Aug. 10, 2013
Jeremy Johnson looks to throw in Saturday's scrimmage (Todd Van Emst photo)
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- Coach Gus Malzahn is going to the videotape to see if Saturday's scrimmage can provide some clarity in his four-man quarterback race.
"Our goal was after this scrimmage to narrow things down at all positions, but, specifically, at the quarterback position. Hopefully, after we watch film, we'll have a chance to do that somewhat," Malzahn said after the workout in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Officially, there was little movement in the quarterback race involving Nick Marshall, Jeremy Johnson, Kiehl Frazier and Jonathan Wallace. Certainly, Malzahn didn't tip his hand in the direction he's leaning.
But he did concede he can't continue to keep all four quarterbacks equal snaps. He's looking for, at the very least, a pecking order in the next days, now that the season-opener against Washington State is three weeks away.
"You can't keep repping four guys at quarterback and properly evaluate them as it gets closer," Malzahn said.
So many choices. "It's still very competitive," said defensive back Jonathon Mincy.
Not all the starters played, at least not on defense, as Auburn evaluated its backups. And Malzahn said he and offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee put his quarterbacks in specific situations to see how they handled things.
Who went first?
"Whoever the first guy was out there doesn't say anything about first, second, third or fourth," Malzahn said. "It's just Coach Lashlee had a plan for each one of them in situations. I believe we got those situations taken care of."
Malzahn wasn't asked about each quarterback after the scrimmage, but, when asked, he said Johnson, "ran a similar offense in high school as far as communication from the sideline; that's half the battle for a new guy that didn't go through spring."
When asked about Marshall, the junior college transfer, he said, "I didn't know really what to expect. He didn't get to go through spring. All I knew was he was a very good athlete in junior college and so it's just a matter of each day, I think, he gets more and more comfortable. Like I said before, we ask a lot of them from the sideline to executing the play. I think each day he would tell you he's getting more and more comfortable."
Malzahn said Auburn went "around 85 plays," down from the 100-or-so in Wednesday's scrimmage.
"We're learning a lot," he said. "It was hot, and that's a good thing to see how guys respond to the heat. There were lots of ups and downs in the scrimmage, which is always good to evaluate your guys...how they respond to good things, how they respond to adversity. We're to the point now -- and I told our coaches and I told our players -- that we're going to start narrowing some things down. What that means, I can't tell you how specific, but it will be narrowed down"
Watch Gus Malzahn's post-scrimmage press conference:
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine