Talking Football With Jason Campbell

The redshirt sophomore quarterback discusses the 2002 Auburn football season.

Auburn, Ala.--Sometime on Tuesday Jason Campbell is expected to find out whether or not he is going to be the starting quarterback for the Auburn Tigers.

Campbell started and finished the 2001 season as the No. 1 signal caller for the Tigers as a redshirt freshman, but senior Daniel Cobb was able to break into the starting lineup four times. Cobb is back for a rerun on his senior season after being granted a rare sixth year of eligibility due to medical problems early in his college career as a student at Georgia that kept the QB sidelined.

QB Jason Campbell

Campbell and Cobb have been in a yo-yo of a contest for first string status for two years. The ups and downs continued through spring drills last March and April and have picked up where they left off when the Tigers returned to the practice fields in August.

Campbell and Cobb both say they aren't sure who is going to get the starting call. New offensive coordinator and QB coach Bobby Petrino says he wants to name a starter and stay with the same guy throughout the season. The quarterbacks are well aware of what their new offensive coordinator is saying on that subject and that has made the preseason drills in August even more important for the QBs.

"I don't know who is going to be the starter," Campbell tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "I just go out and play everyday and try to do the best I can. I try to learn the best that I can. I try to do what I can to help the team, motivate people and just get ready for the season. We go to California before long and we just want to be ready to play."

Jason Campbell runs for yardage last fall.

Campbell completed 89-142 passes last fall as a redshirt freshman for 1,117 yards. He passed for four touchdowns and an equal number of interceptions in his eight starts and two appearances off the bench. Campbell says he believes that he has improved since last fall.

"I feel summer went real well for me," he says. "You know, it is the best summer I think I have had since I have been playing football. I thought I got a lot faster this summer. I got quicker and I feel like my arm got stronger. I feel like I am getting more rotation on the ball right now. I feel healthy. All I have got to try to do is just continue to work."

Campbell says he is enthusiastic about his new position coach and offensive coordinator. "I feel Coach Petrino is a great man. He is a great person and a great coach. He is going to try to get the best out of these players, and whatever it takes for us to win that is what we are going to do."

Campbell says that Petrino's style of play should be fun. "It is very exciting because we get to keep the defense on their heels. They don't know if we are going to run it or pass it, throw the short pass or throw the deep pass."

Tiger Ticket Extra: Commenting on the 2002 offense vs. the 2001 offense, Campbell says, "I would probably just say that we may seem more spread-out than in the past. We have a lot of weapons to attack with. And, everything is going to work out, we know it will. We will try to throw more timing patterns, and basically, all of this offense has more emphasis on timing...Campbell says he tried hard to be a leader at the summer voluntary workouts and notes that he believes the sessions went well. "I enjoyed it. I thought we got further along. A lot of guys showed up, both offensively and defensively. We got after each other at practice. That is a good thing about this team--we were out there working hard, going all out, and trying to stop each other. We are very competitive and willing to do what we have to do and sacrifice to win."

Campbell got plenty of work with the new freshmen wide receivers at the voluntary workouts and has thrown many balls to the rookies through official preseason drills. "My early impression is that the freshmen receivers are trying hard to learn," Campbell says. "They are really tuned in practice and trying to stay focused and they are trying to do the best they can. They have got good hands, good footwork. They have got to just learn everything." Campbell says he believes the newcomers' speed will help make the offense more explosive.


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