obviously when you have a lot of young guys you are not as strong as you are going to be. That comes with time and maturity. I see some bodies out there we feel like we have a chance to really coach and help become really good players.” …

Grimes said he has long had respect for Auburn's program from the perspective of a coach and from the perspective of a college football-watcher.

"Just from afar and being in the same league with them and watching Auburn growing up. I've really always admired Auburn," Grimes said. "I've always liked their colors. I've always liked their uniforms. A lot of things I've always admired - beautiful stadium, great fans that always turn out and travel well. There's just a lot about Auburn I've always liked. ...

Don Dunn, Auburn’s defensive tackles coach for 10 years under Tommy Tuberville, has landed on Bobby Petrino’s staff at Western Kentucky. Good for him. He’s a good coach and a good guy. …

Until next time …

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