No Decision Yet on AU's Starting Quarterback

Auburn head football coach Gene Chizik said he isn't ready to name a starting quarterback yet. He discusses that decision and other subjects as the Tigers ended spring practice.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn finished spring football practice the way the Tigers started it concerning the quarterback position depth chart.

After the Tigers ended their 15th and final practice on Monday, Coach Gene Chizik noted that he is not ready to name a starting quarterback or any kind of a depth chart at the position where Chris Todd started last year as a senior.

Senior Neil Caudle, junior Cameron Newton, sophomore Barrett Trotter and redshirt freshman Clint Moseley are the four quarterbacks competing for the top spot. Caudle, Trotter and Mosley all had strong performances in Auburn's A-Day game on Saturday. Newton, who is considered a strong candidate to be named the starter, was just 3-8 passing in the spring game, but had more productive performances in previous scrimmages.

The team's other scholarship quarterback, Tyrik Rollison, did not go through winter workouts or spring practice because he is concentrating on his academics. Chizik said on Monday that he will meet with Rollison later this spring and will announce what the quarterback's status with the team is after that.

Rollison, who redshirted last fall as a freshman, could be transferring to a college closer to his home in Texas. "I will touch base with him again before school ends," Chizik said. "I can't give you any positives one way or the other. I assure you when we know we will get it out there and it will be clear-cut."

Commenting on when a starter will be named, Chizik said he doesn't want to set a time frame for that, but notes it will more than likely be sometime in the summer or during preseason drills.

Before spring practice Auburn coaches said they hoped to have their No. 1 guy identified this spring, but that looks like it isn't happening.

Talking about the effect on the team on not naming a starter, Chizik said, "That depends on how you look at it. There are some good things, there are some things that aren't as maybe as positive for you from a standpoint of who your leader is going to be--the leadership, them taking charge because they know they are the starter. Those are all of the positive things.

"The other side of that is keeping everybody working and challenging and things of that nature for the position," Chizik said. "Again, if we feel like when we evaluate everything, if we feel like at the end of the day it is time we could (name a starter). If not, it could be the beginning of the summer, the middle of the summer, the end of the summer, it could not be until two-a-days like we did it last year.

"I am definitely not going to back ourselves into any corner with a time-line on it," Chizik added.

The head coach notes that he believes the competition for the starting spot is "open." He said, "We will evaluate closer now that we have reached the end of spring what order...there has got to be an order somewhere, but right now for them, all four of them, we are just going to let them compete."

Coach Gene Chizik

Chizik, who has praised all four quarterbacks for their play at times this spring, said he wouldn't be ready to name a starter if the Tigers needed to play a game at this time. "I think there is some great competition going on at the position. Thank God, we don't have to name one tomorrow. We need more time. Whether that is more time just for again going through the whole installation one more time for everybody and things of that nature, at this point in time we aren't ready to say that."

Newton said that he and the other quarterbacks haven't been told by the coaches where they stand on the depth chart. "I am just taking every day as another day I can get better," he said.

Newton, who arrived on campus in January, said that the competition has been good for the starting job. "Every quarterback brings something to the table--no doubt. Everyone is talented."

Commenting on how he did this spring, Newton said, "I think in a short period of time I grasped the offense, pretty much. I still have a long way to go overall--don't get me wrong. As far as getting the basics of the offense, I am pretty much comfortable with it right now."

Moseley, who looked to be the odd man out in the competition after not getting in reps in the first half of Saturday's A-Day game, considers himself a longshot in the competition.

Asked if he sees it as a four-man race going into preseason practice that will start in August, Moseley said, "Not really. Being the young one, I kind of get the feeling that I am the least ready.

"Barrett has been in the offense two years and Neil has been in the offense for two years and is a fifth-year senior," said Moseley, who ran the scout team at Auburn last fall. "Cam played in junior college and he came out of high school and went to Florida. I realize that I am at a major disadvantage, but I will say that we all realize that all four quarterbacks are capable of playing."

Clint Moseley is shown in action in Saturday's A-Day game.

Moseley and the Tigers will begin conditioning workouts on Tuesday and then this summer will do voluntary "mini-camp" workouts with the players organizing the drills. Moseley said it is up to him to keep competing hard during the offseason to be prepared when practice starts again in August. "The training camp is going to be huge. I am not going to give up yet."

Moseley notes that he has always been a starter in sports and he was disappointed to be watching games from the sidelines last fall while redshirting. He said that he even considered leaving at times, but points out that he likes Auburn, Auburn's offense and the chance to play in the SEC too much to seriously consider doing that.

"I really had a negative attitude a lot of the fall and some of the spring," he said. "I really don't know what happened."

He admitted that always being the star at Leroy High, he didn't handle criticism well once he got to college, but is making strides in that area. "My attitude has really gotten a lot better now," he said. "I am a lot more confident out there. I am a learning a lot faster now and I don't make the same mistakes twice. That is something I should have been doing the whole time."

Moseley said a conversation he had with one of the graduate assistant coaches during spring practice about what he needed to do to improve as a football player "kind of opened my eyes."

The quarterback added "I gave it a shot and it has really turned out positive so far the last two or three weeks since I have actually had a good mindset. I am going to try to keep that mindset going."

Mosley was Alabama's Mr. Football as a senior at Leroy High star after leading his team to the state title. He was also a star in baseball who led his team to state titles in that sport.

"I come from a little school and I was criticized not too much," Moseley said. "I had never been chewed out sometimes the way I have been up here. It is how you handle everything else. I feel like I am physically ready, physically able to play, and Malzahn (quarterback coach Gus Malzahn) always tells me it is the mental part of it that is holding you back. I guess it just never sunk in for some reason. I don't know why.

"It finally sunk in that maybe they are yelling at me all the time everyday to try to get me better and see how I respond to it to see if I am growing up to a man or not," the redshirt freshman added. "It kind of really sunk into me. I?bought into it and there have been a lot of positive things the last two weeks."

News and Notes: Chizik said Monday's practice was a good one with emphasis on the blitz. "I think we made a lot of strides, but we definitely have a long, long way to go."...Offensive tackle signee Shon Coleman is making progress on his chemotherapy, Chizik said, but the coach notes it is too early to know if the high school All-American will be able to enroll at Auburn this year. Chizik said football is "insignificant at this point" with the focus on getting the big lineman healthy...The coach said he believes that Daren Bates, Coleman's former teammate at Olive Branch, Miss., High who started at safety last year for the Tigers, will be a good addition to the linebacker corps this season. Bates watched practice this spring and learned assignments while recovering from shoulder surgery...Safety Zac Etheridge is continuing to make progress from his neck/spine injury, but it is too early to know whether or not he will be cleared to play this fall...Sixth-year senior safety Aairon Savage made progress in the spring after missing the last two seasons with injuries, Chizik said. He noted that the coaches and trainers tried to be smart with Savage, who is coming back from an Achilles injury, by limiting his practice time during spring drills...With spring practice finished, Auburn coaches will be on the road making recruiting visits starting on April 26th.


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