Malzahn: 'The earlier, the better' on QB competition

Bryan Matthews, Senior Editor
Auburn Sports

HOOVER | The competition for Auburn’s starting quarterback won’t drag on too long into preseason drills. At least that’s Gus Malzahn’s plan going in.

“We really don’t have a set time but the earlier the better,” Malzahn said. “We’re going to let both those guys compete.”

Malzahn said he and offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey will choose the starter together. Sophomore Jarrett Stidham, a Baylor transfer, took all of the first-team reps during spring.

Junior Sean White, who was limited in spring as he recovered from a broken arm, has started 16 career games.

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Robin Conn/AuburnSports.com

“We’ve got a good plan to really put Jarrett and Sean in some situations to let them compete,” Malzahn said. “(Stidham) is a talented guy. A lot of people think very highly of him. Internally, we’ve got a lot of guys that have a lot of respect for Sean and he’s earned that. When he’s been healthy he’s proved that he can be one of the better quarterbacks in our league.

“Our team has respect for both those guys. Our team wants to win. Our team does know we have quality depth at that position and that gives everybody comfort.”

Auburn players will officially report on July 30 with practice starting the following day. The first five preseason practices will be mostly install but both quarterbacks will have an opportunity to compete during individual, 7-on-7 and team drills.

The sixth or seventh practice will be a scrimmage, which will be the first big test for both Stidham and White.

“We’ll make sure we’re right,” Malzahn said. “The positive is we’ve got two guys we feel very good about and we’ve got Malik Willis, a young guy that has a chance to be very good too.

“We have quality depth at the quarterback position. I think that’s a big thing. That’s been our Achilles heel, really the last two years.”

Malzahn named White the starting quarterback on Aug. 25 last fall, nine days before the season-opener against Clemson. He rotated White with two other quarterbacks in a 19-13 loss.

“It will be earlier than last year. There is no doubt,” Malzahn said.

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