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Gus Malzahn Discusses Auburn's Quarterback Competition

News and notes from Auburn's opening day of football practice are featured.

Auburn, Ala.--Gus Malzahn said the plan to in preseason practice includes “equal reps” for the three candidates to be the starting quarterback.

At the end of Auburn's spring drills the competition for No. 1 on the depth chart was between sophomore Sean White, the starter to close the 2015 season, senior Jeremy Johnson, who opened the season No. 1, and juco transfer John Franklin.

“We have a good plan for putting them in competitive situations,” Malzahn said. “Every practice we will chart everything and, like I said to begin with, we are hoping we can name a guy (the starter) sooner than later. We will give everybody an equal shot.”

The team’s two other scholarship quarterbacks are not in the competition to be the starter, Malzahn pointed out. Tyler Queen is still recovering from a spring shoulder injury and is not cleared to practice, but should be back in the not too distant future. The other QB is a true freshman, Woody Barrett.

“We are going to get him prepared,” Malzahn said of Barrett. “He is not in that three right now. He will have a chance to be the starting quarterback eventually. He will be in that conversation. This fall we are just trying to get him prepared with our base offense. Possibly could he have a package? We have done that before with some true freshman, but as far as being the starting quarterback he is not in that conversation at this time. That is nothing against him. We think he is very talented. It’s just a matter of him getting the reps and showing what he can do.”

Photography: Inside the Auburn Tigers/

Gus Malzahn makes a point during Wednesday's practice.

The Tigers did a two-part practice on Wednesday with the returning players going first and the newcomers getting the undivided attention of the coaches after the other players had called it a day.

“I felt pretty good about it,” Malzahn said after practice. “We let our young guys get out there early and kind of watch the older guys operate and work and then we focused with them late in practice. I thought our energy was good.

“I thought our attention to detail, especially with the older guys, you could really tell that they were much improved from the spring, and we expect them to be. I thought the young guys had a good attitude. They were very eager to learn. Overall, it was a good day.”

In other news and notes:

*With Jovon Robinson being dismissed from the team on Wednesday, that increases the chance that freshman Kameron Martin could get an expanded role at tailback this season. A late addition to the signee class, Martin originally signed with Baylor, but was released from the scholarship.

“Kam Martin is going to have a chance,”?Malzahn said about the four-star prospect. “Like I said when we recruited and we got him here, he is a very talented young man. We have had some success before with true freshmen playing the tailback position so he will get a great opportunity.”

*Malzahn said that newcomer T.J. Neal, a graduate transfer from Illinois, stood out at his first Auburn practice. “He was out there and he was flying around. You could tell he’s going to help us.”

Junior defensive end Carl Lawson had these comments on Neal, a linebacker. “It was his first day of practice, but I feel like he had a great attitude during summer and everyone is trying to fly around to the ball.”

Inside the Auburn Tigers/

Josh Holsey was back after practice after missing spring drills with an injury. The senior has started at both cornerback and safety for the Tigers.

*The Auburn coach said that he wishes the best for former AU running back Tre Mason, who has been missing and did not report to preseason practice with the Los Angeles Rams.

“I’ve not been able to talk to him lately. I’ll tell you this--our staff is praying for him. Tre is a fine young man going through a tough time. Our thoughts and prayers are with him, and we’re hoping for the best for him.”

*The Tigers will go through single practices on Thursday, Friday and Saturday before having their first full pads session on Sunday.

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