Let's take a moment to evaluate what changes in offensive football philosophy will mean to our current QB's, and then those that Scot Loeffler, our offensive coordinator, will try to recruit to Auburn. After three years of the HUNH, or Hurry Up No Huddle style offense, the Tigers will incorporate new schemes and terminology into their scoring efforts.
The HUNH is a spread style offense. That simply means that the offense lines up spread out all over the field, in an effort to spread the defense out, so there are potentially less defenders to respond to the actual play. The Achilles heel to this style of offense is defensive speed. Something most SEC defenses have in spades is speed. Therefore the challenge now is to be as flexible in your offense as possible.
Hence the change in Gene Chizik's offensive strategy, is to not be married to one style of offense. Being able to line up in a 2 TE(Tight End) set, on one play, and then a 4 WR(Wide Receiver) set the next play, without having to change personnel would be a huge advantage for any offense. In effect, what you would see is Auburn lining up in the spread on one play, and then the power pro set the next, and doing so without having to interchange players between the plays.
To do this would require two things. First, you need to have smart, talented players. Secondly, you need a coach that can create a playbook based on that talent, and use that as effectively as possible. I can confidently assure you that Auburn has recruited smart, talented players since Gene Chizik arrived at Auburn. Now the onus is on Scot Loeffler to produce the playbook.
The basics of quarterback play change very little when we talk about run first play action vs. run first spread in the HUNH. The QB will make sure everyone is lined up correctly, will make his reads of key defensive players, hand the ball off or pass it, and direct his team down the field. Basic QB play.
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Auburn has two QB's that can hand a ball off, and throw, and read defenses. Clint Moseley and Kiehl Frazier each have playing experience. Only Moseley has started, on the road in SEC play. The success rate each has had is minimal at best. Outside of talent, the experience factor is the most important aspect in developing a successful QB. Frazier, and Moseley have a huge advantage over the newcomers in that respect.
Frazier and Moseley were playing in somewhat unique circumstances last season, that through no fault of their own, created some statistical numbers that are somewhat skewed. An ongoing difference in defensive philosophy which in turn strained the offensive production, led to the parting of the Defensive Coordinator. Add to that the abnormal amount of injuries, and it's easy to see why the offense wasn't playing effectively.
I look for both Kiehl Frazier, and Clint Moseley to have a heated battle for the starting QB position. Of the two, I believe that Moseley has the upper hand in the passing department, but the difference is minimal. Either QB could lead this team to victory.
Of the new recruits playing the QB position, incoming Freshman Zeke Pike will be the only one to go through the Spring practice period. His numbers are listed on Rivals.com as 6' 5" 220 lbs and 4.7 speed in the 40. Pike was invited to the Trent Dilfer QB camp where he made the Elite 11.
Talent is not a question with Zeke. There have been some questions raised however about his brash mouth style of communication via social media outlets, but I can tell you that he has calmed down tremendously in the last year. I'll chalk his "uber" enthusiasm up as youth, and his subsequent settling down as maturity.
To be honest, I prefer a little flair in my gunslingers. We used to call it cockiness, I think now the term is swagger, nonetheless, if a QB isn't confident he can take on any challenge, he is in the wrong league. Meek, mild, and conformists need not apply to any SEC team as leaders in the QB position. If Coach Loeffler is the QB guru that I hope he is, then Zeke Pike could have a tremendous career at Auburn.
At this Spring's Junior Day event AU invited one QB from Los Angeles, California to attend, which he accepted. Hayden Rettig of Cathedral High had a great time while in Auburn, and was among at least 6 top QB's in Auburn that weekend.
As to what Coach Loeffler is looking for in future prospects, we can safely assume he will want to have the most intelligent, and talented players at the QB position in the country. Auburn will be going after strong armed, fleet footed QB's that can read defenses, make plays when things break down, and that want to play at the next level.
Running Back University may just become a Quarterback school too.
Comment of the week....
This week we were treated to some memorable moments of Auburn's past with that great post by Acid Reign. In the comments of that post, even more insight into an Auburn grad, and his past, which left me wishing for him, what he wished for himself.
I was directing parking lot traffic with ROTC when he and his wife drove in to park in the media lot. Still kick myself today for not going up to him and talking to him for a brief second.
Thanks AUTigerGSUEagle and WAR EAGLE!
All of the good recruiting news, and the promise of the next season of Auburn basketball has been given a black eye. Auburn was never expected to really compete in the SEC this year, but the foundation has been laid to move forward with anticipation unlike any season in many years. Then yesterday, we learned of the FBI investigation of an apparent point shaving scandal involving Varez Ward, one of Auburn's basketball players.
The first thing I want all of you to remember is that, no one has been convicted of a crime, yet. We would be serving a terrible injustice by commenting as if Ward was guilty of anything. Let the investigation play out, and let us see where it goes.
It appears as if Auburn University, Coach Barbee and his assistant coaches, acted as swiftly and professionally as we would hope they would. The authorities, the NCAA and the SEC office were all notified immediately. From my perspective, it appears as though,at this point in time, this might be a Varez Ward problem, and that Auburn's basketball program should come through this relatively unscathed.
We will be keeping an eye on this story going forward.