AUBURN, Alabama — Auburn’s first scrimmage of preseason camp may lead to some difficult decisions for coaches Thursday.

The Tigers are scheduled to conduct their first major scrimmage Thursday morning, and there’s no question what is on sixth-year coach Gus Malzahn’s mind.

“Probably the biggest thing is getting these young guys and getting our offensive line, everything, together,” Malzahn said. “The pieces of the puzzle. And then you kinda know more.”

Auburn will try to solidify its options and potentially settle a position or two along the right side of the offensive line. The scrimmage might also mark the moment offensive line coach J.B. Grimes figures out whether to move right guard Mike Horton to center permanently and potentially elevate former right tackle Calvin Ashley to a starting spot at right guard. Then there is the right tackle competition between redshirt freshman Austin Troxell and UMass graduate transfer Jack Driscoll.

Whether Auburn settles on a starting lineup along the offensive line is up in he air. Malzahn hopes the coaching staff can piece it together after watching film Friday.

“There's really nothing like a scrimmage, making them play more than four plays in a row or whatever, making them play situational football back-to-back whether it's red zone or third downs,” offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey said. “I do think when the first scrimmage is complete we'll have a lot live information on guys that will maybe help us decipher that. You know, the quicker we can get that settled and get those guys working as a unit, in cohesion, side-by-side, double teams and all the things that go with it, I think that'll help us. And then obviously you have to have plans because, like last year, we've had guys get hurt, guys get banged up. You always have to have a plan in place in case something happens. The fact we have looked at some different combinations will help us down the road. We would definitely, as soon as we can, like to settle on an opening day starting lineup for sure.”

Meanwhile, the scrimmage will also provide the much-hyped freshmen a chance to prove whether they can adjust to life as an SEC player. A handful of freshman receivers could potentially play early in the season, but the scrimmage will prove whether big-bodied Matthew Hill, a red zone threat, or speedsters Anthony Schwartz and Shaun Shivers can play against the Tigers’ top-tier defense.

There are also the questions surrounding the running backs, where it appears Kam Martin, JaTarvious Whitlow, freshman Asa Martin and fullback Chandler Cox are competing for carries. Can Martin, at 193 pounds, block pass rushers and carry the ball 15 times or more in a game? Is Whitlow ready to make the transition from small-town high school quarterback to 200-plus pound running back in the SEC? Will freshman Asa Martin continue on a trajectory that shows he’s capable of handling the pressure of the position as a newcomer?

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Questions are not as frequent or concerning on defense, where starting jobs appear to be secure in all but three positions: Buck, Nickel and cornerback. And even at those spots the Tigers have plenty of talented options with playing experience. Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele built top-15 defenses in each of his first two seasons at Auburn, and the expectation is this defense could be better.

“Now the thing we've got to fight is complacency,” Steele said. “Because when you get used to something, you get complacent. We've got a lot of things that we've got to get better at. We've got a lot of things we've got to coach better. We've got a lot of things. We can't get used to the routine, get complacent. 'Oh, I know what to do. I know how we do it.' We're not going to stay the same. You're not going to stay the same. You either get better or you get worse. So we've really preached that, about not getting complacent with the success we've had and then correcting the things we need to correct. Which, that's a pretty full plate — the corrections and the complacency.”

Auburn’s scrimmage is closed to the public and the media. Malzahn and selected players are scheduled to speak to reporters after the scrimmage at or near noon Thursday.