AUBURN — It’s unlikely Robenson Therezie will play in Auburn’s season opener, if not beyond, as the Tigers’ reigning Defensive Player of the Year is not listed on the initial two-deep depth chart.
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said there wasn’t an update on Therezie’s status, though only Justin Garrett and freshman Nick Ruffin are listed at “star” safety on the depth chart he released Tuesday.
“We just didn’t feel like we needed to put him on there right now until it is resolved,” Malzahn said.
During his appearance on the Tiger Talk radio program Monday, Malzahn called Garrett the “main guy” at the hybrid position, with T.J. Davis also playing well.
Therezie had 57 tackles with a team-high four interceptions last season. Ruffin, a 6-foot-0, 174-pound true freshman, has managed to put himself in position to play despite a diminutive size for the position.
“Nick has really stood out and done an outstanding job on the defensive side,” Malzahn said. “We've had a lot of scrimmages with the young guys emphasis, and he stood out and did a very good job in all of those.”
FIVE FRESHMEN CRACK TWO-DEEP: Even though the Tigers have experienced players across their roster, five freshmen performed well enough to crack the first two-deep depth chart.
Braden Smith is backing up Shon Coleman at left tackle, and Stanton Truitt is behind Marcus Davis at slot receiver. On defense, Tré Williams is behind weak side linebacker Kris Frost, Stephen Roberts is backing up Jermaine Whitehead at field safety and Ruffin is behind Garrett at "star" safety.
"If they're on the two-deep, there's a really good chance they're going to play," Malzahn said. "We think we've got some talented guys. Fall camp — we feel like they've earned the right to be up there. We feel very comfortable."
Smith's strength has been lauded all month, Truitt was among five early enrollees, Williams was one of the top members of last year's signing class, and Roberts and Ruffin each had strong outings in fall camp.
Malzahn said Williams and Roberts, who had a minor injury in fall camp, each "earned their way" onto the initial depth chart.
OTHER DEPTH-CHART NEWS: Wide receiver Jaylon Denson will be “ready to go” after missing a practice last week to “take care of” something Malzahn would not explain.
Junior college transfer defensive end DaVonte Lambert made it on the two-deep behind Elijah Daniel at left end. Tyler Stovall will be the holder instead of Jonathan Wallace. Corey Grant and Ricardo Louis are the lead kickoff returners.
The only scholarship punter on the roster, Jimmy Hutchinson, was not listed on the depth chart. He is behind both Daniel Carlson, who will kickoff, kick and punt, and walk-on Australian punter Matthew Shiel.