AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn’s plans at quarterback for A-Day are rather simple.
Jeremy Johnson, Sean White and newcomer John Franklin III will share reps with the first- and second-team units equally in an attempt to give all three players in the battle to be the starter an opportunity to prove themselves in front of a large crowd Saturday inside Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Auburn’s quarterbacks will not be tackled during the A-Day scrimmage scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. CT Saturday on the SEC Network.
Auburn previously conducted two scrimmages earlier this spring and allowed Franklin, the newcomer out of East Mississippi Community College, to be tackled. Johnson and White were free to be tackled by defenders in the first scrimmage, but wore non-contact jerseys last week.
“That will limit some of the things they can do, but that’s OK,” offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said. “They need to learn to play that way.”
Lashlee said he has an idea of the pecking order he would go with at quarterback if the Tigers were forced to open the season this week, but the battle will rage through the summer and during preseason camp in August.
“I think they’ve all gotten better,” Lashlee said. “But until you put them in a game situation, it’s practice. But I’ve been really pleased with all three of them.”
Lashlee had this to say about the three quarterbacks:
On White, who started six games last season:
“You start with a guy like Sean ― being healthy was big. They all bring something different to the table. And Sean, obviously, brings his toughness and his grit. He’s a guy that sees the field and makes good decisions. He’s a guy who is going to know where to go with the football. I know his teammates believe in him from that standpoint. He’s proven that in games.”
On Johnson, who was benched after three games last season:
“Jeremy, obviously, has a wealth of experience dating back to his freshman year. I’ve been really pleased with his progress this spring and the way he’s improved and stayed the course.”
On Franklin III:
“We’ve had 13 practices and you bring in a guy that is new in our system and things are happening fast. We’ve been really stressing tempo. The thing that’s been impressive he’s been able to do is pick everything up. He doesn’t have a lot of mental mistakes. He’s been able to pick everything up. He’s been able to go at the pace that Sean and Jeremy have gone at and made some really good strides, in just feeling what to do now. He’s done everything right, but he’s still not quite to where he’s just reacting. He’s still thinking a little bit, but that’s normal. He’s just got to make sure he can protect the football at this point, and that’s probably the No. 1 thing for him.”