Field Testing: Young QB Looking to Make A Move

Auburn redshirt freshman quarterback Blake Field talks about his first spring practices with the Tigers and what he hopes to accomplish.

Auburn, Ala.–-While much of the talk heading into spring practice was about sophomore quarterback Brandon Cox and redshirt freshman Calvin Booker when people discussed replacing Jason Campbell, the race is a four-deep process with freshman Blake Field and junior Dustin Goodwin also in the mix.

After redshirting last fall along with Booker, Field is a player who has made huge improvements in his size and strength since arriving in Auburn last summer. Now 6-3, 195, he has the size needed to compete in the SEC and he says that the toughest thing now is the learning process involved in picking up the offense.

"I'm glad to be out there," Field tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "It feels good. Coach (Borges) is trying to throw everything at us, all the way up to the last thing that Jason learned. He's just trying to see who handles it the best. There is a lot of stuff going at us, but Coach is telling us that the more we do it the better we'll get."

Field throws a pass during Wednesday's practice.

Instead of spoon-feeding the players and giving them little parts of the offense at a time, Borges does things differently. He likes to pound the players with play after play to give them as much to think about as possible. Field says that makes things tough early in the process, but he says he feels like both he and Booker are more than prepared to handle the task at hand.

"It makes everything a lot tougher, but the advantage that me and Calvin have is that we were here last summer," Field says. "We got to meet with him during the summer and pick up the basics. If we weren't able to do that we would be a lot more lost than we are now. We heard it every day, heard Jason and Brandon talking about it. There's still a lot of confusion, but we'll get it."

No matter which player eventually wins the starting job at quarterback, one advantage they will have is the fresh memory of watching Campbell do his magic as a fifth-year senior last fall to lead the Tigers to a perfect season and a SEC Championship. Field says that being able to be around Campbell while he was doing his thing was a great learning experience for all the quarterbacks on this year's team.

"Jason was the perfect example," Field says. "He was the SEC Player of the Year. He went through four offensive coordinators in five years. To catch up on what Coach Borges has taught for 20 years is amazing to me. Jason was the perfect example of how to do it. It just takes time and patience.

"Coach Borges is a genius," Field adds. "The thing about him is that he'll teach you and if you make a mistake he'll make sure you don't do it again. Jason helped us a lot as well."

Not a true West Coast offense because of the power running game influence incorporated by Borges last season to get the most out of the combination of Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown, Auburn's offense is a very complex one to learn because of the multiple formations used by Borges. Field says that while two great running backs are gone, the current players bring plenty to the table, especially in the passing game.

"It's difficult learning it (Borges' offense), but we've got all these backs with great hands," Field says. "They catch anything you throw at them. You'll see Tre Smith go up for anything and Carl Stewart and Kenny Irons will put his body up for anything. I like throwing different routes and different things because it tests my ability and how I can throw the ball. It's not the same things over and over again. You're always different and you'll always keep your opponents confused. That's what I like."

A four-year starter in high school at both Cairo, Ga., High then at North Florida Christian in Tallahassee, Fla., as a senior, Field has plenty of experience in game situations, but says he needed to mature physically to be ready to play in the SEC. He says that a year as a redshirt helped him in his process and now he's ready to begin his plan to eventually be the starting quarterback at Auburn.

"My goal was just to get bigger, faster and stronger," Field says. "I feel like I'm bigger, faster and stronger. The next step is my mental part such as learning the plays, learning the offense. We're constantly getting bigger, faster and stronger, but it's all mental now. I've had a year to prepare and now it's time.

"I'm going to try to get better every single day," Field adds. "Coach tells us all the time, ‘I don't want to correct you on the same mistake, I want to correct you on a different mistake.' I want to get to that point where on the third day he's not correcting me on mistakes I made the first day. That takes time, too.

"My goals are just to learn as fast as I can and compete. My dad has always taught me just to compete. If they want a number one or a number two, whatever it is just compete. That's my goal for this spring."

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