The QB Or Not The QB, That Is The Question

Jason Campbell, Daniel Cobb, Tommy Tuberville and Bobby Petrino talk about Saturday's scrimmage and the battle for the starting quarterback job.

Auburn, Ala.--The contrasting looks on the faces of offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino and defensive coordinator Gene Chizik told the story well concerning Auburn's second preseason football scrimmage.

As has been the case going back to the opening day of spring training, the defense has held the upper hand and Saturday was not really much different. Making the defensive's play even more impressive is that Chizik's boys continued to perform with one hand tied behind their backs as most of the first defense watched from the sidelines.

As would be expected on a day when the defense won most of the battles, neither Daniel Cobb nor Jason Campbell did enough to pull away from their competitor in the race for the starting quarterback job. After the scrimmage, both head coach Tommy Tuberville and Petrino were not ready to name the No. 1 man. Both coaches said it would take video study to find who made the least mistakes before they would announce their choice, which is now expected early next week.

Neither Cobb nor Campbell would say they thought they deserved the top spot either. Cobb said he was disappointed in himself for overthrowing two wide open receivers. If he had hit those passes, his numbers of 5-15 for 106 yards and one touchdown would have been significantly better.

Campbell said he knows that he made the wrong call three times on audible situations, something that could tip the balance in favor of Cobb, who has been close to 100 percent on reading defenses. Campbell was 4-6 for 67 yards and like Cobb he did not throw an interception.

"I am just going to stay focused and try to be a leader, keep my head up and try to get better," says Campbell. "The coaches haven't told us when they are going to name the starter. I don't know what to expect.

Wide receiver Silas Daniels races downfield on a 32 yard pass play from quarterback Jason Campbell while defenders Roshard Gilyard (3) and Travis Williams (51) give chase. Fullback Brandon Johnson (45) and tight end Robert Johnson (87) try to lead the way but can't keep up with the fleet feet of Daniels.

"I thought I came out and did good in the scrimmage except for a couple of checks here and there. The two-minute drill, we still need to work on that some more."

Cobb said, "I have no idea when they are going to name the starter." The senior added, "I thought I did OK making the checks at the line I needed to. I did miss a couple of open guys. The first one of the game, the fullback (Brandon Johnson), wow, that sticks out in my head. We will get in there and look at the film and let Coach Petrino do what he was hired up to do--coach us up and make us better."

Chris Butler was the leading rusher with 11 carries for 50 yards but as always, Carnell "Cadillac" Williams was the man. He carried the ball just two times for 20 yards and caught one pass for 12, but was clearly the most talented Tiger on offense. He made a 13-yard run with an impressive spin move that brought cheers from an estimated 1,000-plus fans watching the action at the intramural field.

Tre Smith carried the ball six times for 15 yards and had one catch for 24. Ronnie Brown had six carries for six yards, Campbell one for four yards, Johnson one for no gain, Cobb two for minus four, Wesley Hill had one for minus two and Josh Sullivan one for minus five. Sullivan, back from an illness on Friday, hit 2-4 passes for 33 yards and Hill was 1-2 for four yards. Hill and Sullivan are competing for the No. 3 spot.

Williams says he is ready to carry the football 20-25 times a game like Petrino has predicted he will do this year. "I am so excited to go to California and play on national TV," Williams adds. "We feel great about it. I am full speed and ready to go."

The receivers as a group continued to struggle with dropped passes. Silas Daniels had two catches for 37 as did freshman tight end Anthony Mix. Walk-on wideout Todd Bradford had one catch for 27 yards, Ben Obomanu had one for 23, Brandon Johnson had one for 10 yards, Cooper Wallace one for nine and Jeris McIntyre for for three.

Petrino was not happy with the catching of the receivers and was irritated about the defense again having the upper hand in goal line drills. "The first thing we have got to do on offense is learn not to beat ourselves and the last two days on the goal line drill it was a case of us beating ourselves. We aren't blocking things right and kids aren't carrying it over when they are tried the way they are taught. We have a long way to go. That is really upsetting to me."

Freshman tailback Smith, playing against a mixture of reserves, scored the only running touchdown of the scrimmage on a short burst up the middle. In the two-minute drill at the end of practice with no live rush or tackling, Wallace caught a short TD pass from Campbell.

(More articles will be published later today.


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