The “quarterback guru” label has been placed on George Whitfield Jr. in recent years after he worked with Heisman Trophy winners like Cam Newtown, Robert Griffin and Johnny Manziel.
There has been mutual interest expressed for Whitfield to work with Heisman winner Jameis Winston in the future and according to Al.com, Whitfield has also expressed interest in working with Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall over the summer. The speedy Marshall led Auburn to the BCS Championship Game last season and will be a senior next season.
Despite Whitfield having a proven track record, Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn does not want Marshall to work with him while he still has eligibility, and understandably so.
“We’ve never had anyone work with our quarterbacks while they still had eligibility,” Malzahn said to Al.com on Friday. “We feel really good about how we go about it and the success we’ve had before. There won’t be anyone working with our quarterbacks until their eligibility is exhausted.”
Marshall started his career as a cornerback at Georgia before being kicked off the team. After a year playing quarterback at Garden City Community College in Kansas, Marshall transferred to Auburn with the hopes of continuing to play quarterback.
Marshall’s maneuverability and speed helped him fit seamlessly into Malzahn’s up-tempo, run-first offense, and he eventually won the starting job heading into the season. Malzahn wants Marshall to be on the same page with his Auburn coaches as he heads into his final year in college.
“You want them (quarterbacks) thinking exactly like you want them to think,” Malzahn said. “When you get multiple people working, there’s multiple thoughts, so we want them thinking one way.”
Marshall threw for 1,976 yards and 14 touchdowns as a junior but only completed 59.4 percent of his passes. He also ran for 1,068 yards and 12 touchdowns, but I think it’s fair to say he’ll need to improve his passing efficiency if he hopes to pursue a career as a pro quarterback.
“You’re seeing flashes with some of those throws,” Whitfield told Al.com. “He’s with, arguably, one of the best quarterback coaches on the planet with what coach Malzahn has done and what he can do with different body types, different models of guys.”
Marshall threw more and more as the season progressed, and Malzahn said you could see his confidence improve as a thrower.
“You can see that as the year went on. I know coach (Rhett) Lashlee is real excited about that and so hopefully we’ll be able to be a little bit more progressive in spring,” Malzahn said.
Auburn made its run to the national title game because of its ability to run the ball, so I can see why Malzahn wouldn’t want someone with different philosophies from outside the program to influence how Marshall runs the offense. Marshall’s improved passing capabilities will just be an added bonus for the Tigers.
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