Malzahn: Auburn QB battle unlikely to be settled in spring
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) Auburn's quarterback competition during the spring will likely be minus injured incumbent Sean White, which means coach Gus Malzahn expects the battle to continue until fall camp.
The Tigers came into spring practice starting Tuesday with new offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey divvying snaps among five quarterbacks, including former Baylor starter Jarrett Stidham. Malzahn didn't rule White out from participating in the spring but he'll at least start on the sidelines.
White, who has started 16 games over the past two seasons, broke his right forearm early in a Sugar Bowl loss to Oklahoma.
''He's done a few things with the trainers, and he's tried to throw some things,'' Malzahn said. ''We're going to make sure we're smart. The thing about Sean is, we have a lot of information about him and he's a veteran guy. We're going to make sure he's healthy before we get rolling. He'll stay right there with Chip and we'll make sure that he doesn't miss anything. He'll be in all of the meetings and all that.''
That leaves much of the attention on Stidham in a competition that starts out crowded. Stidham started 10 games for Baylor as a freshman and spent last fall at McLennan Community College, which doesn't have a football program.
Of the other contenders, only John Franklin III has any college experience. Franklin was used more in a Wildcat role last season, and Malzahn said he's willing to move to another position but opens at quarterback.
Redshirt freshman Woody Barrett, sophomore Tyler Queen and mid-year enrollee Malik Willis are also trying to remain in the mix.
Without a healthy White, Malzahn doesn't expect to be able to name a starter based on the spring.
''I doubt that very seriously, but at the same time Chip will have a recommendation and we'll go from there,'' he said.
Lindsey, who was Arizona State's offensive coordinator in 2016, and the Tigers are trying to jump-start a passing game that has sputtered the past three seasons.
Quarterback remains the biggest offensive question mark for Auburn, which has had posted back-to-back 8-5 records. Stidham was rated the nation's top junior college prospect in the 247Sports composite rankings. He had been expected to back up Seth Russell last season before leaving Baylor.
His roommate, H-back Chandler Cox, said Stidham has fit in well with the team and has been diligently studying the offense.
''I go in there and he's always watching film,'' Cox said. ''Every single day he's watching film whether it's for an hour or two hours. He's a good kid and has a good head on his shoulders. He really wants to compete and help this team out. I'm excited for him and excited about him. I'm just glad he chose Auburn.''
NOTES: Reserve safety Markell Boston is no longer with our team. Receiver Darius Slayton had hernia surgery and will return for the post-spring break practices. Fellow receiver Kyle Davis ''is taking care of some personal business,'' Malzahn said, and is expected back by spring break. ... Starting guard Braden Smith will open spring at right tackle. ... Former tight ends/special teams coach Scott Fountain will remain with Auburn as an analyst if he's unable to land an on-the-field job elsewhere before next season, Malzahn said. Fountain had been relieved of his on-field duties.
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