On Tuesday, Gus Malzahn told the media that he had made a mistake in playing all three of his quarterbacks against No. 2 Clemson. It seemed like Malzahn is preparing to rectify the mishap, as he later named Sean White the starter and John Franklin III as the No. 2 guy for Arkansas State this week.
But as Lee Corso says, not so fast, my friend!
Franklin being named the No. 2 quarterback means he has already surpassed Jeremy Johnson. If the Clemson game was any indication, it meant that there wasn't a ton of separation between the three, and that Franklin could conceivably become the starter.
"We'll see how the season unfolds as far as [Franklin's] concerned," Malzahn said on Tuesday. "He's very coachable, he's got a good attitude and he moved the football when he was out there."
Franklin didn't get a ton of playing time against Clemson, but the coaches still have a ton of confidence in him despite being a rookie in this offense. According to 247Sports, Franklin has been described as being faster than former Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall, who helped lead the Tigers to the BCS national championship game a few years ago. Marshall later ran a 4.54 in the 40 at the NFL Combine, so we are talking real speed here.
Auburn has Arkansas State this week, so it will be interesting to see just how much playing time Franklin gets as the backup. If the biggest knock on Franklin is his experience, then this game could be a great indicator on if he is even close to being ready. If Franklin really starts to show a grasp on the offense, then he might need to start retooling the offense for Franklin.
At the latest, Auburn's quarterback battle should be absolutely done by mid-October. The Tigers have a BYE before games against Arkansas, at Ole Miss, at Georgia, and at Alabama follow. If the quarterback race is still a thing by the time Auburn hits those games... it's probably not going to go well.
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