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Auburn quarterbacks in 'good spot', says Gus Malzahn
March 31, 2015

Jeremy Johnson has Auburn on the move in Tuesday's practice

By Charles Goldberg

AUBURN, Ala. -- Gus Malzahn said his Auburn quarterbacks are in a "good spot" entering the second phase of spring practice.

Jeremy Johnson, Sean White and rookie Tyler Queen are vying for the chance to replace Nick Marshall as Auburn's starting quarterback, now that newcomer Jason Smith is transitioning to wide receiver.

Malzahn said Tuesday's practice, the first since coming back from spring break, was sluggish, but part of that may have been adding more to the offense and adding the 3-4 set to defensive coordinator Will Muschamp's spring drills.

"It's something we have to learn, something we have to adjust to," said linebacker Kris Frost. "I feel like we've been doing a good job of it, but we have to get in extra. The more work we put in off the field and outside the mandatory meetings, the better off we will be."

The quarterbacks are in a more familiar spot in Malzahn's offense, though only Johnson has ever played in a college game.

"I really think they're doing a good job," Malzahn said. "In spring, especially when you're installing, you're rotating a whole bunch of receivers. We're a timing offense so it takes a little bit to make sure everybody is in the right spot, coming out of their breaks at the right depth.

"We'll have another day or two of install and we'll really start to try and narrow things down and get our guys with specific guys on specific routes, and I know that will help our timing.

"I will say this, overall just running the offense and feeling comfortable with the communication and everything, I really think they're in a good spot."

Malzahn says he'll have a special quarterback package for Smith, who was a high school quarterback and was promised a chance to compete for the position at Auburn. He got it. But the quickest route to the field for him is at receiver.

"In defense of him, we want to give him a chance to learn the wide receiver position and everything that goes with it," Malzahn said. 
"He's a very talented quarterback too. We wanted to give him a real chance to play quarterback. He came to the coaches and said, 'Hey, I'd like to transition into receiver,' and so that's kind of where it went.
"He's extremely talented, I'll say that. He's extremely talented, he wants to be good and he's coachable. I think he's got a real chance to really help us."

Malzahn also said... 

· Defensive back T.J. Davis has had surgery for a torn ACL.

"He injured his knee at practice last week before we left. He had surgery before we left so that's a tough blow. We're hoping to get him back during the season."
 · Auburn is bringing offensive lineman Alex Kozan back, but slowly. He missed last season with a back injury.

"We're trying to slowly acclimate him. He's not completely full, but he's dressed out most practices. Today we had him out there doing some things. That was good."

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:



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