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No pecking order in Auburn’s quarterback competition

Auburn quarterback Jeremy Johnson practices on Friday, Aug. 5, 2016 at the university's athletic complex.
Auburn quarterback Jeremy Johnson practices on Friday, Aug. 5, 2016 at the university's athletic complex. mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn isn’t sure when he will name a quarterback for the team’s opener against Clemson at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

With two weeks until kick off he isn’t even sure when he will narrow the competition down to two quarterbacks.

“It’s too good of a competition,” Malzahn said after practice Saturday. “We are going to let those guys compete a little longer and see what happens.”

Sean White, Jeremy Johnson and John Franklin III rotated reps with the first team offense during Auburn’s two-week training camp. Malzahn hoped to shift reps towards two of the quarterbacks this week as the team started preparing for Clemson, but held off eliminating one of the competitors.

“I’m not quite there yet, but that’s not a bad thing once again there is really good competition,” Malzahn said. “You can tell the intensity as it gets a little bit closer gets different each day, which I think is good.”

Malzahn is adamant he’s still evaluating the competition with an open mind despite months of offseason workouts and 30-plus practices from spring into fall.

“If there was a pecking order I’d say these two right here are battling it out right now,” Malzahn said.

While many players would like for the coaching staff to end the ongoing uncertainty at quarterback, others are trying to keep it out of their minds.

“For us, as an offense, everybody had their role or their job,” offensive lineman Alex Kozan said. “On every play, all 11 have to execute, all 11 have to do their individual job. All of us are focused on doing what we can. Once Coach Malzahn decides who that guys is, we'll plug him in and get that cohesion on offense.”

Malzahn wants to avoid walking up on Sept. 3 without having announced a starter — calling it an “ideal” scenario — but can’t shut the door on a game time decision.

“It's definitely a positive if you can do that,” Malzahn said. “That'll more than likely be what we will do. That's what we've been shooting for but right now it is what it is.”

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