With six quarterbacks on scholarship at the start of fall practice (assuming Tyrik Rollison and Clint Moseley qualify and clear the NCAA Clearinghouse), you would expect Auburn to have some depth at the position. Appearances are quite deceiving in this case. Anyone who has watched the Tigers play the last three years can vouch that Auburn has nothing more than numbers heading into the fall. With spring practices come and gone without a starter being named, it can only lead you to believe that we are struggling at that position. Coach Chizik has stated that a starter will not be announced until late August which leads me to believe that the true freshman's are going to receive more than a courtesy look.
If Tyrik Rollison comes in and is able to compete and be remotely close production wise to what Kodi Burns and Neil Caudle has been with the 15 practice head start, then I believe Tyrik should be named the starter. My reasons you ask, well they are simple. First off is that this year is not going to be a championship type year for our Auburn Tigers and secondly, it provides street cred with future recruits. I am trying to not discount Clint Moseley, but I believe he has redshirt written all over him, and with this offensive line, we are going to need someone more mobile.
Auburn has not named a true freshman starting quarterback since Gabe Gross took the reigns in the 1998 season. There is a reason that true freshmen do not start, especially in the SEC and that is the lack of championships. The last true freshman to lead his team to an SEC Championship would be...get back to me when you come up that answer, I'm pretty sure it hasn't happened in my lifetime, but I could be wrong. The list of first time starters to win championships is limited, but there are some notable ones: DJ Shockey (Senior) with Georgia in 2005, Rex Grossman (RS-Freshman) with Florida in 2000, Tee Martin (Junior) with Tennessee (Also won National Championship) and technically Danny Wuerffel (Sophomore) with Florida in 1994 even though he played some in the 1993 Championship season. Out of that list, only Danny Wuerffel saw significant playing time during his freshman year, which still proves what I am trying to say, and that is that first time qb's that win championships in the SEC usually have experience before they are completely handed the reigns by either playing sparingly or being in a system long enough to understand it. With all that being said, I think this is perfect timing for Rollison to step in and be the starting quarterback, because he will gain valuable playing experience this year when things will more than likely be rough and be ready to be that Championship QB in 2010 or 2011. If Kodi Burns or Neil Caudle as Junior's are not much better than Tyrik Rollison as a true freshman, then why have either one them start the next two years to only have to go thru the typical learning progression of a rookie qb when the talent that possibly surrounds him could be Championship quality. It would be nice to have a veteran QB leading the Tigers in three years versus a redshirt Sophomore or true Junior and it would allow Auburn to possibly make a Championship run.
The second benefit of playing Rollison as a true freshman is getting the needed street cred to help push some more high profile recruits Auburn's way. Playing true freshman is always a good selling point to future prospects and if Auburn is willing to play a true freshman as a quarterback, then Auburn is willing to play anybody given that they are good enough to play, and that is all that kids these days are wanting to hear and searching for.
Thanks for giving me your time for my two cents on the matter and please keep checking back for future posts. Feel free to leave comments in the comment section.