AUBURN, Ala. — Gus Malzahn and his players aren’t willing to share much insight into Auburn football’s raging quarterback battle.
The Tigers scrimmaged for the first time in Jordan-Hare Stadium on Monday morning. Jarrett Stidham, Sean White and Malik Willis each took snaps, but that’s about all you’re going to get from the head coach, who thought all three did “a solid job” at times,
After a little more prodding regarding Stidham and White specifically, Malzahn made perhaps one of his most telling statements.
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“I’ll say this, all three of them did some good things but all three of them had numerous things to work on,” Malzahn said. “That’s probably the best way to answer it without evaluating the film.”
Auburn’s scrimmages are closed to media and reports among players always tend to vary. Senior offensive lineman Braden Smith had a hard time remembering plays that stood out during a “kind of long scrimmage” and defensive lineman Derrick Brown said he couldn’t “remember anything” in the hours after the scrimmage.
Linebacker Darrell Williams, however, reported a few sacks and a couple of interceptions. At least one of those picks was thrown by Stidham and returned for a touchdown by Jamel Dean. Senior Stephen Roberts also snagged an interception.
It seemed as though defense might have outperformed Auburn’s offense during the first scrimmage of the preseason. And Kevin Steele’s defense isn’t holding anything back when it comes to helping Auburn’s quarterbacks prepare for the coming season.
“For somebody you care about, you love, you’re not just going to soften up on them because that’s not what they’re going to get in the real world,” Williams said. “We put that into a game-like aspect and we try to pressure them and push them as hard as we can.”
As a result, there’s lots to work on after the first appearance in Jordan-Hare.
“There’s nothing like a scrimmage. There’s going to be all kinds of teaching moments — down and distance, moving the football, pace, everything that goes with it, communication, situations,” Malzahn said. “I know it’s going to be really good for both those guys including Malik and Chip to all sit down and just get to thinking like he’s thinking.”