QB Competition Friendly But Fierce

Clint Moseley is trying to move up the depth chart to be Auburn's starting quarterback and so is his buddy Barrett Trotter.

Auburn, Ala.--Last spring at this time when Cameron Newton and Barrett Trotter were battling for the No. 1 quarterback spot for the Auburn football team, Clint Moseley was eager to get on the field more often to show the coaches what he could do.

With the 2011 Tigers reaching the halfway point of spring drills this week, best friends Moseley and Trotter are engaged in a spirited competition to prove to offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Gus Malzahn each is ready to step up and be the starter.

"It is completely night and day," Moseley says about the opportunity he is receiving this year compared to last spring. "Getting equal reps with the ones is that much more than I have ever gotten," he says. "It is completely a different mindset. Everything is completely different for me this spring. That is definitely a good thing."

Last Saturday the Tigers held their first major scrimmage of the spring. This week they are preparing for another one this Saturday.

So how did Moseley, who will be a redshirt sophomore this fall, rate his performance in the lengthy scrimmage that featured close to 120 plays. "I felt it was one of my better scrimmages, but the only thing that sticks out are the throws that I should have made," he says. "I guess you could say it was a good day statistically, but there are still some throws I would love to have back. I felt it was an okay day. I could have done a lot better though."

Trotter, who will be a redshirt junior this season, was second team on the depth chart last year, but is sharing the first team snaps with Moseley. "We are still splitting it every other day," Moseley says. "I am orange group (first team) one day. Barrett's with the orange group the next day."

This is Malzahn's sixth season as a college coordinator, including his third at Auburn. Each season Malzahn has had to break in a new starting quarterback like he is doing this spring.

Moseley points out that Malzahn has photos on the quarterback meeting room wall of his QB starters at Arkansas, Tulsa and Auburn and challenges his current players to live up their standards.

"He asks me about it all of the time, who is going to be the next guy?" Moseley says of Malzahn, who year after year has produced high achievers at quarterback. "A lot of that is obviously credited to him being a great quarterback coach.

"At first it is so overwhelming how much he asks of his quarterback," the Auburn player says. "Now, two years later, it is just like he has brainwashed me--even off the field, just little things. It is not a coincidence he has had so many good quarterbacks. He is a great coach."

Moseley is shown at a spring practice.

As a football and baseball star who put up big numbers passing the football at Leroy High School, Moseley was named the state's Mr. Football as a senior and received numerous baseball awards, too. Spending his first fall on campus redshirting and playing on the scout team proved to a humbling experience, something the quarterback admits he was not prepared to do. He notes that he did not handle the situation well.

"I hate using an excuse, but if there was an excuse I would have to say it was because I had never been through adversity," he notes. "We won state every year we played. I was so spoiled. I never really had to run and work out. I just didn't have a clue, honestly, of what was ahead of me. Then I got here and it was the hardest thing I could imagine.

"I didn't know what to do other than to shut it down--just completely shut down and hide from it," he says of his lack of immediate success in college. "I started worrying and I would miss class because I felt sorry for myself. It was bad, just bad. It was all a mindset, honestly. Talking to a lot of good people around here, people who are close to me, I truly appreciate them. Brother Chette (counselor Chette Williams) is one of them."

Moseley says he has matured since then mentally as well as physically. He attributes that to "just growing up." "That is the only thing I?needed, experience, and I finally got a little bit last fall camp and even more so now. It was really rough the first year. Real bad."

Trotter has waited even longer for his chance to be the starting quarterback. Neither player has been told when a decision will be made on who is number one. Last year Malzahn named Newton the starter at the conclusion of spring drills. This year the competition may go on longer.

"It could end up being the last day of fall camp," Moseley says. "It is something I have to be ready for."

"We are truly best friends," Moseley says. "I don't look at him any different. We still hang out as much as we can. On the weekends after the scrimmage we will go eat. It is really no different. I cheer him on. He cheers me on, but at the same time it is very competitive. I am a very competitive person and he is very competitive.

"It is just a unique situation, really, battling against your best friend now that I think about it," Moseley adds. "It is a crazy situation, but I think we handle it well considering the circumstances. A lot of people thought it was going to tear us apart and not be friends anymore, but that is definitely not the case."

Moseley says it will be tough on the quarterback who opens the season as the backup.

"He is just a really good person and I know he will handle it the right way," Moseley says of Trotter. "I feel like he thinks the same of me."

Moseley adds, "I think we will be friends well after football."


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