AUBURN — It is the Monday before SEC football begins for the Auburn Tigers, and the quarterback situation appears to be open according to head coach Bryan Harsin.
The seesaw between T.J. Finley and Robby Ashford leveled out during Saturday’s loss to Penn State when each quarterback threw 19 passes.
The "or" on the depth chart has been removed once again, and it appears T.J. Finley will get the start against Missouri, but Harsin did not name an official starter.
"We'll let guys compete this week. It's Monday, you know, we haven't decided that,” Harsin said when asked about naming Finley the starter. “Through the week of practice, it'll be decided, but we'll let guys compete and put the best guys out there on Saturday to go play.”
This has been pretty consistent since the Mercer game for Harsin and the offense, which does have some question marks after Finley and Ashford struggled on Saturday, combining for three turnovers and just one touchdown.
One player in question is Texas A&M transfer Zach Calzada. Calzada joined Auburn in the spring and seemed to be the front-runner to be the starter in the offseason before Finley took control near the end of camp.
Calzada was seen on the sidelines warming up on Saturday, but he has not seen the field in the orange-and-blue.
“You know something I don't know?” Harsin said when asked about Calzada’s health. “He's competed like everybody else. Those guys, you know, every single week those guys get opportunities, and we try to play the best players. You know, and again, that's what happens from Sunday through Friday.”
The junior quarterback from College Station threw for 2,185 yards and 17 touchdowns last season for the Aggies, along with nine interceptions.
Despite the uncertainty at the position, Austin Troxell and the rest of the offensive line remains focused on improving upon Saturday’s struggles.
“No matter who's back there, our job is to protect them. That's all we can do,” Troxell said. “Our job is just to give them a clean pocket, and they deliver the ball. We don't really pay much attention to anything else other than that.”
The offensive line gave up six sacks and nine quarterback hurries during Saturday’s loss against Penn State.
The competition at practice with the quarterbacks is something that is consistent with the entire team and an idea that Harsin has been promoting since the season began.
“Guys are still competing. This is not a set team,” Harsin said. “You got to let guys compete. And we didn't play up to our standard, or what we thought we were capable of doing.”
Auburn will be looking to bounce back against Missouri this Saturday, Sept. 24, with an 11 a.m. CST kickoff inside Jordan-Hare Stadium.
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