I would like to plead my case for Barrett Trotter to be the starting QB at Auburn this fall, and explain why it will be a stunning and brilliant season for this fine young man.
For the record, I really don't have any motive other than "fandom", in this debate. As to whether Clint Moseley or Barrett Trotter get tabbed for the starting QB job this fall, makes no difference to me. What does make a difference however, is the way it's being interpreted. Especially by the mainstream sports media.
Literally, you could insert either Moseley, or Trotter in the title of this post, and they would have equal value. Assuming of course, that they are equal of talent, and ability. Only Coaches Malzahn, and Chizik know the real answer to that, so for the sake of this discussion, I say they are equal. The addition of Keihl Frazier on the QB roster is significant indeed, although I'll argue that a true freshman QB as the starter to begin the season, would be a warning signal of desperate proportions.
To truly look into what could possibly lay in store for Auburn football, and most importantly Auburn's offense this coming fall, we must try and find some sort of standard. Then we must look for a precedence, and finally, draw some sort of conclusion, as to how it will all unfold.
Let's start with the QB Coach, who has been in the college ranks going on six years. Not a whole lot of historical documentation in this area. Such is the life of the meteoric rise of an assistant coach at this level. Six seasons. Seven different QB's coached. A quick check reveals that Mitch Mustain started the season for Arkansas, and was later replaced. At his next stop, Malzahn again had two QB's in two years, Johnson in his first year at Tulsa, and Kinne in the second season.
Then when he came to Auburn, he has two different QB's in two seasons as well, with Chris Todd, and some guy named Cam Newton. Since my personal favorite QB Kodi Burns threw a TD pass to the aforementioned Newton, and was a converted QB I'll count him as the seventh.
In all of these instances, only one compares to what Auburn faces this season on the Plains. In 2008, G.J. Kinne led Tulsa to the GMAC Bowl while amassing a 60.9 % completion percentage and throwing 22 TD's with over 2700 yards passing. Mr. Kinne was able to spend a season as Johnson's backup, and learn the Malzahn offense prior to stepping up and taking over as the starter. Including the bowl win the Golden Hurricanes went 11-3, respectable for sure.
In Malzahn's first season with Auburn, he chose Chris Todd to lead his offense. Todd finished the season with 22 TD passes, a 60.4% average, and just over 2600 yards. Not too shabby. Now that Gus has recruited enough players for his style of offense, and his coaching staff counterparts are on a three year run with him, isn't it reasonable to expect an even better performance out of this season's QB play?
I offer you this for thought. Malzahn has not been at any school for three consecutive seasons, he has won on the field with his players, and set school records, along with a few NCAA records along the way. Evidence enough to expect that trend to continue in an upwards direction.
It's time we take a look at Mr. Trotter himself. Having actually spent two full seasons as a backup, and learning the system front to back, and inside out. According to Rivals.com, Barrett was a 3 star recruit out of Briarwood Christian, and was listed as a dual-threat QB
In a previous interview Gus Malzahn said this about Trotter...
"He’s a tough guy. Throws the ball with great touch. Understands protections,"
The previous season, after Barrett tore his ACL, Coach Malzahn was asked about his performance.
"He was getting almost equal reps in the spring toward the end until he got hurt. He’s coming along and doing some good things. He’s got a very good football mind and he’s kind of got that savvy. He can create some plays on his own and he’s a good zone read runner."
His high school career I'll take directly from the official AU site...
HIGH SCHOOL -- Briarwood Christian School Coach: Fred Yancey ... Threw for 7,968 passing yards, 88 touchdowns and 23 interceptions during career ... Both marks are school records and his 88 touchdown passes are third all-time in Alabama State High School history ... Completed 63 percent of passes during career ... Led Briarwood to 2007 state semi-finals by completing 228-of-361 passes for 3,469 yards and 47 touchdowns with eight interceptions ... Also rushed for 610 yards on 104 attempts and six touchdowns as a senior ... Named ASWA Super 12 and All-State 6A first-team quarterback as a senior ... As a senior also named Birmingham News Metro Player of the Year, ScoutSouth.com Star of Alabama, Mr. Football 5A Back of the Year, and finalist for Mr. Football ... In 11 contests as a junior, completed 188-of-315 passes for 2,414 yards and 22 touchdowns, while rushing for 489 yards on 99 attempts with seven touchdowns ... Birmingham News All-Metro Team Athlete as a junior.
Before you go shouting the differences between college and high school, know this, Trotter was considered good enough to start for Auburn, prior to tearing his ACL in a 2009 practice. I refer to THIS is a video from April 2009. Malzahn's press statements during spring practices last season, offer proof as to Trotter's abilities.
To the argument, we have a standard of success with the QB coach, we have a precedence in Tulsa QB G.J. Kinne, and now we will finalize.
In conclusion, we can ascertain that Barrett Trotter not only can, but WILL be effective as the leader in AU's offense this coming season. Taking the averages of Kinne, and Todd, and mixing it with the recruiting success the staff has had prior to this upcoming season, reveals that success is inevitable.
What constitutes success is a variable dependent on your point of view. Last season the 4th place team in the West division of the SEC (where Auburn is being picked to finish this year) ended up ranked 15th in the AP and 21st in the BCS final poll. Would that be a successful defense of a championship? This writer thinks not. Better things lay in store, than an average 17th place finish. You'll have to wait until the middle of August to get that prediction out of me.