March 30, 2013
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN — Coach Gus Malzahn is back in Auburn and quarterback Kiehl Frazier is back running a fast-paced offense that he knows well.
"This is what I expected when I was recruited, so just being back in it is more of my comfort zone than last year," Frazier says.
Frazier and Auburn took an offensive detour last year. After three years of depending on Malzahn's fast-paced game, Scott Loeffler was brought in as the offensive coordinator to run a pro-style offense. It didn't work. Now, Malzahn is back, not as the offensive coordinator but as the head coach, and with the same idea that a fast pace will win the day.
That's a plus for Frazier, who served as Malzahn's Wildcat quarterback in Auburn in 2011. He ran a similar offense when he was a high school star in Arkansas.
"I've always been running it," Frazier said "If we had had another year in the offense last year we'd be definitely better this year. It's good to get back to it."
It's also good to have some insight on the playbook.
"Once they say something, it may be a new name, but it's the same play we ran two years ago. I think it'll help me pick it up a lot faster than I would have if I hadn't been in the offense," Frazier said.
Frazier says he's relearning the offense, and more. This is his junior year. He's been around.
"Just confidence and comfort. It's a lot different being a junior than a sophomore," he said. "This is my third year. A lot of guys I'll face I'll be as old or older than. There's comfort in knowing you have that experience."
Frazier said leadership will be important, too.
"It's a lot different in a fast-pace offense. You can't get in a huddle and look in a guy's eye. It's a different leadership in this offense, but that's still what the coaches are looking for," he said.
Sophomore-to-be Johnathan Wallace grew up running the spread, too.
"That's going to be our edge: Playing fast and doing things right," Wallace said.
Frazier only threw 12 passes for Malzahn in 2011 playing behind Barrett Trotter and Clint Moseley. He has a chance to throw a lot more in 2013. His competition this spring is Wallace, but three more quarterback candidates will arrive this summer and be ready for fall drills.
Malzahn says there are no favorites.
Wallace said the idea is work together to improve the offense.
"We did a lot of work on our own. That's how we're going to get better," Wallace said.
"We're the only two guys here now, we have to be leaders for this offense. We're doing that to the best of our abilities."
Frazier started the first five games last year before an injury. Moseley then started and was hurt. Wallace started the final four games.
Frazier hit 62-of-116 passes for 753 yards and two touchdowns and eight interceptions. Wallace hit 46-of-80 for 720 yards and four touchdowns and four interceptions.
Now, they're going at a faster pace.
"We're not anywhere near where we need to be," Frazier said. "But we're learning it. It's something we need to work on, but we're getting there."
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