Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn is not ready to name his starting quarterback for the fall. In Malzahn’s mind, that’s the ideal situation.
Former Baylor quarterback Jarrett Stidham and junior quarterback Sean White are still battling each other for the job, according to Malzahn. Malzahn wouldn’t offer a timetable for giving the nod to either player, but he did share that making that decision sooner rather than later would be ideal.
“I’d just like to say we have quality depth at the quarterback position,” Malzahn said. “That’s been our Achilles’ heel really the last two years. We’re going into fall camp with a plan. (Offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey) has a good plan to really put Jarrett and Sean into some situations to let them compete. We really don’t have a set day or time (to name the starter), but the earlier, the better.”
Stidham played in 10 games for Baylor in 2015, throwing for 1,265 yards and 12 touchdowns. White, meanwhile, has seen action in 18 games the past two years at Auburn. He played in 11 games in 2016, throwing for 1,679 yards and compiling 11 total touchdowns.
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Stidham, who enters Auburn as a sophomore, wowed in his play at Auburn’s spring scrimmage, throwing for 267 yards and adding one rushing touchdown. White did not participate in the game while he recovered from a shoulder injury, creating a consensus that Stidham will be Auburn’s starter come September.
That’s not the case just yet, per Malzahn.
Malzahn said White has earned the respect of his teammates in his time with the team. Stidham, meanwhile, has made quick work at settling in and has impressed Malzahn with his work ethic and leadership skills.
Malzahn said he and Lindsey will make the final decision on the battle and have a good idea about how they’ll go about it. Malzahn said the first five practices of fall camp will focus on installation, but the coaches will chart the quarterbacks’ performances in things such as 7-on-7s and team reps.
Malzahn said the team will have its first scrimmage after about the sixth practice, which will likely be huge in the coaching staff’s final decision.
“I think if you ask our team, they know it’s a legitimate competition,” Malzahn said. “I know our team respects Shaun. He’s earned that. They respect Jarrett. He’s came in and done a very good job from a leadership standpoint and work ethic standpoint. It’s that comfort that you have (as a coach) that we’ve got two guys we feel really, really good about.”