AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee met with reporters to discuss A-Day, the quarterback battle and more Thursday evening.
Notes and quotes from the briefing have been provided below:
- On plans for three quarterbacks at A-Day: “Those guys will probably rotate pretty evenly.”
- Sean White brings “toughness and grit” at the position. Jeremy Johnson has “a wealth of experience” and Lashlee has “been really pleased with his progress” in the spring. John Franklin III, through 13 practices and being new to the offense, has been impressive in picking things up. Not a lot of mental mistakes, Lashlee says. “He’s made some really good strides” but he’s not at point where he’s “reacting” like they need a quarterback to do in this offense.
- “I’m OK” with not having a pecking order at quarterback heading into preseason camp, but that’s up to Gus Malzahn.
- JF3 as a passer: “The ball comes out of John’s hand well.” He has improved a lot from Day 1. The deep ball was not “as natural to him” when he came to Auburn. That’s been a weakness. Inaccurate. “I just don’t think he had ever been in a system where you’re required to get the ball out of your hand …”
- Expectations need to be “tempered” a bit with Franklin.
- QB Tyler Queen is “going to be OK” with shoulder in scrimmage Saturday. They don’t anticipate surgery but he will not play in A-Day game.
- How valuable have practices been for Franklin? “It’s been huge. Any time you can come in and get a full spring and then step back this summer, “then you’re going to be much more improved that second time.”
- On where the team is now at quarterback compared to the Birmingham Bowl: “I’d like to think we’re in a lot better shape.” A lot of that has to do with White being healthy. Johnson has been impressive with rebounding. “They’re in a much better place.”
- Will you lay out prospects after spring practices for Johnson so he can plan his future if he were weighing future with the program? “The one thing I’ll always be with those guys is honest and straightforward.”
- On comparisons between Franklin and former Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall: “I don’t want to compare him to Nick.”
- “I have in my mind where we would be” if the quarterbacks played tomorrow, as far as who would be the starter, the backup and the third-teamer.
- Wide receiver Marcus Davis is a go-to guy? “We don’t have a go-to guy yet, to be honest with you.”
- Running backs will play “pretty evenly” in the A-Day game. Again, Lashlee not ready to even hint at starters.
- They have a good idea of who the top five to six players are along the offensive line, but, again, not ready to name starters. It’s obvious, however, to those who have watched practice who that the top five consists of these players so far: Austin Golson, Alex Kozan, Xavier Dampeer, Robert Leff, Braden Smith.
- They didn’t have to “pull back” on Queen earlier in spring practices because of the “pitch count” he was on from elbow surgery last season. They didn’t get to see a lot of progress but he was getting better. Lashlee calls this latest shoulder injury a “run of bad luck.”