Jeffrey Whitaker struggled to adequately describe what he had just seen out of fellow freshman Trovon Reed as a Wildcat quarterback during Auburn’s second scrimmage Saturday.
“I guess it’s something in the water down there in Louisiana,” Whitaker said of the bayou-born Reed. “I don’t know, man. He’s fast.”
Reed drew universal praise following Saturday’s scrimmage at Jordan-Hare Stadium after missing the first one because of a recurrence of a high school knee injury.
“If you ask for one guy, I thought Trovon stood out,” Auburn head coach Gene Chizik said.
The 6-foot, 181-pound freshman ran routes as a receiver, had a nice run on a reverse, fielded punts and, from all accounts, shined as the team’s Wildcat quarterback in the scrimmage, which was more run-based than the first one.
“The kid’s explosive,” wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor said. “He can make some plays.”
“Trovon made some electrifying plays that were pretty spectacular, making something out of nothing,” center Ryan Pugh said.
Reed, who drew praise early in camp, didn’t participate in the first scrimmage. He tweaked a partial MCL tear he suffered at Thibodaux (La.) High, which appears to be a temporary setback that limited him for a few practices.
“Coach Troop always tells me that pain is just pain, but when you’re injured you’re really injured,” Reed said. “When you have pain you can play with pain, so I just played through it.”
When he’s on the field, all signs point to Reed being a game-changer. That he’s worked a lot with No. 1 quarterback Cam Newton should be an indicator that coaches have playing time in mind for him this season. It’s simply a matter of finding him snaps.
Reed has worked behind Terrell Zachery at one of the outside receivers spots. But displacing the senior in the starting lineup is a tall task.
Zachery played in all 13 games last year, mostly as a starter, and showcased a big-play ability. He had nine plays that went for 30 yards or more and averaged 49.2 yards per touchdown catch.
Still, Reed seems like a natural for the Wildcat quarterback job Kodi Burns had last year. Burns thrived early in the role but found fewer holes as the season progressed and defenses scouted the formation.
Reed played quarterback his final three years at Thibodaux and, at two inches smaller and 26 pounds lighter, is a quicker, shiftier runner than Burns, which is more in line with the position.
So far coaches haven’t committed to a Wildcat quarterback role or playing time for the freshman, but Reed isn’t concerned about it.
“I’m not sure about an impact, but hopefully I can help the team,” he said. “I’ve just got to play my role. Whatever the role coach gives me, if it’s just go out there and be a decoy, I’ve got to go out there and be a decoy and do it 100 percent.”