Multiple reports close to the team stated that the Auburn Tigers will be without punter Jimmy Hutchinson and linebacker Anthony Swain for the duration of the 2015 campaign. The duo has reportedly left the program, but the exact reasoning for their departures remains unknown at this time. Both players were utilized primarily in reserve roles during the 2014 season and weren’t likely to see their playing time expanded next season.
“I’m going to update our spring roster next Tuesday, so I’m going to wait until then and I’ll give you all the updates — not just with him, but with other people, too,” Malzahn said to AL.com.
Still, its difficult for coaches to lose any players and reflects poorly on the direction Malzahn has the program moving.
Swain recorded 18 tackles and a sack in 2014, but never returned to good terms with coach Malzahn after a spring run in. The disagreement appeared to have hurt Swain’s game action and could be a major reason for his decision to leave the program. On the other hand, Hutchinson may be remembered by many tigers fans for his horrific 22 yard punt in the outback bowl that eventually contributed to the team’s demise. Hutchinson was behind Daniel Carlson on the depth chart, and it would have been very tough for Hutchinson to break into the starting lineup.
The Tigers are coming off of an 8-5 year in which the team suffered its fair share of ups and downs before finishing outside of the SEC title hunt. Coach Malzahn will need an improved effort across the board if the team aspires to return to its former glory and that requires each player, reserves and all, to buy in to his philosophy.
*Section Photo credit to Wesley Hitt, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA Today Sports.