Auburn DC Jeff Schmedding provides update on Owen Pappoe and Zion Puckett

Auburn defensive coordinator Jeff Schmedding said he’s confident linebacker Owen Pappoe and defensive back Zion Puckett will be ready to participate when the Tigers meet on the Plains in two weeks for practices. Pappoe and Puckett will begin preparation without a hitch for the season opener against Mercer on Sept. 3 at Jordan-Hare.

Schmedding and 2010 Auburn national championship team member/secondary coach Zac Etheridge addressed a crowd of more than 200 at a dinner for Middle Georgia Auburn’s alumni chapter. Auburn’s first-year defensive coordinator said Pappoe and Puckett will participate fully in football activities beginning May 30 at the team’s facility in Auburn.

“They’re doing well,” Schmedding told AL.Com after the event. “Were excited. They’ll be full when we have our squad meetings to prepare for the summer phase of our schedule. We’re delighted neither of them are missing anything else.

Puckett played 10 games last season safe and made nine starts. He finished the 2021 season with 48 tackles, including a career-high 10 in the loss to eventual national champion Georgia at Jordan-Hare.

Puckett missed the Birmingham Bowl with a shoulder injury. He participated in 7-on-7 and positional drills at spring camp which ended in the A-Day match. Puckett didn’t do contact drills in the 15 practices that made up spring football.

Pappoe has been struggling with an injury he sustained against Penn State last season. He had 23 tackles in 5 games in the 2021 6-7 season. He also did not participate in contact drills during spring football.

Auburn must replace leading tackle Zakoby McClain and team captain Chandler Wooten at core linebacker and Smoke Monday at safety. Getting a healthy Puckett and a healthy Pappoe is essential for a team to compete in the Southeastern Conference.

Nubyjas Wilborn covers Auburn for Alabama Media Group.

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