Well, that was a bit anti-climatic.
After months of speculation over who would win Auburn’s starting quarterback job in 2011, it ended up being the guy everyone assumed would win it.
Barrett Trotter, who spent all of last season as the back-up to a Heisman winner, used his three years of living and breathing the Guz Malzahn system to fend of a strong challenge from Clint Moseley and Kiehl Frazier. Trotter appeared in mop up duty in five games in 2010 and is the only quarterback on the roster to attempt a pass at the college level. Experience is relative.
Despite the news being anti-climatic, the announcement was anything but anti-dramatic. Moseley, who was reportedly neck and neck with Trotter throughout the spring and summer, took the news that he would not be behind center against Utah State hard. Very hard. While he showed a lot of maturity in even speaking to the media last Thursday night, he had a difficult time keeping his composure and cut the interviews short, the words “the biggest disappointment of my life” lingering in the air.
It isn’t difficult to understand why he felt the way he felt. This was essentially Moseley’s best and possibly last chance to become Auburn’s starting quarterback. Trotter is just a junior; a line of highly touted prospects in true freshman Frazier and 2012 commitment Zeke Pike forms in the wings. Losing out must feel like a door slamming shut, especially immediately after Gene Chizik and Gus Malzahn broke the news.
Players and coaches have since spoken about the difficult decision, about how hard it is to see a player and teammate go through what Moseley has gone through after working so hard for the opportunity to lead the team. Fans have alternately viewed the news —excitement for Trotter and sympathy for Moseley. Some have expressed disappointment in Moseley’s emotional reaction and feel that a more “team first” attitude should have been diplayed, that Moseley missed his chance at a Kodi Burns Moment.
With the difficult road ahead of the Tigers this season, there’s still the chance that the newly named back-up will see action. Trotter has a history of knee injuries; Moseley will be just a play away from seeing the field, as they say. His preparation and attitude throughout the rest of pre-season practice and into the season can show his teammates that he’s still capable of leading them if called on.
Even if he never sees the field, he can make the team better by continuing to push Trotter everyday in practice. If he does, and if he maintains the fun-loving approach that has apparently made him a favorite among teammates, he can still have his Moseley Moment. The door on his career as a starting quarterback at Auburn may have been closed for the time being, but his ultimate role on this year’s team and beyond is yet to be determined.
In the meantime, this is Trotter’s team. Time for everyone, including Moseley, to get on board.
Riley Downing graduated from Auburn in 1999 and moved to the Washington, D.C. area, where he has been stuck ever since. He makes the most of his long daily commute and forfeits sleep in an attempt to keep up with everything Auburn and cling to his brief moment on The Plains. Follow him on Twitter—@FearlessandTrue.
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