Auburn football: Why TJ Finley is the best option for QB1

Auburn football Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
Auburn football Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports /

The most intriguing storyline regarding Auburn football during this offseason was the quarterback battle that took place on the Plains following the departure of three-year starter Bo Nix. After some shuffling around, Dee Davis transferred out while Robby Ashford and Zach Calzada transferred in.

It was widely thought from the start that Holden Geriner would not be the starter due to his age and inexperience, and his time to step up will be in the next several years. In the same vein, it was also widely thought that Texas A&M transfer Zach Calzada would win the job.

However, coming off a shoulder injury, Calzada’s inconsistency combined with Robby Ashford’s improvements were enough to put the former Aggie in the third spot on the depth chart, narrowing things down to Ashford and Finley.

According to Auburn Live, Finley earned the QB1 job by performing the best at all the intangibles–taking command on the field, showing awareness, and being a good game manager. Head coach Bryan Harsin praised Finley on his “coach’s mentality” after the team’s second fall scrimmage, per Auburn Undercover:

"“T.J.’s got a coach’s mentality,” Harsin said after the team’s second scrimmage. “He sees things out there. Not everybody conceptually picks things up very quickly. It takes a little bit of time. He’s got that mentality. … A couple examples in the scrimmage: We get the play in late; the clock’s running down; it’s going to be a timeout situation. Well, he’s getting everybody lined up and getting the snap count to what it needs to be so we can get the snap up and get the play what we need to be. There’s no panic; he’s just doing it with urgency. He gets everybody lined up then bang, we convert a third down-and-9. So those are things, to me, I think he does a really good job of.”"

Although Finley has solidified his spot as Auburn football’s starting quarterback for the 2022 season opener, Robby Ashford is right on his heels. It is expected that Ashford will get the opportunity to play during the Mercer game, and it’s possible he could give Finley a run for his money.

The bottom line is at this point in time, Finley is clearly the best option at QB1. He has experience in Auburn’s system, he’s spent the whole offseason studying up, and he shows the best command of all the quarterbacks in the room.

Next. Two big questions heading into Week One. dark