AUBURN, Ala. — The trio of players competing to win Auburn’s starting quarterback job showed offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee some good things in the early days of preseason practice. They also exhibited flaws.
Senior Jeremy Johnson, sophomore Sean White, and John Franklin III alternated through drills during the Tigers’ first week of camp, splitting time equally under center. The continuous rotation allowed for repetition, but stalled Auburn’s final QB decision. Next week the Tigers will scrimmage in full pads and have multiple two-a-days. As the pace of practice begins to intensify, the coaching staff expects to have a better idea of who their offensive leader will be.
One of Auburn’s offensive goals for the year is to reenergize their hurry up, no-huddle offense while capitalizing on explosive plays. The coaches are looking at which player can be consistent and who protects the football.
“We’re not going to put a guy out there if he’s not ready,” Lashlee said. “If he can’t protect the football, if he can’t give us the best chance to win.”
Regardless of who emerges as the winner, Auburn hopes to find that person as soon as possible.
“I think it’s best for that individual and really all of them. I think it’s best for our team,” Lashlee told the media on Saturday evening. “Getting it right is more important than getting it done fast.”
Still, the player who starts opposite the Clemson defense in prime time on Sept. 3 at Jordan-Hare Stadium will not be guaranteed that role for the remainder of the year, either.
“Sometimes that guy is not ready at the beginning of the year and sometimes they are ready by Week 6,” Lashlee said. “I mean you see that with a lot of people.”
Auburn isn’t ruling anything out. Another option is to create packages for certain players.
“The big emphasis for us is we got to play with better tempo,” Lashlee said. “The other part of that is obviously converting and staying on the field and getting momentum going. That’s where we really struggled last year and it’s hard to score a lot of points in this league if you can’t generate explosive plays. So we’ll do anything and everything we can to put our guys in positions to allow them to try to make plays. If that’s something we need to do, that’s something we can do.”