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Auburn offense narrowing focus on Sean White, John Franklin III at quarterback

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn on the field before his team played Clemson Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016 at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn on the field before his team played Clemson Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016 at Jordan-Hare Stadium. mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn didn’t offer as vigorous of a defense of the offense’s three quarterback rotation 48 hours removed from his team’s 19-13 loss to Clemson.

On Saturday night, Malzahn denied the near-constant rotations negatively impacted the offense.

He took a much different tone Tuesday afternoon during his weekly press conference going as far to admit the rotations hurt the offense’s tempo.

“Our plan going in was to be aggressive,” Malzahn said. “Our plan was to play all three quarterbacks. We thought it would be successful. Obviously, it wasn't.”

Malzahn had hoped to catch Clemson off guard with some of his decisions, but the defense rarely had an issue with Auburn’s attempt at deception.

“The plan was we were going to throw a lot at them,” Malzahn said. “We felt like all three quarterbacks had some things they could be successful with. We were going to give them a lot to think about. We weren't as successful as I thought we would be with those, but that was the plan. A little unknown right there, throwing a lot at an opponent.”

Malzahn announced — or reaffirmed — Sean White as the team’s starting quarterback with John Franklin getting the No. 2 reps this week in practice.

Malzahn isn’t ready to discuss how big of a role Franklin will have going forward. The main takeaways from the junior college transfer’s debut is that he protected the football and opened up the run game for Kerryon Johnson early in the third quarter.

“I think we’ll just see how the season unfolds,” Malzahn said. “He’s an inexperienced guy. And he got some experience, which I think that’s a bright spot. Now that he’s been out there and he knows how he’s going to react and our coaches know how he’s going to react, we’ll just see how the season unfolds as far as he’s concerned.”

Jeremy Johnson, who played the second most snaps at quarterback in week one, appears to be the odd man out.

“Jeremy will be ready if called upon,” Malzahn said. “Jeremy will be ready if we need him.”

The shaky week overall performance of the offense did little to shake Malzahn’s optimism about the group’s future.

“The takeaway is we played a pretty good defense and the takeaway for me is we have a chance to be a pretty good offense,” Malzahn said. “That is what we are going to continue to strive to be and you’ll see this offense improve.”

Quarterback

Sean White

John Franklin

Jeremy Johnson

Wildcat

1st quarter snaps

4

2

5

0

2nd quarter snaps

3

0

9

0

3rd quarter snaps

12

3

6

3

4th quarter snaps

18

4

0

2

Total snaps (71)

37

9

20

5

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