AUBURN — Eric Kiesau’s message to the quarterbacks ahead of the start of Auburn’s football preseason practice was simple: It’s not about lingering there for several days.
It’s a short “camp”. Earning a starting job begins on Day 1, the offensive coordinator said.
Journalists were given access to five periods of the first preseason practice, which featured crucial first reps in the 2022 quarterback competition.
With Oregon transfer Robby Ashford and freshman Holden Geriner taking part in a separate “rookie” workout to split reps evenly, TJ Finley and Zach Calzada were the two stock quarterbacks alternating reps at the main drive.
Here’s what we learned.
Auburn quarterback competition Day 1
Finley and Calzada worked on fundamentals such as pace and transfers in the first half we saw. Nothing substantial. Then they threw running backs, working mostly on fast-angle routes out of the backfield. They worked on dodging defensive tackles to avoid a sack before making throws. Footwork was solid through both quarterbacks.
In another session, they threw tight-end corner lanes. Finley and the walk-ons tried to throw their throws with more back-of-the-shoulder touch – Finley missed one to John Samuel Shenker – while Calzada’s throws had more speed and speed.
This also became clear in other drills, especially when throwing fast back lanes to receivers. The Texas A&M transfer was inconsistent with accuracy, but he clearly has the stronger arm. Finley also struggled to hit his target a few times. He threw a perfect post to Ze’Vian Capers towards the end of the session, but then badly missed an out to Ja’Varrius Johnson.
Calzada has to control his speed sometimes, otherwise his throws can hit a target’s head. But when he hits a receiver in the hands, it’s almost always a clean, easy-to-catch ball.
It’s clear that the positional squad as a whole needs some work, but that’s what these weeks of pre-season training are for.
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Meanwhile, coach Bryan Harsin has made it clear that his roster will be split between two practices on Friday – so take that with a grain of salt – but here are the first and second team infractions, including some repeat participants.
First team attack
QC: TJ Finley.
RB: Bigsby Reservoir.
WR: Shedrick Jackson, Tar’Varish Dawson, Malcolm Johnson Jr.
AND : John Samuel Shenker.
OL (from left to right): Kilian Zierer, Kam Stutts, Nick Brahms, Keiondre Jones, Austin Troxell.
Second team attack
QC: Zach Calzada.
RB: Jarquez hunter.
WR: Koy Moore, Ja’Varrius Johnson, Ze’Vian Capers.
AND : Tyler Fromm.
OL (from left to right): Kilian Zierer, Council of Brandon, Tate Johnson, Alec Jackson, Austin Troxell.
Calzada also stayed on the court for a third set, taking reps with a variation of the first-team attack. It was otherwise the same, except for Jackson replaced by Zierer at left tackle, Sean Jackson for Bigsby in the backfield, and Luke Deal for Shenker at tight end.