Auburn, Ala.-- Gus Malzahn called his football’s first preseason scrimmage “solid,” but did not give any clues on who is going to emerge as Auburn's starting quarterback and when that decision will be made.
The returning starter, sophomore Sean White, shared the reps with senior Jeremy Johnson and junior John Franklin.
“Our three older quarterbacks rotated equally between our ones and twos,” Malzahn said. “I think all three of those guys had solid days protecting the football very well, and that is really what I was looking for.
“Woody Barrett went live the whole time,” Malzahn said of the true freshman quarterback, who was in his first collegiate scrimmage. “He rotated some with the twos and the threes. It was a good chance for them to go out there and show what he can do. It was his first rodeo so it was good for him as far as communication and ball security and everything that goes with that.”
Asked if the Tigers need another scrimmage before making a decision on the No. 1 quarterback, Malzahn said, “Well, I don't know about that, but we will have another scrimmage and it will be this weekend. I will be pretty quick. I am not ready to say that right now. Like I said, I wasn’t just looking at the quarterbacks. I was looking at everybody. This will be a good evaluation.”
Commenting on what he saw from the defense, Malzahn said, “It looked to me like we tackled pretty well. That is always the first thing you are looking for as far as how well did we tackle and how many missed tackles we had, big picture-wise.
“I don’t think there was a whole lot that stood out to me,”?he added. “That is always a good thing. Like I said earlier, we are pretty basic on defense, and that was to be able to evaluate. We want the guys to have to think a lot to see what they can do physically. That was good.”
The first team offense competed vs. the ones on defense for 37 plays, the twos went head for 29 plays and the rest of the players were on the field for 42 snaps. The Tigers also worked on punting and field goals.
“We had a big special teams day also,” Malzahn said. “We started out with field goal, field goal block, went live up front for the first time this fall, which was very good. When you go live you see both sides and what you need to work on and the things that go with that.
“We had live punt, punt return, midway through practice, which was very good,” the coach said. “We got some young guys I feel like can help us on special teams, and this was their chance to show what they can do. We were looking for effort. We were looking for intensity, guys who can make plays and guys who can be coachable. I think we have got some really good information as far as that goes.”
The returning starter at punter, senior Kevin Phillips, is being pushed by redshirt freshman Ian Shannon. “They got a lot of opportunities, even during the scrimmage when we punted,” Malzahn pointed out. “We just brought the snapper and the punter and the returner. We got a chance to see the get-off, the ball placement, the yards, the height with the kick. They got a lot of reps today. It'll be good information.
“Everything was going pretty fast so it's hard for me to give you an assessment, but it's a good competition. If I look at the whole fall camp, it's a good competition with those two punters.”
Malzahn said the scrimmage gave the coaching staff a chance to see all of their players in action although junior linebacker Tre Williams was held out while he recovers from a foot injury. “This was an evaluation scrimmage--very basic on offense and defense so we could evaluate. I think there will be a lot of things that will help us as coaches as far as evaluation goes.
“After we grade the tape, I think we'll know a lot more, not just about our young guys but also the young guys who might have been with the twos right there. We are really hoping a couple of them take that next step so I think we will have some good information as far as that goes.”