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Auburn's Duke Williams, preseason All-SEC WR, back at practice

The College Football Playoff contender will have a key player available in its opener against Louisville.

John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Auburn wide receiver Duke Williams is back at practice after missing a week with disciplinary issues, Tigers coach Gus Malzahn confirmed to reporters, though he did throw in a caveat.

The senior had missed practices since last Friday, with Malzahn offering little explanation over the weekend.

"He had a discipline issue that we're taking care of and when he takes care of that, he'll be back on the field," Malzahn said after practice Saturday. "Bottom line: nobody is bigger than the team around here and that's between me and him."

This isn't the first time Williams has been in trouble since he joined the Tigers in 2014. He sat out the 2015 Outback Bowl for violating team rules.

The Tigers rank No. 7 in the Coaches Poll and were named the SEC favorite by conference media, but Auburn has lost quite a bit of offensive firepower from a team that finished 8-5. Along with a new starting quarterback, the Tigers would have been tasked with replacing their top three receivers and their top three rushers had Williams been kicked off the team.

Auburn begins with a Sept. 5 matchup against Louisville in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, followed by Jacksonville State, a trip to LSU and Mississippi State.

After transferring from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Williams caught 45 passes for 730 yards and five touchdowns, garnering NFL Draft buzz. He is expected to be the main target for quarterback Jeremy Johnson. Here's College and Magnolia on who has to step up:

Will Auburn throw the ball more this season? Of course they will with Johnson at the helm. The focus will still be on the power running game, though.

There are a lot of talented wide receivers on this team (something I can't remember saying much in my lifetime). I don't think any of them are as physically gifted as Duke, but they all bring something special to the field.

There are the obvious knowns: Ricardo Louis, Melvin Ray, and Marcus Davis. Then there are folks like Tony Stevens, Myron Burton, and newcomers Jason Smith, Darius Slayton, and Ryan Davis. There are plenty of options for the Tigers.


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