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Summer work paramount for Auburn quarterbacks


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Harsin: Summer work paramount for Auburn quarterbacks

Nathan King
4-5 minutes


Let's Debate: Power vacuum after Mark Emmert steps down, bold NFL Draft predictions and concerns over Ole Miss' spring game


ATLANTA — Bryan Harsin knew a question about his quarterback competition was coming at some point, and he was prepared with a quip. He leaned back in his chair and cracked a smile.

“I told you guys who the starter is, right?” Harsin joked this week.

With spring practices firmly in the rearview mirror, after the A-Day game wrapped things up April 9, the Tigers’ quarterback battle enters a pivotal portion of the offseason.

The individual work and goals this summer will be paramount for T.J. Finley, Robby Ashford, Zach Calzada and Holden Geriner’s preparation when the QB competition resumes in August, Harsin urged.

Post-spring position evaluations ended Tuesday morning. Harsin, along with offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Eric Kiesau, laid out a detailed path for each player to follow this summer in order to stay on the right track, progress and improve upon what was shown to the coaching staff through 15 spring practices.

“Every one of those guys — coming out of my meeting and Coach Kiesau’s meeting — they have a plan,” Harsin said Tuesday, speaking to a couple reporters before an Auburn alumni event in Atlanta. “‘This is what you need to be doing in May. This is what we’re doing in June. This is what you need to get done in July.’ August is going to be a big month; we’ll make a decision in August.

“But, really, what these guys do during the summer is really going to determine where they end up in August.”

Each quarterback’s plan is different, Harsin said, but all are being challenged to maximize their output this summer — when player-run practices and throwing sessions take center stage, with the coaching staff barred from involvement by rule until fall camp.

“In the quarterback position in particular, you can make so many strides in the summer,” Harsin said.

Harsin maintained that he’d like to land on a starter before the season opener against Mercer, as opposed to rotating quarterbacks for the first couple games.

Finley, who started three games last season after Bo Nix’s injury, took the majority of first-team reps this spring — followed by Ashford, a transfer from Oregon who took home offensive MVP honors at A-Day.

Calzada, a Buford, Georgia, native, didn’t participate in the spring game and was limited for most of spring ball while he continues to recover from a shoulder issue. Summer work could be especially important for the Texas A&M transfer, seeing as the three others now have more experience working with the team's receivers and offense as a whole.

Geriner, a four-star true freshman, looks to be on the outskirts of the competition, though he had a strong spring game, going 9-of-11 for 71 yards and a touchdown on the final drive.

“All four of our quarterbacks did a very good job of preparing themselves (in the spring),” Harsin said. “I got to see them every day in practice — there wasn’t one guy out there that was not prepared to operate the offense.

“They weren’t perfect, they made mistakes, they failed — which is exactly what you’d expect, right? They’re trying new things and pushing the envelope.”

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