450 attend Auburn Football Ladies Clinic: 'We're so thankful you're here'

by Jeff Shearer

AUBURN, Ala.  Jarquez Hunter handed off and watched ball carriers slalom around barriers. Keldric Faulk witnessed defenders shed blocking dummies and scoop fumbles. Perry Thompson handed footballs to quarterbacks for their next pass.

Before they star this fall at Jordan-Hare Stadium, the Tigers helped 450 of their biggest fans expand their knowledge Saturday at Auburn's annual Ladies Clinic at the Woltosz Football Performance Center.

"This is one of the greatest days we have because there's probably no other group that has as much passion as you do for Auburn," said head coach Hugh Freeze, who kicked off the event by taking pictures and signing autographs for each attendee.

20240615_Ladies_Clinic_AK-97Hunter hands off: Auburn's Jarquez Hunter helps with running back drills

Each camper received a t-shirt that displayed the event's theme for the 2024 season: Trust the Process.

"I truly believe we're on the right track of restoring the glory to Auburn football," Freeze said. "But it is a process. I'm pretty stubborn in my beliefs and I really want to build it through genuine, authentic relationships with mostly high school kids. I think that's the way you establish a culture and something that will last.

"As you continue to expect us to compete at a high level, which is a reasonable expectation, please give us a little more patience. I really believe two to three recruiting classes are going to have us in the playoffs, and I know you want that just like I do."

20240615_Ladies_Clinic_AK-30Keldric Faulk coaches a camper

After lunch, the campers rotated among five stations: offense, defense, special teams, equipment and strength and conditioning.

"Every drill is optional," Freeze said, drawing laughs.

Before the instruction periods, Freeze's wife, Jill, joined a panel with the wives of Auburn's coordinators: Allison Nix, Sarah Durkin and Kristy Kelly, who shared stories about being SEC spouses, and how they met their husbands.

Jill and Hugh met in math class as students at the University of Southern Mississippi. Allison and Derrick Nix, Auburn's offensive coordinator, were both Southern Miss student-athletes.

The Durkins, Sarah and defensive coordinator DJ, met at Bowling Green while the Kellys, Kristy and co-defensive coordinator Charles, are both Auburn University graduates and share the same hometown of
Ozark, Alabama.

"We are so excited to be back," said Kristy Kelly, who began dating Charles when he was a graduate assistant and she was a student recruiter. "Ever since we left, we dreamed that we'd have an opportunity to come back and coach one day. We're excited and glad that our children are going to get to experience the love that we have for Auburn."

20240615_Ladies_Clinic_AK-66Thompson Time: Freshman receiver Perry Thompson breaks it down after a drill

Thankfully, all the campers participated in the drills without requiring a trip to the training room. They'll be back on campus Aug. 31 when Auburn hosts Alabama A&M for Kickoff on The Plains.

"We're so thankful you're here," said Hugh Freeze, whose wife echoed their shared sense of purpose during her question-and-answer session.

"I love the fact that our main motivation is to change young men's lives," Jill Freeze said. "We want them to be men of faith with a good attitude, mental toughness, integrity, love for one another and for Auburn more than themselves."

20240615_FB_LadiesClinic_GROUP_AP_0350'We're so thankful you're here'

Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: @jeff_shearer