Over a month after the tragic death of three young men, including former Auburn Tigers football players Ed Christian and Ladarious Phillips, wide receiver Emory Blake touched on how the program has healed since that rainy June weekend at SEC Media Days.
The senior said as nice as it is to talk about football, but the shooting was still tragic to the team.
Since the deaths of former players Christian and Phillips, Auburn has had counselors available for any players or staff members that have needed them. Blake credited Coach Gene Chizik for being extremely helpful throughout the entire process, but with the deaths occurring so quickly and out of the blue, Blake said there is still healing to take place.
Sophomore offensive lineman Eric Mack, who was shot while trying to protect others, has physically made a full recovery, but is still having trouble psychologically, it was reported recently.
Auburn begins fall practice on Aug. 1, which will begin a season Blake said is dedicated to the deaths of his former teammates.
With the shooting making national news off the field, the Tigers have been busy with summer workouts and installing new offenses and defenses.
Entering fall camp for the third time in Chizik’s four years, Auburn provides arguably the biggest question mark in the conference as far as offenses are concerned. Coordinator Scot Loeffler is guru in developing quarterbacks and has also proven he can produce solid running backs, as well.
Defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder has a probable starting front of all upperclassmen. A lack of experience may provide an Achilles’ Heel for the Tigers, but depth will not be an issue like it was in 2011.
Leading to fall practice and the beginning of the season, I will preview each position more in-depth.