Why Hugh Freeze said he wonders if Auburn football's 2023 quarterback is already on campus

MONTGOMERY — Auburn football coach Hugh Freeze has various goals with spring practice approaching, and chief among them is to figure out who his starting quarterback is.

Auburn returns three quarterbacks who played last season, including Robby Ashford, who started the final nine games. T.J. Finley started the first three, and sophomore Holden Geriner played against Missouri in his true freshman season.

"I want to see who the quarterback is," Freeze said after speaking at the 18th annual Alabama Football Coaches Association Convention. "Do we have him on campus? I don't know that yet. I think that room's got to grow up. I think they've got to grow up and decide if they truly want to be a quarterback. And if so, then they're going to have to take hard coaching from me. I coach that spot really, really hard.

"But I've been honest with them and told them that. It's not personal, it's not anything, but when I watched the tapes from last year, I see that we've got to grow up in that room and understand what it means to be an SEC quarterback at a place like Auburn. And do you really want that to be a part of you?

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"I'm excited about working with them. I think they're excited about having a clean slate and let's see. Hey, forget the past. I don't care what they say about you. I don't care what they're saying. If you're caring about what they said about you (then) you're off to a bad start. ... You better get your mind right and cleared because I can help you. (Offensive coordinator) Philip (Montgomery) can help you. Kent Austin can help you. But you better start it right, and that's the mentality of how I'm approaching (it). Forgetting what lies behind and let's go."

Freeze has coached a number of successful quarterbacks, most notably Malik Willis at Liberty from 2020-21. Willis went on to get drafted by the Tennessee Titans in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft after he threw for 5,107 yards and 47 touchdowns with the Flames. He also rushed for 1,822 yards with 27 touchdowns.

The Tigers have not added a transfer quarterback this offseason, but lost Zach Calzada (Incarnate Wood) and former walk-on Trey Lindsey (Albany) to the portal.

Ashford expressed how excited he was to work with Freeze when the former Ole Miss coach was hired, saying their pairing is "going to be deadly."

Richard Silva is the Auburn athletics beat writer for the Montgomery Advertiser. He can be reached via email at or on Twitter @rich_silva18.

This article originally appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: Hugh Freeze: Is 2023 Auburn football quarterback already on campus?