Auburn, Ala.-- Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee wasn’t publically ready to name the starting quarterback after Thursday evening’s practice, but he did say he is encouraged by the progress of the team.
Sean White remains the heavy favorite to get that assignment after finishing the 2015 season at the top of the depth chart ahead of Jeremy Johnson, who opened the season No. 1.
Lashlee said the coaching staff will announce the starter for game one “when we’re ready.”
Asked if all three QBs still have a chance to start, he didn’t say that is the case. Instead his comment was, “All three guys are still taking reps.”
Sean White will be a redshirt sophomore this season.
The other quarterback in the mix for playing time is juco transfer John Franklin, who has been with the team since January. Lashlee discounted the idea that true freshman Woody Barrett would be ready to play this season and noted that the team’s other scholarship QB, Tyler Queen, is still in rehab after being injured in the spring.
Asked about more detail on Franklin the QB pecking order, the offensive coordinator/quarterback coach said, “All I’ve said is all three guys are still competing in reps. I didn’t give a level of where everybody is at. That’s a fair question. The thing I will say is that he’s done a nice job keeping up with their pace. I just think the more time he gets for reps, the better chance he has of continuing to improve. We are trying to get him as many reps as possible.”
The Tigers worked out for right at three hours on Thursday. “Today was just our second practice since school started,” Lashlee said following a lengthy, full pads practice, much which took place indoors due to heavy rain.
“We started transitioning toward looking at Clemson. There’s still some aspects where it’s kind of half fall camp, half getting ready for Clemson. We haven’t gone fully there with our attention, but we’ve definitely started spending time each day.
“Obviously they’re extremely good so the extra time is well-needed,” Lashlee said of the opening night opponent. “There are still some guys that are getting some good work in, getting some good reps.
“Yesterday, after the first day of school, kind of, typically, historically is never a good day of practice, and it was just very average from just energy and the output we got, but today they bounced back really well and there was good urgency today.”
Lashlee said the Tigers haven’t decided if they will have another scrimmage this weekend after having ones each the past two Saturdays.
Asked about the chemistry of the offense, Lashlee said, “I think it has been good. At the end of the day I like the chemistry of our offense, the chemistry of our team. It just has a good feel to it.
“How that translates into wins or loses you never know. You have a lot of close games in our league. Every year that is the case. When there is a tight group of guys, and the leadership comes from the players, sometimes that helps you in those tight games at the end.
“At the end of the day, offensively we have got to be a good team offense. I said that last week and we have got to have the urgency because in two weeks we play one of the better teams in the whole country, and one of the better defenses from last year. Those guys, I feel like they believe in each other, and will fight hard for each other.”
Asked if this year’s competition at quarterback has featured a different approach, he said, “Not really. You got out and push them all to compete. You put them in as many competitive situations you can. You chart everything and try to keep as much data as you can on all of the things we have done. Not that that is the only reason you make a decision.
“These guys, regardless of what the outcome is, they get along good. They’re close. I have always been fortunate to have guys who get along in that room. It is hard when you are in a competitive situation to get along with everybody and pull for everybody, but at the end of the day when we make a decision that is going to hold a lot of value with our team and how the team responds to the decision so I?have been proud of those guys for that. Every one is a little different on how it unfolds, but overall we haven’t handled it any different.”
The Tigers are scheduled to practice again on Friday and Saturday this week.
Asked if the Tigers might scrimmage on Saturday, Lashlee said, "Coach (Gus Malzahn), I don’t think he’s fully decided what all we’re going to do on Saturday. I know we’re going to do a lot of situational work. We did some situational work last week, and I know we’re going to do a lot more situational work this week so how much of that is scrimmage and not, I’m not sure if Coach has fully decided what he wants to do there yet. We just kind of take it one day at a time.”