by Dave Miller
April 20, 02014
Auburn held its annual spring game in front of 70,645 fans at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday, and Gus Malzahn's offense showed that it could be even more dangerous in 2014.
Quarterback Nick Marshall went 13-of-22 passing for 236 yards and four touchdowns against zero interceptions, looking very comfortable and much more at ease as a pocket passer. Marshall's effectiveness on the ground was evident last season, and we saw glimpses of his big arm. But on Saturday, his passes looked more crisp on intermediate throws and he seemed much more comfortable going through his progressions, which should excite Auburn fans in Year 2 under Malzahn.
And despite the early entry of Tre Mason to the NFL Draft, the Tigers effectively ran the ball with Corey Grant (128 yards and a touchdown) and Cameron Artis-Payne (97 yards and a score).
But the most important development to come out of spring is the improved Tigers passing attack, an aspect of the offense that has been of primary focus all offseason. Marshall is clearly improved, and senior Quan Bray (two touchdowns) and junior Sammie Coates (one score) are back at receiver.
The most intriguing player, though, is junior-college transfer D'haquille Williams, who scored a touchdown and has impressed the players and coaching staff since arriving on The Plains. One of the better JUCO players in the Class of 2014 caught five passes for 88 yards and a score in the spring contest. He's a big, physical and athletic receiver who could be a real threat in the red zone.
A better Auburn offense in 2014? Scary thought for opposing SEC defenses.
Dave Miller, the college football editor and writer for the National Football Post, is on Twitter @Miller_Dave.