Robby Ashford's 'got the tools' to make some noise in Auburn's quarterback battle
The second transfer QB the Tigers picked up this offseason doesn't have any college game experience, but that hasn't slowed him down this spring.
QB Robby Ashford (Todd Van Emst/Auburn Athletics)
On Friday evening in Jordan-Hare Stadium, there seemed to be some separation between the four quarterbacks competing for Auburn’s starting job.
It was a literal separation. In one end zone, Zach Calzada and Holden Geriner were the quarterbacks as the Tigers’ offensive line, running backs and tight ends went through a variety of rushing plays against the defensive front.
The duo were with a large number of key players, headlined by Tank Bigsby, at that end of the field. For all intents and purposes, it looked like they were running with the first-team offense.
But on the other end of the field, T.J. Finley and Robby Ashford were throwing balls to Auburn’s receivers — who were being covered 1-on-1 by the defensive backs.
It’s just one drill in a limited media viewing window, sure. But with Calzada limited due to a non-throwing shoulder injury and Geriner brand-new to college football, Finley and Ashford have consistently been the top two quarterbacks in drills for the Tigers in spring practices.
A day later, after Auburn’s second scrimmage, Bryan Harsin noted that the rotation at the position hasn’t been as even as it was at the beginning of the spring.
“Some guys are getting more reps, but it’s also a little bit by practice — kind of look at what a guy got the previous practice, try to get some of those other guys maybe a few more in the next one to even it out,” Harsin said. “But T.J. has gotten quite a few reps, has gotten the most. Robby Ashford has been getting more reps as we’ve gone.”
Of course, Calzada’s limited involvement isn’t a sign of him being behind in the quarterback battle. Harsin noted that he would be getting as many reps as Finley and Ashford if he was 100% healthy, so getting back to that status will be important for him this summer. The former Texas A&M starter will be a major factor.
And while Finley has continued to be the first quarterback out there in practices — Harsin spoke of his knowledge of the offense, something the three newcomers obviously don’t have yet — there’s something to be said for where Ashford is right now.
Finley and Calzada both have had a sizable chunk of starting experience in SEC football. While they have time to improve on their past performances, there’s a foundation of what to expect from them after what they put out on the field in 2021.
Ashford, on the other hand, is the ultimate wild card.
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