Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn was optimistic about wide receiver Kyle Davis returning to the team at some point this spring, but the tune has changed regarding his future. Malzahn is now saying Davis may be out for the remainder of Auburn’s spring practices due to personal reasons.
“Kyle Davis is still taking care of some personal business,” Malzahn said, according to SEC Country. “I’m not for sure if he’s going to be back before the end of the spring. He will be back for the fall, just taking a little bit longer than we initially thought.”
It was just a few weeks ago Malzahn said Davis was going to be out for the start of spring practices, which are now close to half over. For now, the plan is simply to have him return over the summer in preparation for the fall.
In the meantime, Malzahn confirmed John Franklin III is working primarily as a wide receiver, which had previously been suspected to be the case.
We don’t know yet who will be Auburn’s starting quarterback. We do, though, know who won’t be.
Tyler Queen took to his personal Twitter account this afternoon to announce that, “after a lot of prayer and discussion with my family,” he feels “it is time to transfer and explore other opportunities.” In his Twitter missive, the rising redshirt sophomore wrote that “I feel like I haven’t had a chance to show the player I’m capable of being.”
A three-star member of the Tigers’ 2015 recruiting class, Queen was rated as the No. 15 pro-style quarterback in the country. Elbow surgery helped lead to a redshirt his true freshman season. He appeared in two games last season, completing one of his two passes for 11 yards.
Incumbent Sean White and Baylor transfer Jarrett Stidham are viewed as the main contenders for the starting job, with the latter seen as the favorite by many. White is extremely limited this spring because of a broken forearm suffered in the Sugar Bowl loss to Oklahoma, leading new offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey to declare that a starter won’t be named exiting the 15 sessions.
Redshirt freshman Woody Barrett and early enrollee Malik Willis are on the periphery of the competition as well. John Franklin III would’ve been a part of the signal-calling gaggle but has been getting reps at wide receiver.
Having a quarterback who can do it all is a nice luxury to have. While much of the Auburn quarterback situation may be focusing on Jarrett Stidham and the news that John Franklin III is seeing reps at wide receiver this spring, it is Woody Barrett who is turning heads with his sense of self-confidence.
The redshirt freshman quarterback is making a good impression with his teammates with his mentality on the practice field. Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson respects the way Barrett is working hard this spring and explains the young quarterback seems to think eh can score at will.
“Woody gets out there, and, it’s funny, Woody literally believes he will score every play,” Johnson said, according to Al.com. “To a point, that’s what you got to love. That’s the same mentality I go in with every play. I love it. He’s got so much confidence that it gets scary sometimes.”
Now is a good time to have that kind of confidence in your game, especially as Auburn is in a position where it could benefit by having a solid quarterback option. Sean White is banged up this spring and Stidham is making the transition to his new program after fleeing Baylor. Franklin III is competing for playing time at quarterback as well in addition to getting some time to catch passes.
“He’s got a skill set, everybody knows he’s a great athlete,” Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn said regarding Franklin, according to Gridiron Now. “It’s kinda hard to tell. He hasn’t gotten much, but we’ll give him an opportunity and his attitude is great. He’s wanting to help the team any way he can.”
Other quarterbacks hoping to impress in the spring include Tyler Queen and Malik Willis.
UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen has received almost all of the attention for UCLA this year but took a bit of a back seat to his teammates on the other side of the ball on Saturday night.
The Bruins defense put together their best effort in a long, long time against BYU to leave Provo with a 17-14 win that was a much more dominant outing than the score line indicated.
The Cougars managed just 0.9 yards per rush, failed to get much of anything going in the passing game and saw quarterback Taysom Hill throw one interception and record four sacks. While there was plenty of issues on the BYU offense, the fact of the matter was that the team from Los Angeles simply had defenders that looked faster, stronger and quicker on just about every snap.
It was a good thing that the defense rose to the occasion for Jim Mora too because the Bruins offense still hasn’t found much of a rhythm this season outside of their quarterback making some NFL-caliber throws. Rosen finished the night 26-of-40 for 307 yards, two scores and a pick but was only able to pick up six third down conversions all game in a bit of a one-man effort.
Nate Starks made his season debut at tailback and rushed for 39 yards on 15 carries as part of a mediocre ground game against a tough BYU front seven. The team’s leading rusher, Soso Jamabo, did not even suit up for UCLA while backup Bolu Olorunfunmi chipped in with 15 yards in limited action.
The win rounds out the non-conference slate for the Bruins and sets up a big showdown next Saturday at the Rose Bowl with defending conference champion Stanford. The Cardinal have been the one team that Mora has not been able to solve since arriving in Westwood but if the defense plays like it did against BYU, it could be an interesting Pac-12 contest between the two division favorites.
Josh Rosen irked many Texas A&M fans earlier this week when he remarked that crowd noise sounds pretty much the same after 50,000 fans.
The 102,000-strong Kyle Field crowd gave Rosen an earful on Saturday before the Aggies’ defense ear-holed the star quarterback a few times during a back-and-forth 31-24 win over UCLA in overtime.
The Bruins signal-caller finished the game 26-of-46 for 343 yards and a score while rallying from 15 down in the 4th quarter to force overtime. As remarkable as he was during the closing minutes of regulation however, Rosen also tossed three interceptions (one off a tipped ball), was sacked five times and barely had time to catch his breath in the pocket after being under siege by the ‘Wrecking Crew’ front seven all game long.
Still, the quarterback hushed the crowd temporarily with just over a minute left thanks to an improbable 62-yard strike to Kenny Walker between two defenders (after dropping the snap initially). That score tied the game and caused a minor heart attack across the SEC. Rosen was unable to complete the comeback however, with a pair of incompletions in overtime sending the team back to Los Angeles with an 0-1 start to the season.
It may have been a miserable day for Oklahoma following their loss to Houston earlier in the day but two former Sooners helped A&M to victory in another part of the Lone Star State. Making his first start for the Aggies since transferring during the offseason, Trevor Knight scored the winning touchdown in overtime on a 4th down zone read from the one yard line to secure the win in a gutsy manner. He finished with mediocre passing numbers but came up clutch when the team needed it most with three scores, throwing for 239 yards and running for 31 more.
Fellow Oklahoma transfer Keith Ford also punched it into the end zone and had 65 yards rushing while true freshman Trayveon Williams chipped in 94 on the ground as well.
The narrow win for Texas A&M adverted a potential apocalyptic opening week for the SEC West, with Arkansas sneaking past Louisiana Tech by just a point, LSU falling to Wisconsin and South Alabama topping Mississippi State. The Aggies figure to move into the top 25 when polls are released after Labor Day and could be an early favorite to challenge No. 1 Alabama in the West given the other results around the division.
As for the Bruins, the loss won’t do anything to help the reputation of the Pac-12 as a conference with numerous good teams but no elite one. UCLA’s furious comeback was inspiring but ultimately still was one that fell short. Things don’t get any easier this month for the Pac-12 South favorites either, as they take on UNLV, BYU and Stanford to close out September.