AUBURN – The defense got the best of things in Saturday’s A-Day game, winning 63-32 according to the scoring system devised by Auburn’s coaches.
Clint Moseley cuts loose during A-Day game/Todd Van Emst photo
But most in the crowd of 53,290 weren’t focused on the scoreboard. They were focused on junior Barrett Trotter and sophomore Clint Moseley, locked in a race to replace Heisman Trophy-winner Cam Newton as Auburn’s starting quarterback.
In a scrimmage coaches called “vanilla” on both sides of the ball, Trotter completed 6-of-12 passes for 120 yards and the game’s only touchdown, a 19-yarder to Philip Lutzenkirchen on the first drive of the game. Moseley completed 9-of-15 for 82 yards.
When it was over, head coach Gene Chizik left little room for doubt that the race will go into preseason practice next August.
“I think they are very similar right now in nature,” Chizik said. “The thing that stands out the most looking back over 14 days is the inconsistency. Obviously, we are trying to find somebody that can manage the game and manage the team and protect the football. They both do that fairly well.
“There were some open balls today we missed. They both have a very good feel for the offense. I don’t think that’s the issue. Overall, it’s the inconsistency.”
Asked if he expected the race to go into August, Chizik answered quickly.
“I do,” he said.
Offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn said the quarterbacks were not in the best of situations Saturday, with frequent substitutions and a limited offensive package.
“When you are rotating a lot of people in and out, it’s hard to get a lot of rhythm,’ Malzahn said. “There were a couple of drives Barrett and Clint took us down there. There were times they moved the offense well. You kind of look at it altogether. Obviously, we’d like to get in the end zone more.”
Malzahn agreed there is no timetable for naming a starter.
“It’s like any other position,” Malzahn said. “Until we know 110 percent who gives us the best chance of winning, we won’t make the call.”
Mike Dyer and Onterio McCalebb, Auburn’s top two running backs, got just seven carries between them in Saturday’s game. Lutzenkirchen and two walk-ons – Cameron Groce and Dimitri Reese – caught four passes apiece.
The defense had six sacks, led by ends Dee Ford and Joel Bonomolo with two apiece. All that was required for a sack was for a quarterback to be touched with the ball in his hands. Bonomolo led in tackles with seven.
With Cody Parkey out with a minor injury, Chandler Brooks kicked field goals of 43, 41 and 48 yards with the wind behind him and missed from 44 and 47 yards into the wind.
Overall, Chizik said he was pleased as the Tigers look to their Monday’s final practice of the spring.
“They have really been focused and they have really tried to become better as individuals,” Chizik said, “which in turn makes us better as a team.”