April 23, 2013
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN — They both did some good things in the A-Day Game, Rhett Lashlee was saying, but, no, there are no plans to name a starting quarterback this spring.
Auburn's offensive coordinator will likely dispatch Kiehl Frazier and Jonathan Wallace to a summer of more work after the Tigers wrap up spring practice Wednesday.
"There's not a lot of separation coming out of spring at this point," Lashlee said after Tuesday's practice. "They both have things they do well and that can help us win. These aren't the kinds of things we're going to rush. We haven't in the past. We're not going to."
Then-offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn didn't even name Cam Newton the No. 1 quarterback coming out of spring in 2010, so it's likely that current head coach Gus Malzahn will make a quick decision with Frazier and Wallace.
"Right now, it's kind of an either-or deal. That's kind of how I rotated them all spring, even through A-Day," Lashlee said.
"It's good to continue on and just keep those guys pushing each other."
Lashlee said Frazier and Wallace each ran 12 series in last Saturday's A-Day Game, with Wallace producing more TDs. Wallace hit 18-of-26 passes for 191 yards. Frazier hit10-of-16 passes for 125 yards. Wallace threw for two TDs. Frazier threw for one, and ran for another. They produced six offensive touchdowns in the first half.
"They both did good and bad. It's just a matter of continuing to get better with our consistency throwing the football. That's the No. 1 thing," Lashlee said. "I think they have a pretty good grasp of what we're trying to do, but it's now being able to play fast knowing what to do. It's one thing to know it on the board and walk-throughs and practice and then when the bullets are flying, operating fast and making good decisions and being accurate."
Lashlee said he's been comfortable rotating the quarterbacks.
"The first scrimmage, they guessed my birthday and the one that was closest started. I believe it was Kiehl. Then Jonathan started the second one. We just rotated," Lashlee said. "That's the way it was in practice. There was no rhyme or reason. They got equal reps throughout all the spring. They both stayed healthy. Their arms are in good shape. The positive is they've gotten a lot of reps, and they got so much better from Day 1 to now. But there's still a long way to go and they know that.
"The key is for them on their own, how bad do they want it from now to August because we don't get to work with them. How much work are they willing to put in to take that next jump before we get back together."
And they'll get together with three more quarterbacks when Nick Marshall, Jeremy Johnson and Jason Smith join the party in the summer on the way to fall drills.
Lashlee's post-A-Day assessment include a positive review of how the offense overcame early problems.
"Did we execute flawlessly? No way. Could we have been much better? You bet," he said. "I felt like when things are bad early, what's the natural tendency to do, especially with the most recent history? It's to say, 'OK, here we go again,' and quit. And not one guy quit to a man. Not either one of those quarterbacks quit. They pressed on and found a way to lead some drives, go score some points, get some first downs. And battled."
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