TAMPA, FLA. – Auburn safety Jeremiah Dinson watched some Gophers film when he was home for the holiday break, and two numbers popped out to him: 13 and 6.
That’s Rashod Bateman and Tyler Johnson, the Gophers’ 1,000-yard receivers.
“The quarterback loves them,” Dinson said Friday after Auburn’s first practice in Tampa, ahead of Wednesday’s Outback Bowl. “They can run any route in the route tree. They can go and catch the long balls well. Lot of double moves. They’re an all-around group, to be honest with you.”
Dinson and his No. 12 Tigers head into the bowl game favored against the No. 18 Gophers, who are encountering the SEC powerhouse for the first time. Auburn’s defense will try to prevent Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan from throwing deep or over the top, Dinson said. But he’s expecting to make some big plays of his own for his final collegiate game.
“Hopefully — well, it’s not even hopefully — I feel like I could get a chance to catch a pick or two when we play those guys,” he said. “It’s fun going out with a team like this. They’re kind of a 7-on-7 style, that type of team. You know they’re going to put the ball in the air. As a DB, that’s fun, knowing that going into the game.”
A carousel of coordinators
While the Gophers just lost their offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca to Penn State, Auburn gained a new one in former Arkansas coach Chad Morris, after Kenny Dillingham went to Florida State. So Auburn will have to face Gophers receivers coach Matt Simon in the interim while the Gophers will encounter Morris, who will have been on the job for just three weeks come game time.
“He’s got a good understanding,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said, adding he’ll lean on Morris this week and seek his input. “It’s more about game-planning and what to look for, then of course he’ll be in the booth just like Kenny did last year. But he’s getting very familiar with the quarterbacks, working with them. So far, so good.”