Following Auburn's practice Monday afternoon, head coach Gus Malzahn made a announcement regarding the starting quarterback race: Nick Marshall and Jeremy Johnson are the front-runners, Jonathan Wallace is behind but still in it and Kiehl Frazier is moving to safety. So yeah, it's a pretty big news day.
Marshall and Johnson being tabbed as the leading candidates to start at QB has a more direct impact on the 2013 Tigers, but Frazier's decision to stay at Auburn and change positions is perhaps even more newsworthy. Like Kodi Burns before him, the former five-star prospect showed just how much of a man he is. He even took to the podium to answer questions from the press.
Kiehl Frazier on move to safety: "That's something I'm really going to embrace."— Ryan Wood (@AUBlog) August 13, 2013
Frazier says he "not at all" blames Scot Loeffler for this change in positions and difficulties from last season— James Crepea (@JamesCrepea) August 13, 2013
Kiehl Frazier: "whoever wins the starting job, the team's going to be in good hands."— John Zenor (@jzenor) August 13, 2013
Frazier said he never thought about transferring. "I love Auburn. ... When I committed here, I committed for four years, maybe five."— WarEagleExtra (@wareagleextra) August 13, 2013
Kiehl, you don't have to tell anybody that you love Auburn. That's made damn clear by your actions. Frazier didn't play well at all in 2012, and he caught more heat than any other player from Auburn fans -- including us -- as the season unfolded. No one could blame him if he decided to cut ties and move on from the Plains. That won't be forgotten.
Now regarding the quarterback race, Wallace may still be in the race, but with Marshall and Johnson the top contenders for the job, it's hard to imagine the sophomore making a come back and winning out. Johnson was apparently the best offensive player in Saturday's scrimmage, but our guess is still that Marshall will earn the job. He's still learning the system, and once the coaches are completely comfortable, he'll be announced. Malzahn didn't say how he would handle Johnson if he finishes No. 2, but it's likely that he'll be redshirted and Wallace will take backup duties.
Malzahn said Marshall and Johnson will split reps 50/50 this week, so look for a possible decision early next week.
A couple of other notes from Monday's practice:
Malzahn says Demetruce McNeal did practice today for the first time— James Crepea (@JamesCrepea) August 12, 2013
Malzahn said he doesn't expect Justin Garrett to be out long. He's "day to day" right now.— Ryan Wood (@AUBlog) August 12, 2013
Good news for the defense. The coaches have praised Robenson Therezie's work at star, but Justin Garrett really looks like a difference maker. Nice to know his foot injury isn't anything too serious.
A note lost in the QB talk: Freshman WR Tony Stevens did not play in scrimmage Saturday but was back at practice today.— Brandon Marcello (@bmarcello) August 13, 2013
Auburn doesn't need any potential contributors at receiver missing time.
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