Depth is certainly a problem for the Tigers, especially at linebacker and on the offensive line, but former coach Tommy Tuberville left some players, after all.
He originally signed Ontario McCalebb, the fast little back who accounted for 197 all-purpose yards in his first college game Saturday.
McCalebb was part of Tuberville's much-maligned 2008 class … the one that was ranked only 20-something and judged against rival Alabama's top-ranked class.
Tuberville also signed receiver Terrell Zachery, a former top prospect who delivered a 93-yard touchdown reception Saturday.
Could Wadley's finest finally be ready to break through, three years after he signed with Auburn?
As for Auburn's defense, Tuberville was also first to sign lineman Nick Fairley. Come to think of it, Auburn's top eight tacklers in the game all signed under the previous regime. They performed against a Tech team that returned several players after winning eight games and a bowl in 2008.
Alabama and JSU also filled the cupboards this weekend. Alabama notched a marquee win after a week of distractions, and JSU got some always-needed cash while avoiding big injuries against a tough foe.
Looks as though this season is off to a positive start for the Big 3.
Auburn shows up Tuberville
But Tuberville might want to revise recent history, such as his jury-is-still-out remark about current Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn this past week.
While Malzahn hadn't coached a game at Auburn until Saturday, Tuberville's tepid take on the former Arkansas and Tulsa coordinator came off as a slight.
Well, the jury has new evidence. Auburn gained 556 yards Saturday.
The Tigers looked good in doing it, especially in the second half. They finally played with the pace former coordinator Tony Franklin wanted last season.
Malzahn spent the offseason tamping down notions that his offense is softy-pass-a-lot. Auburn gained 303 rushing yards Saturday.
No one will confuse Tech's defense for the brand Auburn will face in SEC play. The Bulldogs' 'D' rates more like the kind Malzahn shredded at Tulsa.
But Auburn's offense didn't look so good in the 2008 opener against Louisiana-Monroe. The Tigers didn't look so good at any point after that, either.
Malzahn has a healthy Todd to work with this year, something Franklin never had last year, but ole Gus seems to be making more of a fuss with roughly the same batch of players.
It's enough to raise eyebrows and nod heads in the jury room.
JSU hoping paydays don't hurt
The good news for JSU? For a measly $200,000 check, the Gamecocks managed only two apparently minor injuries.
Torrey Davis' bruised knee apparently won't keep the former Florida defensive lineman and Tampa, Fla., native from playing against Florida State this week.
And though no one wanted to be receiver John Houston Whiddon when he took a hard shot in the back against Tech, his bruised ribs apparently won't keep him out against Florida State.
The bad news for JSU?
The Gamecocks get a $450,000 check this week. One wonders how many injuries that will buy and how severe.
Lower-division teams risk injuries in playing top-division competition, and JSU will take double the risk. Instead of playing one such game this season, the Gamecocks will play two, back-to-back.
On the one end, why not? The Gamecocks technically don't have to worry about a conference race. The NCAA's postseason ban stemming from JSU's APR performance saw to that, so why not make some money?
Then again, the Gamecocks hope to sweep through their Football Championship Subdivision competition this year. Rings for seniors and suites for sale hang in the balance.
If the Gamecocks get through these two games without any significant injuries, then these games help them get there. And if not?
Well, $650,000 is $650,000, one supposes.
Tide powered through
Alabama has gotten better at handling distractions.
The Crimson Tide had plenty in the week leading up to its season opener against Virginia Tech, such as Brandon Deaderick suffering a gunshot wound, the NCAA clearing Julio Jones and Mark Ingram and then Jerrell Harris being declared ineligible.
Despite so many distractions, then-No. 5 Alabama beat then-No. 7 Virginia Tech in the Chick-fil-A College Kickoff on national television.
The Tide didn't handle distractions so well in its last game that counted.
Andre Smith's suspension and the Tide's general sense of bummerdom following an SEC Championship loss to Florida carried into the Sugar Bowl, where Alabama lost to Utah in January.
The good news for this year's Alabama team is that the distractions should die down.
The NCAA still has to review Harris' case. Alabama also awaits word on its appeal of sanctions stemming from the textbook scandal, but the sanctions were lighter than expected and will not affect current and future Tide teams.
None of those concerns can compare to the trauma of Deaderick getting shot while trying to fight off a robbery. He ended up playing against Virginia Tech, albeit with a heavy wrapping on his left arm.
Before Deaderick's brush with bullets, the Tide was sweating whether arguably its two best offensive players would play against Tech.
Pretty heavy distractions for any team, and Alabama handled them well … this time.