War Eagle Extra

Déjà vu? Auburn has to avoid lingering uncertainty at quarterback

Auburn quarterbacks, from left to right, John Franklin III, Jeremy Johnson, Sean White, Woody Barrett and Devin Adams run drills at practice Friday, Aug. 5, 2016 at the university's athletic complex.
Auburn quarterbacks, from left to right, John Franklin III, Jeremy Johnson, Sean White, Woody Barrett and Devin Adams run drills at practice Friday, Aug. 5, 2016 at the university's athletic complex. mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Auburn linebacker Darrell Williams brought a fresh perspective to the team’s quarterback competition after practice Wednesday.

The numbers — the Tigers averaged less than 30 points a game (27.5) and less than 400 yards a game (370) for the first time in the coach Gus Malzahn era — outline the immediate impact of the team’s inconsistency at quarterback, but the sophomore linebacker said it went way beyond any box score.

Williams traced discord in the Tigers’ locker room last year to the lack of leadership at the position.

“A team without a quarterback, there’s no team,” Williams said. “It’s like you can kill a snake with no head. The quarterback is like the head of the team.”

Coaches are working to sort out the three-way competition between Sean White, Jeremy Johnson and junior college transfer John Franklin III, but the Hoover, Alabama native would like to see one of the quarterbacks take the decision out of coaching staff’s hands.

“Everybody has opinions (on who should be the starter), but going through the season last year not knowing who the quarterback, it’s an accountable type thing — like who is going to get the job done?” Williams said. “We don’t care who it is. One of y’all need to step up and be a man, take control of the team.”

Coach Gus Malzahn has emphasized leadership as one of the key intangibles in deciding a competition he still describes as a close one.

“I want to see how the players in the groups react to them as far as their leadership, as far as their energy and their belief,” Malzahn said.

  Comments