Without a doubt the quarterback play wasn’t what it needed to be last year so getting that position up to speed will be a primary focus for Gus Malzahn along with offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Rhett Lashlee when spring football practice starts next week.
I believe the Tigers have a chance to be better at all of the other positions on offense and if that is the case that will help the play at quarterback, which I believe is a key to Auburn’s success this season. If you don’t have a quarterback who can effectively direct this offense, you become predictable. You can’t be predictable and win football games unless you are running the wishbone.
It will be interesting to me to watch the progress of the quarterbacks this season. The Tigers are fortunate that their head coach has been coaching quarterbacks all of his life and that Coach Lashlee played for him and also coached for him.
In the spring the team will be working with just two players at the position, sophomore Jonathan Wallace and junior Kiehl Frazier. I like what I saw from Wallace last year because he came in, fought and showed courage and understanding of his assignments. He certainly wasn’t perfect, but showed potential.
I am as curious as everybody else to see what happens with Frazier and whether or not he is going to come out of his slump, funk or whatever you call what he got into last year. I am sure the coaches will have a feel coming out of spring practice where they are with the quarterback situation and whether or not whether they need to go with one of the two incoming freshmen (Jeremy Johnson and Jason Smith) or the junior college player (Nick Marshall).
Hopefully, by the time the first game arrives there will be a clear-cut guy to handle the position, a player who generates confidence in everybody around him.
One of the things I really like about Coach Malzahn’s offense is you have got a chance to eliminate people from a play with a read or a pitch, setting up a numbers advantage either running the football or throwing it. Finding the quarterback who can do that successfully will be a big deal for the Tigers.
The quarterback needs to be a consistently accurate passer because defensive coaches can put so many defenders at the line of scrimmage that they can stop you from running the football out of the spread or any other formation. The quarterback who is directing Auburn’s offense has to be able to make the defense respect his passing ability enough to give the Tigers room to run the football.
From the Mailbag:
I keep up with your articles on the internet and enjoy reading them. I just finished reading one of your latest articles about your feelings on what to do with the Toomer’s oaks. I agree with you that cutting up the trees into little pieces and selling as keepsakes seems disrespectful in a way. I could see the trees being made into craftsman style benches, with the natural wood grain showing, to be placed in the student center, the pavilion or other places around campus. Then every one could continue to enjoy the memories of the oak trees in a more dignified manner.
Can't you picture people lining up on football Saturdays to have their pictures made on the benches? I also like your idea of totally preserving the trees, but it might be too sad to see them preserved without leaves. I don't know enough about how that could be done I guess. But if it could be done tastefully, then it would be great.
If you think my idea is worthy, would you please share it with who ever may want to know? Thanks Coach and War Eagle!
Carol Keener Bush, Alumni, 1982
Thanks for your comments. I agree with you that I would rather see benches made out of the oaks than trinkets, but if they make benches out of them they need to be kept under cover to last. If they do a good job of preserving them, however they are displayed they can be around for generations to come.
(If you have a question or a subject you would like me to write about in future columns, you can email it to PatDye@autigers.com.)
Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of columns that College Football Hall of Fame member Pat Dye is writing for AUTigers.com about the game he played and coached. An All-American player at Georgia and one of the top head coaches in SEC history at Auburn, he also served as a head coach at East Carolina and Wyoming. Dye writes three columns for AUTigers.com--The Dye-Log, the Dye-Gest and Pat’s Picks.
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