Auburn football head coach Hugh Freeze likes what he has seen from the three quarterbacks competing for the Tigers’ starting signal-caller job so far in spring practice, telling reporters as much during a March 14 press conference. “Love what we’re doing,” Freeze said about the three-man troika of Robby Ashford, TJ Finley, and Holden Geriner. “I think they love our approach to coaching them. We’re rotating them, giving them all the same, equal opportunities.”
Thus far, all three QBs have been getting first-team reps to determine who is ready for the starting role. After previously having a harsh assessment of the QB room, Freeze is starting to see positive progress. He did call out the negatives as well, though.
“There was some good things and there were some not so good things,” Freeze said. “And it’s the not too good things, can we get more consistent at doing the better things. And three practices is really not enough, but I’ve seen some good things from all three.”
Auburn football head coach Hugh Freeze talks alignment
Alignment is a very popular term associated with Auburn football and Auburn University athletics across the board. In context, it typically relates to the boosters, AD, and head coach having a uniform thought process in regards to recruiting and hiring for coordinators and support staff roles.
In the context Freeze used the term on March 14, the new Tigers coach was referring to the players being aligned in offensive and defensive schemes. “Alignment, assignment and effort,” Freeze said. “Are we aligned correctly? We had a lot of those issues in practices one, two and three on both sides. Are we doing the right assignment and are we doing it with the right effort? And if we’re doing our job as coaches, that should be improving from practice to practice to practice. Some of the stuff that we see in the first three hopefully diminishes some.”
Leaders must arise on both sides of the ball to achieve alignment for Auburn football
There were several keys losses to the Auburn football roster following the conclusion of the 2022 season, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. Derick Hall, Colby Wooden, and Tank Bigsby were all leaders of their position groups, but are all NFL-bound now.
Jarquez Hunter is a natural successor to Bigsby given his experience as a producer, Marcus Harris and Jayson Jones have the chance to do so as upperclassmen on the offensive line, and Cam Riley and Wesley Steiner were active enough tackling to warrant respect from the LB room.
Perhaps those won’t be the leaders and transfers like Mosiah Nasili-Kite (Maryland), Elijah McAlister (Vanderbilt), or Austin Keys (Ole Miss) could step up in their first season on the Plains. Maybe there’s a freshman on the roster who will shock the world and lead the charge.
Either way, leadership is needed for these groups to keep guys in line and to achieve that elusive alignment Freeze is after.