Dye-Log: Important Decision for Gene Chizik

College Football Hall of Fame coach Pat Dye writes about the Auburn football team.

With spring football practice going strong at Auburn, the most important thing that Gene Chizik and his coaching staff need to get accomplished is to find the right guy to be their starting quarterback.

They may or may not figure out by the end of spring practice who that guy is going to be, but from my experience as a player and coach I never underestimate the value of having the right guy at quarterback.

The great ones I have been around make everybody around them better, both on offense and defense. I was fortunate enough to play with a great quarterback in college, Fran Tarkenton. Without a doubt everybody was better because of the type of leader and competitor that Fran was for our team.

If a quarterback is missing those qualities as a leader and competitor, no matter how much talent he has, he will never develop into the type of player who will lead a football team to its full potential.

With just three scholarship quarterbacks on the spring training roster it looks like a two-player competition for who will be number one at that position this fall for the Tigers. Clint Moseley returns for his redshirt junior year with a half season's worth of starting experience.

Clint Moseley took over as the first string quarterback last season in the second half of Auburn's victory over Florida.

Kiehl Frazier is back as a true sophomore, who played in a limited role last fall. He should be ready to challenge for the top spot as a bigger, stronger and more confident performer. Even though he didn't play a lot last year, he saw action in big games so playing on a national stage won't be an adjustment he has to make.

Zeke Pike, an early high school graduate, is the third quarterback, but in my experience playing a true freshman as the starting quarterback in the Southeastern Conference is not the way to go. A good example of that took place at Florida last year with the Gators trying to win with young, inexperienced quarterbacks.

My guess is those Florida quarterbacks will be good ones down the road, but what we saw at Jordan-Hare Stadium when the Gators visited last season is a demonstration of how tough it is to play the position if the quarterback isn't ready to handle the assignment.

I have plenty of experience making decisions about quarterbacks. Sometimes I got it right, sometimes I didn't, which is a subject I will write about in a future column.

From the mailbox:

Pat,
Your column of Feb 29 (An Appreciation Of Auburn) brought tears to my eyes. I was a student at Auburn in the late ‘50s when you were a student at the University of Georgia. I am sure you have fond memories there also. However, it is heartwarming to hear you appreciate Auburn as you do.

I have friends and relatives who went to other schools and they are proud of them, but I don't think anything could equal the attachment I have for Auburn. I have met and talked with you several times and you have always been very cordial and friendly.
WAR EAGLE
Moses Alexander III '60
Warner Robins, Ga.

Glad you enjoyed the column. Auburn is one of those special places that gives you the opportunity to be all you can be whether it is an astronaut, a great athlete or the CEO of the world's most profitable corporation.
Coach Dye

Your column about returning to Fort Benning (March 16th, Memorable Day at Doughboy Stadium) is one my favorites. I knew you were an All-American football player at the University of Georgia and that you also played professionally in the CFL, but I didn't know that you had played football in the service and did it on a championship team. From what you wrote I would bet that team was a lot of fun to play on and had plenty of talent.

I also enjoyed your comments about the men and women you met at Fort Benning and how proud you are of them. That was good to see. I look forward to reading your columns. Please keep them coming.

Best Wishes

Thomas Johnson
Houston, Tex.

Thanks for the kind words. My time in the Army was great and I really enjoyed going back to Fort Benning and being around so many outstanding folks. It made me proud to be an American going back there and witnessing what I saw. All of that was fun and brought back a lot of great memories of my two and a half years in the service

(If you have a question or a subject you would like me to write about in future columns, you can email it to PatDye@autigers.com.)

Editor's Note: This is part of a series of columns that College Football Hall of Fame member Pat Dye is writing for AUTigers.com about the game he played and coached. An All-American player at Georgia and one of the top head coaches in SEC history at Auburn, he also served as a head coach at East Carolina and Wyoming. Dye participates in the Legends Poll, a Top 25 rating of the best teams in college football as determined by a panel of all-star former head coaches. Dye writes three columns for AUTigers.com--The Dye-Log, the Dye-Gest and Pat's Picks.

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