Football Notebook, Day 4: QB race to be 'fun to watch'

Aug. 6, 2013

AUBURN, Ala. - Auburn players are not playing the guessing game of who's going to be the Tigers' starting quarterback, but running back Tre Mason knows this:

"It's going to be a fun thing to watch."

Mason said Monday he's liked what he's seen through four days of fall practice as quarterbacks Kiehl Frazier, Nick Marshall, Jonathan Wallace and Jeremy Johnson have taken turns with the offense.

As far as practice goes, Mason said, "We're doing everything we can to get this rolling and being perfect."
—Charles Goldberg

Time for full pads to go on

For the first time in preseason camp, Auburn players will practice in full gear Tuesday afternoon. Offensive guard Chad Slade said he and his teammates are ready.

“Oh, yeah, I am looking forward to that,” Slade said. “I’m ready to put the pads on. I know the whole offensive line is ready to put the pads on. We are tired of shells. We are ready to hit and be physical.”

As required by NCAA rules, the Tigers practiced with no pads the first two days of camp and in shells - shoulder pads and helmets - the past two days.
--Phillip Marshall

Will 5-star freshmen shine at defensive end?

Defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson said Monday 5-star freshmen Carl Lawson and Elijah Daniel have the skills it takes to provide needed pass rushing help at defensive end. But are they ready?

“You can see their upper-body strength and that quick twitch,” Johnson said. “A lot of young players don’t have that natural first step and that ability to explode out of the stance. Those guys do, and they are going to be good players. I don’t know if it’s going to be tomorrow or next week or next month or next year.

“I don’t want to put pressure on any freshman, but they’ve shown some impressive things so far. We’ll just have to see. They’ll be ready to go sooner rather than later, we hope. If they’re not ready, they’re not ready.”
--Phillip Marshall

Doing the linebacker shuffle

Johnson said he has moved junior LaDarius Owens from middle linebacker to weakside linebacker and sophomore Anthony Swain to the middle. He said both are making encouraging progress.
--Phillip Marshall

Defense looking good from the other side

Offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said the defense has caught his eye.

"Our defense is flying around. I think that’s really encouraging," he said. "Today they were really getting after it."
—Charles Goldberg

Johnson likes junior college transfers

Safety Brandon King and sophomore Kenny Flowers, both junior college transfers, have impressed Johnson in the first four days of preseason camp.

On King: “I’m very impressed with King. He hasn’t learned the scheme because he wasn’t here in the spring. If he’d been here in spring, he’d be pushing some guys.”

On Flowers: “His issue right now is he doesn’t know our defense. He wasn’t here in the spring. Physically, he’s in the right company. He belongs right where he is. I think he is going to give us some good plays this year.”
--Phillip Marshall

Mackenro Alexander makes early progress

Johnson said true freshman Mackenro Alexander, playing the hybrid Star position, has stood out among true freshmen.

“Mackenro has been really good,” Johnson said. “We’ve been pleased with him. The high school will pop out now and then, but for the fourth day of practice he’s come a long way.”
--Phillip Marshall

Ken Carter at home at defensive end

Ken Carter, once a defensive tackle, left spring as one of the starting defensive ends.

"Kenny has had a good solid spring. I think that's where he belongs," Johnson said.
—Charles Goldberg

Quan Bray receives compliments

Lashlee said receiver>Quan Bray is leading by example. "I'm really proud of him."

Lashlee also said Corey Grant and Johnathan Ford and "maybe some of our wideouts" are the candidates to run the speed sweep, which is what Onterio McCalebb did for most of his career.
—Charles Goldberg