So is it possible to make the call after 14 more practices? Don’t count on it.
“I doubt that. I doubt that very seriously, but at the same time Chip will have a recommendation and we’ll go from there.”
When he’s had a competition, Malzahn has named a starting quarterback at the end of spring practice just twice in his college coaching career, in 2010 with Cam Newton and 2015 with Jeremy Johnson. Over the past decade, both Malzahn’s personal history as well as Auburn’s has been for quarterback battles to carry into fall camp.
Still, a five-man field is not expected to last long into spring.
Stidham has fit in “just fine,” according to his roommate Chandler Cox, who said the former Baylor quarterback is constantly in the film room.
Malzahn admitted it’s not realistic and given Tyler Queen’s lack of playing time and that Malik Willis is a true freshman, their candidacies are the most likely to be short-lived. Even returning backup John Franklin III is only being assured one more practice at quarterback, with a position change sounding increasingly likely.
Woody Barrett has an appealing physical skill set but also lacks experience and seems to be a long shot, at best, but should stay in the rotation as to be a viable third option as offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey installs his offense and evaluates Auburn’s personnel.
“I would say it’s probably a little more accelerated pace to evaluate the quarterbacks,” Malzahn said. “The goal is after the first week that Chip will have a good idea of at least their talent and where they’re at from an experience or mental standpoint so he can make some decisions to start repping just a handful of guys instead of five. That’s by design.
“At the same time, he’s coming into this thing new and he wants to give everybody a chance to compete, to win jobs. That’s his approach.”