Continuing in our series of teasers for a TWER-related project we’ll soon go into in greater detail, we put the greatest personnel question facing 2011 Auburn football to a roundtable of TWER friends and contributors…
Who starts at quarterback this season— Barrett Trotter? Clint Moseley? Kiehl Frazier? Cam Newton’s vapor trail?
Jerry Hinnen: The specter of Russell Wilson is going to haunt this question until he makes a decision one way or another—Chizik had pointedly not ruled out bringing the former N.C. State standout in—but the odds-on favorite still has to be Barrett Trotter. Trotter knows the offense, has both the arm and mobility to make it work, and beat out both Clint Moseley and Neil Caudle for the backup job last season. He can do the job, and will probably have the chance to prove it.
But the emphasis there is on “probably.” The flirtation with Wilson shows me that whatever they might say to the press, Malzahn and Chizik aren’t 100 percent confident in Trotter’s ability to get the most out of the offense. Which is why I’m also expecting either Moseley or Kiehl Frazier to get a long look at some point this season—if their immediate ceiling is higher than Trotter’s, putting them on the field may be the only way to find out.
Van Allen Plexico: Barrett Trotter starts at quarterback and plays all season. He turns in a Chris Todd-like performance (but with more arm strength for the deep throws). The only circumstance under which I envision another QB starting is if Trotter is hurt and has to miss a game or two.
Justin Lee: Going into fall camp, the odds-on favorite to earn the nod in the opener against Utah State has to be Barrett Trotter. But there’s a reason the coaching staff didn’t name a starter during and after spring drills, and there’s a number of things that could happen. Clint Moseley will have another shot at landing the starting role in the fall, and Chizik has said that newcomers like Kiehl Frazier will be given their fair shake. And, of course, with this coaching staff there’s no telling when a superstar transfer or something equally groundbreaking could shake the entire complexion of the offense.
However, as of right now it appears that Barrett Trotter is most suited to the task at hand in 2011. Clint Moseley has a vast understanding of the Malzahn system, while Kiehl Frazier has all of the physical tools; Barrett Trotter, meanwhile, has a little bit of both.
Will Collier: Not having seen any of them practice, I’ll default to the guy with the most experience (such as it is) and say Barrett Trotter. He looked more in control of the offense than Clint Moseley at A-Day… but then again, A-Day is notoriously non-predictive, so that particular observation is hardly worth the paper it’s printed on.
Kenny Smith: Barrett Trotter or Kiehl Frazier. Russell Wilson is still out there, but is also flirting with Wisconsin among other suitors. His problem at NC State was divided attention between football and minor league baseball. Picking up Gus Malzahn’s offense (and SEC defenses) will need a bit more focus than he was willing to give the Wolfpack. So it will be Trotter, who’s waited his turn and has many of the provable skills, or a surprising win by the highly touted Frazier, fresh out of high school.
Ben Bartley: No reason to doubt Trotter gets the call to begin the year. He is more experienced, paid more dues, trailed behind Gus longer, etc. Pretending I’m an oracle with a magical glass orb capable of seeing future events: Trotter gets injured against Mississippi State. Nothing major, bum shoulder, broken ankle, maybe a reinjuring of his knee. Moseley is installed late in the game, a game which Auburn loses, in part because of a bad interception stemming from a poor decision by Moseley. He starts against Clemson and is ineffectual in an Auburn loss. Frazier gets a serious look in the week leading up to Florida Atlantic. The two rotate in a breezy victory. Frazier, however, looks comfortable and capable. He starts against South Carolina and leads Auburn to a close win in Columbia. Frazier starts the remainder of the games. Auburn finishes 9-3 with a surprise victory against Alabama and enters the 2012 season ranked in the top five. Hurray!
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