Auburn football has had its ups and downs thus far in 2023; just as many expected in Year 1 of the Hugh Freeze era. The issue is that a large portion of the Auburn football fanbase expected greatness this season and that has not happened.
Blaming Bryan Harsin for under-recruitment across the depth chart is a legitimate gripe to a degree, but doing so underscores every player on the roster. Every Tiger that suited up in 2023 wanted to play their best and contribute to the team winning.
But not everyone has.
Auburn football players who have disappointed in 2023
The Hoover native Robby Ashford didn’t win the starting job in 2023, but he was promised a substantial role in a two-quarterback system. Thus far, his presence under center has been disruptive to Payton Thorne, and the limited snaps he does get don’t lead to sustained drives he can create anything during due to Thorne being inserted back in when momentum is built.
It’s almost as if Freeze has been deploying Ashford in limited snaps as to keep the fanbase satisfied with seeing him “get a chance.” There is some scuttlebutt — unconfirmed rumors as of now — that Ashford is part of disharmony behind the scenes; with a preference for a certain position coach over Freeze being the primary culprit.
We hope for it not to be true, but if it is, it could explain a lot of the unexplainable decision-making in a severely underperforming QB room.
Speaking of AU’s underperforming QB room, there’s Thorne; who is looking improved, but had one of the roughest stretches of QB play from Week 5 to Week 8 the program has seen in almost a decade.
Thorne turned the corner against Mississippi State, but that was against a defense incomparable to any meaningful SEC school the Tigers would need to beat to win the conference or clinch a College Football Playoff berth.
Camden Brown was a receiver who came into Auburn football with huge hype and expectations. When Brown came aboard under Harsin, many were hoping that he could become a top receiving option for the offense.
That just hasn’t been the case. Too often he is a nonfactor on offense, and with the lack of a big arm under center, you would hope that you could have receivers that could make big plays for them. Brown has barely been targeted, though, and has trouble earning snaps.