War Eagle Extra

Andy Bitter commentary: Auburn welcomes ESPN for inside look at Tigers' quarterback competition

AUBURN, Ala. -- Seeking a better backdrop for his shot, an ESPN cameraman tiptoed behind Kiehl Frazier, wanting to move an eagle statue sitting behind the Auburn quarterback ever so slightly to the side during a group interview.

As another reporter began his question, the cameraman, in a breach of etiquette, shoved the stand with his leg, sending the statue into a wobble before he lunged to steady it.

Frazier looked quizzically behind him before resuming the interview.

Such intrusions will be the norm for Auburn this training camp. Head coach Gene Chizik has allowed ESPN’s camera to take an all-access look at the quarterback battle, part of the network’s ubiquitous “Year of the Quarterback” series that also will feature Oklahoma State and Miami this preseason.

Cameramen will mic up the three competitors for the starting job -- Barrett Trotter, Clint Moseley and Frazier -- throughout camp, sitting in on meetings and getting up close and personal during practices.

For Chizik, the rationale is simple: Gain coveted national exposure when the program, coming off its first national championship since 1957, is red hot.

“I thought it would be good for people on a national level to get some insight into Auburn football,” Chizik said. “I think it’s really good for our recruits to watch the show and say, ‘Wow, this is how it works at this level.’

“So I thought it was a great opportunity to again just kind of get some exposure out there for us and how we do things at Auburn, because we’re very proud about how we do things.”

ESPN couldn’t have picked a much more open race. No frontrunner is clear among Trotter, Moseley and Frazier, with offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn giving no indication when that might change, other than to give vague statements about wanting to decide soon.

Did Chizik worry about infusing an external element into a quarterback battle among three players who, to this point in their career, haven’t done much on a college football field?

“I don’t think any of the outside, external pressures are going to play a role, because they’re all very competitive,” Chizik said. “And when you’ve got that many competitive guys vying for one position, they put all that pressure on themselves.”

The cameras are still in the back of the players’ minds, though. Moseley, known to be a cut-up, said he has toned down his act.

“Not saying that I say anything wrong, but it still makes me think three times about what I say,” he said. “I’m just trying to keep quiet. Normally, I have a little break and I joke around with somebody, but, now, I’m just like, ‘Hmmm, what am I about to say?’ I have to think about it a few times.”

For Frazier, a highly touted 2010 signee out of Springdale, Ark., who went through his first college practice Wednesday, the cameras and microphones weren’t a primary concern.

“Whenever you get in the flow of things, coach Malzahn is yelling at you and you’ve got to do all the line checks and stuff, you don’t really think about the mic,” he said.

But the players still embrace being under the microscope. Moseley, for one, was quick to point out that he hasn’t done much more than get practice reps since signing with Auburn out of the small town of Leroy, Ala., in 2009.

If he wants to be ready to play in front of 90,000 people, this is a good start.

“I mean, as much as you want to say it don’t bother somebody, it’s still something you have to handle,” he said. “That’s good for me. I need that.”

Intrusions and all.

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