Become an 1819 Member
AUBURN — Auburn’s quarterback conundrum continues as the Tigers prepare for the 57th Tiger Bowl this Saturday. With reports of Zach Calzada being done for the year, questions are still being asked about the health of sophomore T.J. Finley.
“The best I can describe is day-to-day,” Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin said when asked about Finley’s health. “He was out there yesterday. It's always going to be that way when guys are coming back from missing a game. But we'll see how he goes today.”
Finley was dressed for the SEC opener on Saturday, but he was only throwing the ball underhanded during warmups and did not play in the game. Calzada was also dressed in full gear on Saturday, but did not participate in any warmups.
With two of his more experienced players seemingly unavailable as Auburn heads into the teeth of its schedule, Harsin has turned to two freshmen, Robby Ashford and Holden Geriner.
Ashford got the start against Missouri, finishing the game with 12 completions on 18 attempts for 127 yards, his best throwing performance of the year.
“I think he's shown tremendous toughness. He's played extremely hard,” Harsin said. “The next step is just really playing the quarterback position of being able to stay in the pocket, you know, deliver the throws and just that really comes from experience.”
A redshirt freshman from Oregon, Ashford was thrust into the spotlight as the offense struggled to start the season, getting his first career start on Saturday.
Ashford’s running ability set him apart in camp, and he has been a huge part of the offense as the offensive line has struggled to establish a more traditional running game. He has earned 204 yards on the ground, averaging 5.2 yards per carry. He is also making strides as a passer.
“I think even in the last game, I thought he did some good things throwing the football,” Harsin said. “I think every single week he's gotten better and better. So I just think the more that he gets an opportunity, the better he's going to be.”
Ashford will probably get his first primetime SEC start when Auburn takes on LSU under the lights of Jordan-Hare Stadium this Saturday at 6 p.m.
Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.