QB Competition Expected to Go Into August

The quarterbacks put together solid performances in Auburn's A-Day Game. This report has comments from coaches and players about the scrimmage at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Auburn, Ala.--Although only two touchdowns were scored in Auburn's spring football game, the offense made improvements over the previous two major scrimmages with solid play from all three quarterbacks and no turnovers.

Kiehl Frazier continued his push to wrestle away the starting QB spot from returning starter Clint Moseley, who on Saturday had to wait until after Frazier and true freshman Zeke Pike got their opportunities to direct the offense.

Zeke Pike (14) throws a pass on Saturday.

Frazier, who won the offensive MVP award for the A-Day Game, completed 7-9 passes for 92 yards. The sophomore did not play in the second half after opening the scrimmage with the ones. He showed improved accuracy over his freshman season and ran the ball five times for 10 yards and would have had more yardage if the QBs had been live in the scrimmage.

Moseley, whose only first half series at quarterback was with the second team, got a chance to open the third quarter with the first team. He finished the day completing 5-6 passes for 62 yards as he comes back from a sore shoulder that limited his practice time this spring.

None of the quarterbacks threw a touchdown pass. The scores came on runs from tailbacks Corey Grant and Mike Blakely. Blakely, whose touchdown run covered 25 yards in the second half when he bounced out of a pile in the middle of the line and scored at left end, led all rushers with 65 yards on five carries.

However, head coach Gene Chizik called the redshirt freshman, and the tailbacks as a group, inconsistent.

Pike finished the day with 42 yards hitting 4-8 passes as a crowd liberally estimated at 40,000-plus watched the action on a sunshine drenched afternoon at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Scot Loeffler, Auburn's new offensive coordinator and quarterback coach, didn't put a timeline on naming the starter at quarterback other than promising to have one ready for the opener vs. Clemson.

Commenting on the quarterbacks, Loeffler said that he has put a lot of material to learn on the trio as the Tigers switch from a spread style of offense to an NFL style attack.

"We have made great strides in all facets, however, we have got to get consistent," Loeffler said. "That is the moral of that story. When we are able to get those 11 birds all going in the same direction on a consistent basis we will be very happy, but we are not there yet."

Without saying it specifically, the coach implied the quarterback competition will run into two-a-days in August. "It is going to be a great training camp," he said.

Defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder said he was disappointed the offense was able to make several big plays even though longest gainer was just 28 yards by Zeke Pike to walk-on Dimitri Reese, and that came against the reserves late in the game.

The coach said he was disappointed the defense did not have any takeaways and he would have liked more consistency from the pass rush.

However, VanGorder was not totally displeased, noting he liked the pair of sacks from end LaDarius Owens and one from end Dee Ford. "I did see some improvement in several areas," he said. "I thought the communication was better. We had some good pressure at times."

The only touchdown of the first half came on the fifth of six offensive possessions prior to halftime. With Frazier running the first offense the group moved the ball 80 yards on 11 plays for a score. Walk-on tailback Corey Grant scored the touchdown at left guard from three yards out after two good passes from Frazier put the football into the red zone.

Frazier showed a strong arm on a 21-yard gainer to Trovon Reed to convert a third down play and then connected with Emory Blake for 26 more yards on a sideline route.

Blake was the leading receiver on Saturday with three catches for 51 yards, eight more than Reed gained on his three catches.

The second half didn't last long with a running clock that didn't even stop for called timeouts.

The second score of the afternoon came with Moseley at quarterback directing the offense with a mixture of ones-twos on the field on both sides of the football. The drive covered 70 yards on six plays with Blakely scoring on the most impressive running play of the day.

LaDarius Owens sacks Clint Moseley.

The offense vs. defense scrimmage was scored with Chizik's system that produced a 36-27 victory for the offense. The offense got six points for a touchdown, one for a PAT, three for a field goal, two points for a play of more than 15 yards and two points for back-to-back first downs.

The defensive team could score seven points on a touchdown, six on a turnover that was not a touchdown, four points for a sack, two points for a tackle for a loss and one point for a three-and-out.

Chizik said the reason for the running clock in the second half was that the Tigers had already put in plenty of 11 on 11 work this spring and did not want to overdo it on Saturday. The scrimmage featured 41 plays in the first half and just 14 in the second half. The Tigers got through the session without any injuries.

"Our objective today was to get somewhere between 60 to 70 plays," Chizik said.

Commenting on what he saw, the head coach said, "Offensively, we just wanted to play sound football--protect the football all day, which we did. We didn't leave any balls on the ground."

Redshirt freshman wide receiver Sammie Coates catches a pass in front of walk-on safety Adam Dyas.

"Defensively, we wanted to be able to get out on third downs and stop the run--try to play physical on defense," Chizik said.

The Tigers will have one more practice on Monday before putting away the pads until August.

"I think this is going to be a good film that we can study and go back and look at and evaluate and learn from," Chizik said.

A-Day Notes: Safety Ryan Smith was the leading tackler with four solos and three assists, but he didn't win the Defensive Most Valuable Player honor, which went to Dee Ford, who made three solo stops with one assist. Ford came up with two tackles for lost yardage and one sack...Freshman defensive end Keymiya Harrell added a sack as did senior linebacker Daren Bates, who said the defense did some good things on Saturday, but still has plenty of room for improvement...The other two sacks were by defensive end LaDarius Owens, who made four solo tackles. Asked about the sacks, Owens said, "It felt good to make some big plays." Owens, who is up to 255 pounds this spring, said the extra weight has helped him when he goes one-on-one vs. offensive tackles...Cornerback Ryan White finished with two solo tackles and two assists while Robenson Therezie, Chris Landrum and walk-on defensive back Blake Poole each finished with three solo stops.

Defenders close in on Auburn tailback Corey Grant>.

Behind Blakely's 65 rushing yards, Grant was No. 2 with 23 yards on seven carries while Tre Mason had two runs for 16 yards...Sammie Coates caught two passes for 29 yards, but also dropped a pass...Jaylon Denson added two catches for 11...Steven Clark, who averaged 39.7 yards on three punts, was named the A-Day MVP on special teams...Walk-on Alex Kviklys was the kickoff specialist with starter Cody Parkey limited by a pulled muscle. Kviklys struggled to get his kickoffs deep and did not attempt a field goal. Parkey kicked both of the PATs.

A-Day Statistics

ITAT TV, Gene Chizik

ITAT TV, Scot Loeffler

ITAT TV, Brian VanGorder

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