Trotter Ready to Lead Offense, Malzahn Says

Comments from Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn and Gene Chizik are featured in the football practice report.

Auburn, Ala.--The two central figures in the battle for the starting quarterback spot were spectators on Saturday as the Tigers had their fourth scrimmage of the preseason at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

The third stringer, true freshman Kiehl Frazier, took all of the snaps in the brief scrimmage that featured mainly young players and others on the bubble for breaking into the playing rotation.

Offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Gus Malzahn selected junior Barrett Trotter to lead the offense this season, but notes that backup Clint Moseley gave a good account of himself in the quarterback competition.

Commenting on why Trotter is number one, Malzahn said, "He knows the offense well, he is the most experienced, he is a veteran guy. We have a very young team. It is a very moldable team, and he is a veteran guy. He adds that. He has great knowledge of defenses."

Trotter, a redshirt junior from Birmingham, was the number two quarterback last season behind Cam Newton. Malzahn said that Trotter has some of the same leadership abilities that Newton showed in leading the Tigers to a 14-0 record last season.

"He takes command," the coach said. "He is a natural leader as far as on the field. People respond to him. He doesn't get too high or too low and he is mentally and physically tough.

"The kid has been through a lot of adversity," Malzahn said of the player who missed the 2009 season due to knee surgery. "He can handle the arena out there, whether it is good or bad. We know how he will react and he will react the way we need him to."

Malzahn talks to the offense on Saturday.

Malzahn noted that Trotter and Moseley have both been accurate passers in practice and "Kiehl is coming along."

Commenting on Trotter, Malzahn said, "He throws the ball on time well. He knows the ins and outs of the offense--the protections, the hots. That is very important. He has a quick release. The ball gets out quick. He understands when to put something on it, when to take something off and the little things about playing quarterback."

Commenting on Moseley, Malzahn said, "It was a close race. I will tell you what, I am very proud of Clint Moseley. He is a quality quarterback who could start for a whole lot of people. Clint will be ready if he needs to be called on. He is one play away. He will prepare like he is a starter also."

All of the players will be off from practice the next two days and on Tuesday the focus for the quarterbacks is preparing for the Sept. 3rd opener vs. Utah State. On Saturday at the stadium, Malzahn said the scrimmage was a chance to get another look at backups and young players before game planning for the Aggies.

"We started working on more details and we turned our young guys loose once again," he said. "We wanted to see who was ready and who is not ready because we are two weeks away from the first game."

Kiehl Frazier rolls out to pass in the scrimmage on Saturday as walk-on Zach Rawden, a 6-2, 265 freshman defensive tackle from College Park, Ga., chases the quarterback.

Malzahn said it is important for the talented freshmen on offense to be "mentally ready" to play. "They have got to know what to do," he said. "The thing about offense, all 11 people have to do exactly what they are supposed to do. It doesn't matter how talented someone is if they sit there and mis-align or miss a sign or something like that. It makes us all look like a bunch of clowns. The young guys, we are trying to define their roles. A lot of them will be on the field."

The head coach, Gene Chizik, said he liked the practice, which was mainly focused on individual assignments prior to the brief scrimmage to end the session. "It went well," he said. "I don't think there was anything earth-shattering from the scrimmage other than the experience we gained from it. Overall, it was a good day."

In other news:

*One of the young players Malzahn was hoping to mix into the playing rotation, wide receiver Sammie Coates, will be undergoing surgery on his foot next week.

Sammie Coates

"We hope for a very speedy recovery," Chizik said. "We hope we can possibly get him back at some point during the year."

Commenting on how Coates was doing in practice before he got hurt, Chizik said, "Sammie was doing excellent. He will recover well."

*Another freshman receiver, Jaylon Denson, caught a touchdown pass in the brief scrimmage.

C.J. Uzomah

*Another freshman working at wide receiver, C.J. Uzomah, is adjusting to the position after working as a quarterback at North Gwinnett High School. "He is doing okay," Chizik said. "He has got a lot of things to learn. He has a long way to go, but right now if he keeps working and progressing as he has the last three weeks he will have a chance to contribute. How much I can't tell you. How much we don't know. He has got two weeks to get a lot better, but the transition has been very smooth for him because he is a very smart football player."

*Redshirt freshman cornerback Jonathon Mincy intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown.

*Chizik said the Tigers need their two-day break before returning to the practice field on Tuesday evening. "That is why we slotted these two days to get everybody healed up mentally and physically so it is coming at a great time."

*The AP preseason poll has the Tigers ranked 23rd, one spot below where they were ranked in the preseason poll a year ago. Senior offensive tackle Jared Cooper said, "It seems like every year we have to go out and earn our respect."

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