Coach Gene Chizik said it was a "tough situation" for Clint Moseley, who will be number two on the depth chart after putting up a strong fight for the starting job in preseason drills. The look on the redshirt sophomore's face after practice and his words confirmed what the head coach said.
"It is the biggest disappointment of my life, period," an obviously emotional Moseley said.
Moseley, Trotter and freshman Kiehl Frazier each met individually with Chizik and offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn prior to the start of practice to get the news on the QB pecking order.
Asked what the coaches told him, Moseley said, "They felt Barrett gave us the best chance of winning with his experience because he played. It came down to experience."
Asked if he was surprised that he didn't get the starting spot, Moseley said, "I shouldn't answer that."
Trotter said he feels sympathy for Moseley and understands his disappointment. "We have been good friends throughout this whole thing," Trotter said. "I don't think this is going to mess any of that up.
"I know he is really disappointed he didn't get the job," Trotter added. "I would have been, too. He is a little bit angry, a little bit disappointed, but at the same time I think in a few days, or a few weeks, he will be able to come out of that and be a great backup, a great friend, and all of that."
Trotter (14), Moseley (15).
Junior wide receiver Emory Blake said he believes Trotter will do a good job of leading the offense, but also noted that he feels bad for Moseley, who made the competition for the starting job a close one.
"I am confident in Barrett's ability," Blake said. "He has a great arm. He is a leader on our football team and congratulations to Barrett for getting the job...I have complete faith in Barrett. I know our team does also. He is our guy. He is our quarterback."
Blake, who is Auburn's leading returning receiver from the national championship team, said he talked to Moseley after the decision to try to console the QB. "It's tough," Blake said. "You bust your butt all summer long, all year long really, and you come up a little bit short and it hurts.
"My heart goes out to Clint, he's a good friend of mine," Blake added. "I love the guy. It is hard to see a teammate have to go through this, but the coaches made a decision and Barrett is the guy and that is who we are going to go with.
"Clint is still a great player, he is still a great guy," Blake added. "If Barrett goes down, we need him."
Blake said the competition to be the starter was "neck-and-neck." He pointed out that wide receiver coach Trooper Taylor asked him several days ago who he thought should be the starter. "I couldn't really give him an answer because I didn't know," Blake said. "It was definitely between those two though."
Commenting on his mindset now that he is the starter, Trotter said he is going to try to be a leader and a guy who encourages his teammates like Newton did last year.
"It comes with a lot of responsibility so that is another role I am going to have to take on now," Trotter said. "I am just glad it is all over. I am glad to be named starter and have it behind me."
Trotter said his focus has to change from competing for a starting spot to leading his team to victories on Saturdays. Asked if there is pressure trying to follow Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton, he answered, "No doubt."
Chizik said when taking everything into consideration including on-the-field performance, maturity, leadership and the ability to lead the team to victory, Trotter was the guy he and Malzahn chose for the assignment. Chizik said for a third season in a row he and Malzahn came to the same conclusion on who the best guy was to lead the offense.
Last year Trotter lost out to Newton for the starting job. Two years ago when Trotter was injured, Chris Todd won the starting assignment.
The head coach said the staff believes that Trotter gives the Tigers the best chance to win, but admitted the competition was very tight. Chizik told Moseley that he is one play away from being the starting quarterback if Trotter is injured.
Commenting on Trotter, Chizik said, "We feel very confident in his ability to keep our standards extremely high and win."
The Tigers had their 16th preseason practice on Thursday evening. Chizik said the Tigers had a "really good" two-hour session at the football complex in shorts. "It was a very focused practice I thought," he said.
Drilling in shorts, shoulder pads and helmets, the Tigers worked on special teams before going into position drills. They wrapped up the session with 30 minutes of offense vs. defense situational work inside the new indoor facility.