Summer Scouting: Auburn

Nick Marshall helped Auburn win the SEC and advance to the BCS title game last year.

Nick Marshall helped Auburn win the SEC and advance to the BCS title game last year.

Summer Scouting is a daily weekday post analyzing LSU football’s 12 opponents for the 2014 season. From Wisconsin (June 19) to Texas A&M (July 4), we’ll give you an early scouting report on the one dozen teams on LSU’s schedule.

Game reset

  • When: Oct. 4 (time TBA)
  • Where: Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, Alabama
  • Early spread: Auburn -6.5 (Golden Nugget)
  • Who’s before and after: vs. MississippiState and at Florida

Auburn at a glance

  • Coach (year): Guz Malzahn (2nd)
  • 2013 record: 12-2 (7-1, t1st)
  • 2013 postseason: Lost 34-31 to FloridaState in the BCS national championship game
  • Returning starters: 12
  • Preseason projection (Sporting News): 2nd in SEC West, 5th nationally

SPRING STORYLINE

D’haquille Williams: There was a lot buzzing in Auburn during spring. Who replaces school-record breaking Tre Mason at running back? Who replaces first-round pick Greg Robinson at left tackle, and who fills the shoes of Dee Ford on the defensive line? But Williams, a junior college transfer wide receiver who chose Auburn over LSU, stole the show. Williams is expected to claim a starting job at receiver. He was ranked as the No. 1 junior college player in the nation last year.

BIGGEST THREAT

QB Nick Marshall: A speedy senior, Marshall led Auburn on its miracle march last season to the SEC championship and national championship game. Marshall passed for 1,976 yards and 14 touchdowns while running for 1,068 and 12 scores. A junior college transfer two years ago, Marshall fits perfectly into Malzahn’s up-tempo, spread scheme. He’s a major threat through the air and on the ground.

WEAK SPOT

Left tackle: Auburn loses Robinson, a 6-5, 330-pound Thibodaux kid who was chosen by the St. Louis Rams with the second pick in the NFL draft in May. Any time a squad loses a first-round draft pick, there’s a dropoff. A No. 2 pick? A big dropoff, maybe. Avery Young, a sophomore who started at right tackle last season, appears to be the guy to replace Robinson. It won’t be easy to step into the shoes of the first team All-Southeastern Conference selection.

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