Auburn quarterbacks eager to compete for starting spot
Auburn’s quarterbacks didn’t have a great 2015 season.
Jeremy Johnson, who opened the season as the starter, and Sean White combined to throw for only 2,220 yards and 11 touchdowns while also throwing 11 interceptions.
In 2016, the Tigers are eager to improve those numbers. Auburn WR Marcus Davis said at SEC Media Days that both the receivers and quarterbacks are working hard to avoid a repeat of 2015:
“We just created an atmosphere there with everybody where everybody’s there, everybody’s doing their things to getting that first down on third-and-9 as far as quarterback and receiver, so you know that’s our biggest focus,” Auburn senior receiver Marcus Davis said this week at SEC Media Days in Hoover. “All the receivers are working with each one of the quarterbacks so we’re just taking our time and doing what we need to do.”
Davis added that this year’s quarterback competition is more intense than last year’s:
“I think they’re more hungry, especially Jeremy,” said Davis, who is also Johnson’s roommate. “There’s a lot more at stake for him because it’s his last year and he wants to go out the right way. Those guys come in to work every day. Sean, he’s just a really consistent guys that’s always willing to work as well.”
The wildcard in the mix is John Franklin III, a transfer from East Mississippi Community College. If White and Johnson fail to show improvement, Franklin, who has a cannon for an arm, could swoop in and steal the starting spot.
“He’s a very impressive guy,” Davis said. “His skillset is unique; he’s really, really fast. He most definitely could throw, and the thing that a lot of people may not know about him is that he’s a very, very strong leader; he brings guys with him and he’s a hard worker. He’s always down trying to get better, and that’s what guys feed off of.”
After the quarterback struggles in 2015, adding Franklin to the mix to provide more competition is not a bad thing. With more options, it’s more likely coach Gus Malzahn can play the hot hand as needed in 2016.