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Is Nick the Pick?

By on July 29th, 2013 in Football 12 Comments »

Comparing incoming JUCO quarterback Nick Marshall to Cam Newton is something of a stretch – probably a big GIANT stretch. Still, the comparisons to him keep coming despite the fact that Marshall has yet to take a hit in an Auburn uniform.

Ask the majority of Auburn fans who the starting quarterback will be on August 31st and most will tell you without blinking that Nick’s the man.

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray did nothing to lower expectations last week when he said of his former teammate, “(He) can throw a football farther than anyone I’ve ever seen in my life,” Murray said. “He’s an unbelievable football player. I’d like to see how much better he’s gotten over the past couple of years.”

During player-only workouts this summer, Marshall’s new teammates have been quick to give similar praise.

“Nick, I’m really surprised with the rhythm he has, his flow,” said fullback Jay Prosch. “He’s got a confidence about him, and he’s very quick running. I haven’t seen him, obviously, under any real pressure, but he’s very fast.”

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn is not buying into the talk yet, sounding more cautious. “All I’ve heard is that he’s got a good attitude,” said Malzahn, “He’s worked hard since he’s been here.”

Under NCAA rules, coaches are not allowed to participate in the player workouts.

While fans may have settled on the man, it will be Malzahn who makes the decision. Don’t be surprised to see a strong push by Jonathan Wallace, who has a reputation as a hard worker and student of the game.

In competition with Kiehl Frazier at A-Day, it was Wallace who got the upper hand, throwing for 191 yards and two touchdowns. It still wasn’t enough to get him the starting nod heading into fall practice.

Don’t count out true freshman Jeremy Johnson who has no plans of sitting long in college. The last time he came through town, he carved up Auburn High School on the ground and through the air on the way to a blowout win for Carver-Montgomery.

One thing is certain. The wait is almost over. Malzahn has made it clear he wants a starter in place quickly. He credits Auburn’s fast turnaround in 2009 to the naming of Chris Todd within the first nine days of camp.

“That gave us a chance to work on our timing and establish there’s our leader,” Malzahn said. “See how they respond to him and put him in all the different situations that we needed to before the first game.”

If Malzahn has indeed settled on Marshall, he’s not tipping his hat yet. There’s seems to be time left for the others to win out.

“You go into this thing as a coach, you try to be as honest as you can with your quarterbacks,” Malzahn said. “You like to give them updates. … We’ll be very upfront with our guys. Hopefully somebody will establish themselves as the leader very early.”

For those at home keeping score, kickoff is just 33 days away.


  1. Tigerstripe Tigerstripe says:

    Please don’t go to a dual QB situation…

  2. Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

    I hope this issue is settled very early. The longer it drags out, the worse off the offense will be.

    • DBAU81 says:

      Amen to that. Does anybody even remember what it was like to go into a season with a proven commodity at quarterback?

  3. AuburnMisfit AuburnMisfit says:

    I think Gus will test the waters with Frazier and Wallace with mixed results. Maybe Frazier get the early nod, but I think his confidence will be rattled. His fate will be sealed after this. Expecting that Marshall will finish the season strong as he gets acclimated with Gus’ system.

  4. Col.Angus Col.Angus says:

    My hope is the best player gets the nod….the guy who has performed the best. Not the guy who works the hardest, not the guy who knows the offense best and not the guy who has the most game experience. My thoroughly unscientific and biased opinion is that Frazier is the best guy for the job, based on his talent, his knowledge of the offense and his SEC experience. However if he is still suffering a hangover from last year and is still tentative making decisions, he obviously would be a horrible choice. My hope is that he finds his confidence now that Malzahn is back at the helm and he will be able to finally showcase the talent that made him one of the best QB prospects entering college back in 2011.
    If you are just going on talent and ability it would be Nick Marshall, however his penchant for turning the ball over is extremely disconcerting. I am hoping that alot of those interceptions were the result of Marshall being the only real weapon on his JUCO team and him trying too hard to make something happen. I think if Marshall comes in, shows a decent grasp of the offense and doesn’t make many mental errors that he will be the guy to beat.
    Unfortunately for Jonathan Wallace, being a hard worker doesn’t always mean you are the best player. While he is a game competitor, he reminds me more of Kodi Burns than Cam Newton. Thats not a knock on either Jonathan or Kodi. Both did a good job when they were really the only competent options to run the offense but neither was very effective for mor than a few series a game. Wallace looked good mostly in comparison to the horribly inept performance of Frazier and Mosely.
    Jeremy Johnson may be the guy, and if he performs the best in fall practice, I think he should get a shot, regardless of his inexperience. Lets be honest, unless something Newtonesque happens, we aren’t going to contend for the SEC championship and if JJ wins the fall battle, I think its better to let him get his experience now and hope that he will take us to the next level in the next couple of years. He has the physical gifts to do the job, he just doesn’t have the experience and the only way to get that is to play….something we probably should have done with Frazier in 2011.

