March 22, 2013

Spring competing: DT

AUBURN | Auburn's three-win season was the culmination of several different kinds of failures, though none was more apparent than the team's inability to stop the run.

The Tigers conceded 198 rushing yards per game last fall.

That kind of failure all but guarantees a second-division finish. Undermining an opponent's ground game requires a confluence of positive developments, many which have nothing to do with the tackles themselves, yet allowing teams to accelerate unabated through the inside gaps demonstrates an obvious problem at tackle.

Now Rodney Garner must make sense of the mess. He's optimistic that a solution can be created, though he won't begin formulating his strategy until April -- at the earliest.

"It's going to be based on how they (performed) in winter workouts, how they progress in spring practice. I have no pre-conceived ideas about any of them," said Garner, an Auburn graduate who returned this winter after 15 seasons at Georgia. "I'm going to evaluate them on their body of work that they do under my watch. Whatever the film says -- who's productive and who deserves to play, that's who will play. It's not going to be a popularity contest. The media's not going to decide. Alumni are not going to decide it. Nothing's going to decide it but their play."

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