Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The Works, QB or not QB-style



Well ... what's happening? Apparently, Gus Malzahn is the only one that knows, and he ain't sayin'. Or even implying:
The three healthy scholarship quarterbacks (Burns, Caudle, Trotter) split reps evenly during Saturday's scrimmage.

Offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn says he's grading each quarterback's performance on a daily basis. Those grades apparently are not being shared with the players.
Sigh. Other than the occasional whisper of "Um, I think Burns or Caudle looked a little bit better than usual during the 15 minutes of practice we got to see" from the beat hacks, we're still totally in the dark as to what's going on with the quarterback competition. Frustrating, and apparently not just for us--when all three candidates go on the record saying things like "I'm used to it ... it's not that bad" or "It’s a necessary evil," or "You'd like to know," it's safe to say they're also a little on edge about there still being no defined pecking order. Burns, in particular, has given off plenty of little hints of late he wants to be named the No. 1 guy by the end of spring.

Wait, did I say "little hints"? Nevermind:
“If you have one guy established, you’re going to be that guy,” Burns said. “The No. 1s will go with the No. 1s all the time. It would be a lot easier if you have one guy to get your timing and your cohesiveness down.”
Combine that with Burns's "I will run the ball in this offense" slip last week and, well, we know where Burns things he ought to stand on the depth chart. Not that we haven't expected that from the beginning, but it's more clear than ever that the fallout on Burns's end if he's not the starters might not be fun.

We also have this rather dispiriting quote from ... Curtis Luper?
Luper said nobody has separated himself yet as the starting quarterback, and he's a little bummed about that. "I wish I had somebody step up and say this is my job, but not yet," he said. "When they do, I'll tell you and I'll tell them."
Not sure why Luper would be the person to tell the QBs or the press that particular development, but this is the flip side of the "Malzahn is just being thorough and giving everyone the opportunity" positive attitude: maybe there would be some separation if one of the QBs had played well enough to earn that separation, huh? We learned last year that just because a coach says both quarterbacks are even because they've both been equally outstanding, that might just be hot air. (Not that Malzahn has said anything like this, mind you, but it'll be something to watch for if this drags on.) UPDATE: Bitter apparently meant to say "running back" here instead of "quarterback"--it's since been corrected. Which explains the weirdness of Luper (not really) discussing the QBs ... but the part about no one stepping up? That still stands.

So: patience, yes, but it would probably be a better sign if we weren't all having to be quite so patient.

More news. First, the biggie: Antoine Carter's injury isn't a biggie. Day-to-day stuff. Bummer for him, but it shouldn't make any real difference come August.

Pat Dye's apparently on a permanent "wizened advisor" gig and stopped by to talk to the team. Most impressed? Uh, from the sounds of it, Luper. Forgive me, but when I read that Luper finds "so much wisdom in his words," I have to think things like "what about those words where he admitted he couldn't remember how he lost his pants, wallet inside, in a lake?" But I shouldn't think things like that.

Antonio Coleman is tipping Jake Ricks to be this year's Tez Doolittle, which would obviously be most, most welcome.

At that same (typically comprehensive) link from Bitter, Boulware says both the punting and placekicking jobs remain open, but it seems to be a case of neither Shoemaker nor Durst backing down at punter and no one making a move at kicker. Does anyone really want Chandler Brooks or Morgan Hull as our opening day kicker? Didn't think so. Please please please get it together, Byrum.

I've wondered if Zach Clayton might be a candidate to move back to end with that position as thin as it is (not that DT is much, uh, thicker) but that's not happening:
Auburn has just three healthy scholarship defensive ends – Antonio Coleman, Michael Goggans and redshirt freshman Cameron Henderson.
Zach Clayton has also played end, but has focused on tackle this spring.
Chizik said there are no plans to move anyone to defensive end.
“We haven’t gotten that far simply because we don’t think that’s the issue,” Chizik said. “Antoine is going to be fine.”
Let's all hope so, shall we?

Mario Fannin, you're fired up about your temporary/maybe-not-temporary move to H-back, right?
“It’s kind of like a bittersweet thing,” Fannin said. “It’s kind of sad not getting looks at one position rather than another one, but at the same time it’s worth it.”
Good, glad we've got that cleared up. As that same article makes clear, though, being a Malzahn H-back isn't exactly like being one of Tony Franklin's avalanche of slot receivers: Tulsa's H led the team in receiving yards last year. Still, show of hands, is there anyone who really wants Mario Fannin moved out of the backfield entirely? Anyone? No? OK, that's what I expected. Fingers crossed Luper's not kidding when he says Fannin will find his way back to tailback sooner rather than later.

Andrew McCain is pretty well entrenched as your right tackle at the moment, though man, you can't say Chizik seems excited about the possibilities that brings, can you?

Represent! Friends of the Program brings you an uplifting tale of one LSU fan determined to overcome the painful stereotype of Bayou Bengal fans as the SEC's loudest, most obnoxious fans-slash-hooligans on his trip to Georgia's Foley Field. Except by "overcome," what I mean is "live up to in the fullest possible fashion":



Keep reaching for the stars, LSU fans! (HT: GSB.)

Baseball. They downed Georgia St. last night via ... wait for it ... home runs. (You're shocked, I know.) Plainsman Parking Lot takes the time to look at how the program's alums are faring, not just in the majors, but Triple-A. Well worth a read.

Etc. Lane Kiffin takes the highly unusual and pathetic step of cold-calling a reporter to offer an unsolicited interview ... Fields of Donahue has some thoughts on Chizik's closed practice philosophy, thoughts that ultimately veer towards "supportive" ... the Auburn men's swim team celebrated their national championship by rolling a tree that wasn't at Toomer's, 'cause when you're that bad-ass, you can roll whatever the hell tree you want ... Braves and Birds examines who's really the team of the decade in college football, or rather who might be pending this year's results.

Aaaaaand finally ... Everyone offer their congratulations to JCCW commenter Jonesy, who pulled out a narrow victory in the inaugural JCCW Bracket Challenge when Carolina eviscerated Michigan St. and consigned the state of Michigan to economic apocalypse. Jonesy, e-mail me and we'll discuss your disappointing reward.

5 comments:

jd said...

That LSU fan picture is magical. I can't stop laughing. What a go-getter he must be.

jrsuicide said...

i have been that obnoxious fan before...

Ben said...

"Forgive me, but when I read that Luper finds "so much wisdom in his words," I have to think things like "what about those words where he admitted he couldn't remember how he lost his pants, wallet inside, in a lake?" But I shouldn't think things like that."

That's right. How dare you cast a disparaging light on an Auburn Man and legend. *vigorous fingerwag*

Anonymous said...

You have Luper misquoted. He was saying that none of the running backs have stepped up, not the quarterbacks.

Luper said nobody has separated himself yet as the starting running back, and he's a little bummed about that. "I wish I had somebody step up and say this is my job, but not yet," he said. "When they do, I'll tell you and I'll tell them."

Jerry Hinnen said...

Anon., that's on Bitter. I just cut-and-pasted the blockquote out of his post, which means he must have realized his mistake and fixed it. It helps explain why Luper was talking about QB's, in any case.