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Friday, December 18, 2009

Overshadowed quarterbacks Barrett Trotter and Clint Moseley getting their opportunity

I wrote a story about quarterbacks Barrett Trotter and Clint Moseley for today's newspaper but didn't see it online last night. Here's the whole thing:
AUBURN, Ala. — A year ago, Chris Todd wasn’t anywhere on Auburn’s quarterback radar, less than a week away from surgery on his throwing shoulder that would put him out of commission until the summer. The senior won the starting job in August regardless.

Count Barrett Trotter and Clint Moseley as quarterbacks hoping a similar dark horse candidate can rise to the top next year.

The forgotten duo has been front and center in Auburn’s pre-bowl practices this week, getting a big share of reps during team drills before the Tigers plan to shift their focus to game-planning for Outback Bowl opponent Northwestern in the near future.

“It’s a lot better than standing around and watching everybody,” Trotter said.

Trotter and Moseley, who figure to be in Auburn’s quarterback mix this offseason, have done a lot of that in the last few months.

Trotter, a 6-foot-2, 203-pound redshirt freshman from Birmingham, battled Neil Caudle and Kodi Burns for reps last spring. Shortly after offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn narrowed the field to Caudle and Burns, Trotter tore the ACL in his left knee.

He had surgery, effectively ending his 2009 season before it began, but he stayed active in the offense. Trotter continued to be a part of the sideline play-calling process and was at every game.

Doctors cleared him to practice prior to the Tennessee game in early October, although his place in the quarterback pecking order (behind Todd, Caudle and freshman Tyrik Rollison) was so low that he didn’t get any reps during practice. Still, Trotter has a familiarity with the offense.

“It’s probably been really good for him to be on the sideline from a coach’s standpoint,” said Malzahn, who praised Trotter’s leadership qualities. “I really feel like that will help him in the future understand the offense and what’s going on on the sidelines and what we’re thinking on the plays and all that."

Trotter’s biggest hurdle will be transferring that knowledge to the playing field.

“I’ve pretty much gone through everything except the actual on-the-field practicing type of stuff,” he said. “So it’s good to kind of get that other side coming up, getting back on the field. But yeah, I feel comfortable in the offense, comfortable with the calls and knowing what to do.”

Moseley had a far less glamorous role during his first year: leading the scout team. The true freshman spent the majority of his season doing things he didn’t necessarily relish: redshirt workouts and learning a new offense every week.

But he jumped into the role. Defensive coordinator Ted Roof consistently remarked to offensive coaches about the effort Moseley put in on a task most players do halfheartedly.

“There’s really two options once you’re named scout team,” Moseley said. “You can just sit there and cry about it and complain about it. (Or) you can put 100 percent into it and try to help the team.”

Moseley, who stands 6-foot-3, added about 25 pounds to his lean frame during his redshirt year, getting up to 223 before settling in around 219 now. He has a strong arm that coaches like and is a proven winner, having finished his high school career with three straight Class 2A state titles at Leroy High, north of Mobile.

Does he think he’s on even footing heading into the offseason?

“To be honest, not really, because I haven’t really been around our offense in four or five months,” he said. “So I’m going to refresh some of the plays. I haven’t forgotten them. They’re still back there. I just got to refresh them. They’ve been doing them the whole season. But I think a few weeks and I’ll be back into it.”

Both think they’ll get a fair shot from the coaches this offseason, citing last year’s competition, which the new staff approached without any preconceived notions.

The prize is all the more enticing considering the rags to riches success of Todd, who dwarfed his career totals last year with 2,377 passing yards and a single-season school record 21 touchdowns.

“What quarterback wouldn’t want to play in an offense like this?” Moseley said. “Malzahn has so many options. There’s just pretty much no way to completely stop it. And I just can’t wait to get a chance to earn that starting spot.”
As usual we got some more quotes from Malzahn about the two quarterbacks after I had already filed my story. Here's what he had to say about each of them:

On Moseley:
"He's a big, physical kid. He has a good arm. Coach Roof has been bragging about him all year down there on the scout team and he's watched extra film and really taken it upon himself to make our team and our defense better. He has a really good arm and he's got good pocket awareness, he's a big strong kid, and pressure doesn't seem to bother him."
On Trotter
"He was getting almost equal reps in the spring toward the end until he got hurt. He's coming along and doing some good things. He's got a very good football mind and he's kind of got that savvy. He can create some plays on his own and he's a good zone read runner. He's a tough kid."

1 comment:

AUsome04 said...

I guess I got my backup QB fix for the day. Nice reporting. If this offense gets someone who can pass and run... look out.