Auburn comes into spring practice looking to retool and challenge for the SEC West title once again. With Gus Malzahn’s offense now complemented by a Will Muschamp-led defense, Auburn could be right back in title contention in 2015.

Where are the areas the Tigers need to focus on this spring?

1. Replace the receivers — When healthy, Auburn had one of the nastiest receiving corps in the SEC last season. Sammie Coates and Quan Bray are both gone, leaving Duke Williams as the clear-cut No. 1. Who will his running mates be this season? Ricardo Louis is an option, but after him the depth chart gets a little murky. Melvin Ray and Tony Stevens will have to at least hold down the fort until freshmen Ryan Davis and Darius Slayton arrive this fall.

2. Get the linebackers ready to lead — When Cassanova McKinzy and Kris Frost decided to return to school for their senior years, it was a coup for Muschamp. Now, he needs to get the two of them ready to lead the defense in 2015. It’ll start with ironing out their inconsistencies, such as in pass coverage, to help set the tone for a defense that will be improved from a year ago.

3. Bring Carl Lawson up to speed — Last year’s team suffered from a lack of pass rushers, due in large part to Lawson’s absence after tearing an ACL before the season. Lawson looked like a budding star as a freshman, and his return could provide an immediate boost to Auburn’s defense. With DaVonte Lambert set to miss a good bit if not all of spring practice, Lawson’s progress will be something to closely monitor as he works his way back up to 100 percent.

4. Jovon Robinson or Roc Thomas? — Whichever back earns the Tigers’ starting spot will be in a strong position to win the SEC rushing title, as Tre Mason and Cameron Artis-Payne did in back-to-back years. Neither comes into practice with much experience — Thomas has just 43 carries under his belt, while Robinson is a JUCO transfer — but both are extremely talented. Robinson is the favorite after dominating the junior college ranks, but Thomas could challenge for carries if he improves his decision making with the ball.

5. Make sure Jeremy Johnson is ready to roll — Auburn is replacing a two-year starter at quarterback, but unlike other SEC teams with new starters, there’s not much to worry about with the Tigers. Johnson has been the clear successor for more than a year, and he looks to have all the tools necessary to win in the SEC. Quarterback is one of the least of Auburn’s worries, but making sure Johnson is comfortable and ready to steer Malzahn’s offensive machine is a priority.