Aug 13, 2013
Nick Marshall has a chance to start at Auburn this season (Todd Van Emst photo)
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- Brandon Cox and Kodi Burns. Chris Todd and Cam Newton. Barrett Trotter and Kiehl Frazier. Auburn has had six different opening day quarterbacks in the last six years, and is guaranteed to have a seventh one this season after coach Gus Malzahn shook up his quarterback race Monday.
Seven in seven.
"Are you kidding?" Malzahn asked.
Lucky for Auburn, Malzahn is no stranger to change. He will field his eighth different quarterback in his eight years as a college coach when likely Nick Marshall or Jeremy Johnson takes the first snap against Washington State on Aug. 31. Malzahn has hardly had a chance to bring back a starter in his career. His change has been mostly based on changing jobs or seeing seniors move on.
Malzahn, in his first year as Auburn's head coach, has always adapted. Almost every one of his quarterbacks, including Newton, have put up huge numbers.
"When we finally have that year when we have a guy coming back, it's going to be a lot of fun," Malzhan joked.
But he's put up fun numbers without experienced starters.
"We've done this before. We've been in the same situation, the stress of figuring in fall camp who your starter is," Malzahn said of his stops at Arkansas, Auburn and Tulsa as the offensive coordinator; and Arkansas State as the head coach.
Malzahn jolted Auburn's latest quarterback race Monday when he announced that Frazier, who started the first five games last year, had moved to safety, leaving Marshall, the junior college transfer; and, Johnson, Alabama's prep Mr. Football last year, as the leaders for the starting job with Jonathan Wallace, who started the last four games last season, waiting in reserve.
The competition for the starting job is serious. A scrimmage was scheduled for Tuesday and another one is likely Saturday. As for now, Malzahn said Marshall and Johnson would share the first-team snaps on "close" to a 50-50 basis.
"We're trying to put those two guys with our main group as much as we can this week to see how they respond and, really, to see how their teammates respond to them," he said. "We want to see who can move the ball, see who can protect the football and do the things it takes to be successful and to win."
Malzahn said Marshall and Johnson had separated themselves from Frazier and Wallace in the first 11 days of practice. How? "It's everything," Malzahn said, including "who's coachable, who has command over the offense and who can handle the pressure. We're straining them right now. And we're trying to figure out what's there, and we've got to look at all the information we can use."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twttier: Follow @AUGoldMine