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Finley 'operated well' in first


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AUBURN, Alabama—When Auburn second-year coach Bryan Harsin talks about what he wants to see from his quarterbacks it starts on the sidelines and includes every little detail involved in getting the correct play called and executed by all 11 players on the field. That’s something that is important to him and it’s something that junior T.J. Finley does a good job with in his second year of the system.

That showed up on Saturday night with Finley playing well and making some key throws on the way to a couple of scoring drives. Connecting with Ja’Varrius Johnson on a big fourth down throw, Finley finished off a drive with a touchdown pass to true freshman Camden Brown during the scrimmage.

It was part of a strong night for him, something Harsin reiterated following the workout.

“Finley operated well tonight,” Harsin said. “That was good to see, and I thought he — we had a long drive on the very first drive with the first group; it was about 14 plays, so he executed well on that drive.”

The first drive came with Finley working against the first team defense. While it ended with three points, it was a sustained drive against a group that should be one of the better units in the Southeastern Conference. Harsin said Finley’s success comes from his attention to detail and preparation.

“He's got a really good understanding of what we're trying to accomplish,” Harsin said. “He listens to those things. I appreciate that. I thought tonight, he was good. Led the team down the field; he executed well when he needed to in some critical moments. Can improve in some of the easier throws we had tonight; don't know if that was him or not. I think there's some things we can improve in those areas in terms of an accuracy standpoint. Overall, I thought he operated well.”

With the quarterback battle amping up following the first scrimmage, unless someone runs away with the job in the coming weeks it will likely come down to which guy does the little things that Harsin and offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau are looking for out of the position. So far it looks like Finley has shown he’s capable of being that guy.

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“I've always been impressed with T.J., just as far as his command,” Harsin said. “He understands. He's very much like a coach on the field. He understands what we're trying to accomplish. He conceptually picks things up very quickly. Listens to the details and all the little nuances of the plays -- what everybody's supposed to be doing. If there's a coaching point made, not just for him but for everybody, he'll remember that coaching point and be able to echo it whenever it comes up -- or remind guys. It doesn't have to be a coach, which you appreciate.”

Auburn will have its second scrimmage of the preseason next Friday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

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“He's got a really good understanding of what we're trying to accomplish,” Harsin said. “He listens to those things. I appreciate that. I thought tonight, he was good. Led the team down the field; he executed well when he needed to in some critical moments. Can improve in some of the easier throws we had tonight; don't know if that was him or not. I think there's some things we can improve in those areas in terms of an accuracy standpoint. Overall, I thought he operated well.”

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i hope tj balls out. he has had a few down on him and i would love to see him take that next step or two. and this is nothing against our other QB's. i even understand fans frustration. hopefully the more he plays the more he learns and the better he gets. it is no secret cal was brought in to lead us and tj is holding his own. i realize this can change quickly.

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Glad TJs stepping up. Haven't seen it mentioned, but last Fall and in the A-Day game he tended to start hot then go ino an extended funk when something goes wrong - even if it's clearly not his fault (incompletion, oline motion penalty, etc). I understand QB rythm and the man has the tools but he needs to shake that trend.

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