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Phillip Marshall: 10 truths about quarterback races

Aug. 7, 2013

AUBURN, Ala. - The race to be Auburn’s starting quarterback reaches it most important day so far with this afternoon’s scrimmage at Jordan-Hare Stadium. It will be the first major test for Kiehl Frazier, Jonathan Wallace, Nick Marshall and Jeremy Johnson.

 From one who has covered lots of quarterback races over the years, here are 10 things to remember:

1. Forget all the recruiting hype, all the “expert” evaluations, all the high school or junior college highlight videos you watched. They will have nothing to do with who starts against Washington State on Aug. 31.

2. Who did what in the A-Day game means next to nothing. It was a scrimmage, and not a very good scrimmage at that.

3. College football players can change a great deal between one season and the next. The struggles of one season don’t necessarily carry over to the next.

4. What you hear about who is doing what in practice is probably not accurate. Coaches know what they are looking for. They know if receivers are where they’re supposed to be and if the quarterback goes where he is supposed to go with the ball. Spectators – and there are very few of them at Auburn practices these days – don’t know.

5. Be patient. The coaches want to make a decision as badly as you want them to make one, but rushing into the wrong decision would be far worse than waiting an extra week.

6. Physical ability is only part of the equation in choosing a starting quarterback. Who do the players believe in? Who can raise his level of play when it matters most? Who understands the offensive scheme the best? Those things can mean even more than who has the strongest arm or who runs the fastest.



7. Don’t buy into the silly notion that the outcome has anything to do with who “wants it” most. They all want it more than they’ve wanted anything in their athletic lives. Backup running backs and wide receivers know they will play meaningful snaps. Backup quarterbacks know they probably won’t.

8. Forget the notion that coaches will make a stopgap decision. There will not be a plan to start one quarterback and later replace him with another.

9. Don’t expect miracles. Regardless of who is chosen, there’ll be growing pains. It was four games into the 2010 season before it became obvious that Cam Newton was Cam Newton.

10. Whether it’s in practice or in games, the quarterback will only be as good as the players around him. Quarterbacks don’t win by themselves.


Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for Follow Marshall on Twitter:


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