    Having the right QB at the helm is essential because this team will not win if the QB can’t run the offense and sustain drives. For all the handwringing over “players gettting hurt” and the unfair advantage that the HUNH provides an offense, what they don’t mention is how devastating it can be to your own defense if you don’t sustain drives and score points. If you don’t execute, you take no time off the clock and put the opposing offense right back on the field. Execution will be critical if we are to be competitive, so like I said, make sure whoever wins the job, earns it by his execution.

  5. KoolBell KoolBell says:

    Frazier and Wallace both were recruited by Gus while at Auburn. We all know Frazier’s story, but Wallace is a competent QB in his own right. The QB in Malzahn’s system does not have to play like Cam Newton, and frankly, holding anyone to that standard is unfair.

    Chris Todd proved that you only need to get the ball into the playmakers hands and the offense will flourish. I would be ecstatic to see one of these guys fall somewhere between Todd and Newton. They all have good arms, and they all throw pretty footballs. The real question is who can play as mistake free as humanly possible at hyper-speed?

    May the best man win,


    • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

      We need a QB that:

      Does not turn the ball over.
      Keeps the offense in manageable third down situations.
      Converts consistently on third down.
      Gets the offense into the correct plays and formations when opportunity allows the QB to change plays at the LOS.

      None of last seasons QBs exhibited the ability to perform these tasks in a manner expected of an SEC caliber QB, granted they were hampered by incompetent coaching . Can Gus and Lashlee coach ’em up? They have stated that their goal is to very quickly find a QB. The pressure on the candidates is going to be INTENSE to say the least.

  6. Malakai Malakai says:

    CGM has said that the race for QB is wide open. I just hope that he doesn’t let his history with Frazier or Wallace get in the way of his decision making. It has to be hard to tell a kid that you recruited for so long for this particular style of offense that you’re going another way.

  7. audude audude says:

    The best thing about CGM is that he coaches around the strength of his players. Unlike Rich Rod, who cannot change his system for love or $, CGM has stated over and over he is willing to change with the talent around him. His history proves this out.

    Couldn’t agree more with the Col. and Kool Bell.


  8. War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

    My hope is that the O-Line starts the year off strong allowing our running game to flourish over the first two games (Wash. St., Ark. St.). That should allow whoever is QB to acclimate to the system and hopefully take off in a positive direction. I personally don’t think Kiehl has the emotional chops for the job, Wallace isn’t talented enough (though he is adequate), and JJ will redshirt that leave only Nick Marshall. Marshall will bring better athleticism than any QB AU has had over the last 10 years not named Cam. Having all of those dangerous running threats (at RB and QB) will help the team early on and allow for the throwing portion of the offense to develop. Hopefully by midseason we will have a well balanced attack that is running 80-90 plays a game. It’s great to be an Auburn Tiger!

    • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

      You, Dameyune Craig, Rob Pate (author of quoted text), and myself, are on the same page.

      “For the offense to run at full throttle a trigger man must emerge and an offensive line must gel. The latter should happen soon. The former just arrived on campus, in my opinion, and may need some time to bloom. Coach Dameyune Craig, my former teammate and a guy on a meteoric rise in the coaching ranks, told me Nick Marshall is the best athlete he has ever seen, period. In fact, he told me he’s surprised Nick is not playing point guard in the NBA. He said Nick had all the tools they’re looking for at the quarterback position.”

  9. Pine Mt Tiger Pine Mt Tiger says:

    Yes, Nick will be the starter.