Freshman QB Off To Solid Start At Auburn

Josh Sullivan talks about his first week of football practice as an Auburn quarterback following Monday morning's team practice.

Auburn, Ala.--The Tigers backed off the intense pace of Sunday evening's practice with a light workout in shorts and helmets on Monday morning that featured only individual and position drills.

"We are trying to be smart and not get people exhausted so they can't do anything in the second practice of the day or for a couple of days," Coach Tommy Tuberville says.

Sullivan throws a pass during his first week of practice as QB coach Bobby Petrino watches the walk-on.

The heat and humidity were on the rise on Monday, but one freshman who doesn't mind it is quarterback Josh Sullivan, who seems to be enjoying his time in the spotlight as an intriguing walk-on who has caught the eyes of the coaching staff. Sullivan has a real chance to go into opening night as the third string quarterback.

Sullivan is currently six-foot-four and 202 pounds after dropping three pounds in the past week during two-a-days. The right-hander has shown a strong arm and he can make all of the throws. He moved to Auburn this summer from his home in Little Rock, Ark., to get a head start on the college experience.

"Being here this summer has really helped me a lot," Sullivan tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "I have been preparing and have been learning the routes for my receivers. I still have a lot to learn, but I believe summer helped a whole lot."

Currently, redshirt sophomore Jason Campbell is playing the best football among the quarterbacks. Sixth-year senior Daniel Cobb has been up and down during the eight full squad practices. The other scholarship quarterback, true freshman Wesley Hill from Cordele, Ga., is who Sullivan is competing with for third team status.

Sullivan says that it has been very different learning offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino's offense. "It is a big difference," says the former Central High two-sport standout. "We were playing smash-mouth football running power-I and wing-T formations. We ran a few options here or there and passed maybe six or seven times a game. This is very different and I love it."

Sullivan says he passed for "around 800 yards" as a senior and was a two-year starter at Central High in football. He hit .432 as a senior in baseball as a catcher while also playing several other positions. He was projected to be a high pro baseball draft choice before deciding to walk-on at Auburn, which offered him the opportunity to play both sports after evaluating him on video as a potential dropback quarterback.

"Right now I am working to make sure I know all of the routes and I am trying to improve my footwork," Sullivan says. "I am learning my progressions on the pass plays. You can't do anything without that."

With freshman quarterback Brandon Cox leaving the team over the weekend, the odds that Sullivan will be the third team quarterback have increased. However, he says that has not changed his approach to practice. "It is really just the same for me because I was working real hard to be the third quarterback last week, too. I am trying to get to know everybody and how the receivers run their routes."

Fullback Brandon Johnson, who was expected to be out for several days after straining a muscle in his back, was on the practice field working out on Monday morning. The Tigers are currently in good shape on the injury front with the most serious an ankle problem with senior Michael Owens that is keeping the third/fourth team fullback sidelined.

The Tigers will hit the practice field at 4:45 p.m. on Monday and will practice twice daily through Friday.

Tiger Ticket Extra: For a second straight day, former Auburn head football coach Pat Dye dropped by the intramural fields to watch practice...Last year's leading tackler, linebacker Dontarrious Thomas, was back in action after missing Sunday evening's workout with a minor injury. The same was true of another projected defensive starter, cornerback Roderick Hood...Tuberville has praise for true freshman tailback Tre Smith and says the former Venice, Fla., star is making a move for early playing time.

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