Today, we take a look at what should be the strongest and weakest positions for Auburn in 2010:
Strongest position: Offensive line
Key returnees: Lee Ziemba, Ryan Pugh, Byron Isom, Mike Berry, Bart Eddins, John Sullen
Key departures: Andrew McCain
The skinny: The Tigers' offensive line played the whole way last season with essentially five guys, and four of those starters are back. The 6-8, 310-pound Ziemba should be one of the best left tackles in the league, while Pugh was a second-team, All-SEC selection at center last season. There’s plenty of depth, too, when you look at the other players coming back, not to mention a pair of junior college newcomers – Roszell Gayden and Brandon Mosley – who are on campus and will go through spring practice. Whether it’s running the football or throwing it in 2010, the Tigers will have the experience and talent up front to get it done.
Weakest position: Linebacker
Key returnees: Josh Bynes, Craig Stevens, Eltoro Freeman, Jonathan Evans
Key departures: None
The skinny: Bynes and Stevens both had extremely productive seasons in 2009. The problem was that they had to play the whole game because the Tigers only had four scholarship linebackers available most of the season. Freeman should be better mentally and physically his second year in the program after coming over from junior college, and Evans was forced into action against Alabama and collected eight tackles. There’s some talk that the Tigers may take a look at Daren Bates at linebacker this spring. As a freshman safety last season, he was fourth on the team with 70 tackles. However it shakes out, Auburn needs to build more depth at the position. Highly rated freshman signee LaDarius Owens will be another one to watch.