April 19, 2013
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN — Rhett Lashlee says quarterbacks Kiehl Frazier and Jonathan Wallace have improved in spring practice — and Auburn's offensive coordinator isn't kidding.
"It's just not coach-speak," he said.
But Lashlee says neither Frazier nor Wallace has done enough to win the starting job, and that's why Saturday's 1 p.m. A-Day Game in Jordan-Hare Stadium figures to be important for the quarterbacks and the offense in general.
"This is a big evaluation for us," Lashlee said. "It's not like we've stacked one team over the other. We've got good linemen on both sides, good skill players. It shouldn't matter which team each quarterback is with. They're going to have plenty of guys to work with at all spots."
Lashlee said each quarterback will work with the first and second units, and that each should receive about the same number of plays. But for Lashlee, in his first year as Auburn's offensive coordinator, Saturday will be more quality than quantity.
"They're both getting better. They're both making better decisions," he said. "They're making more accurate and better consistent throws. I think that just comes with being more comfortable with reps, with the reads, more comfortable and on the same page with the wideouts, throwing on time better."
Auburn has practiced 12 times. Saturday will be No. 13. That won't finish the spring, though. Auburn will also practice Tuesday and Wednesday, and Lashlee will be looking for continued improvement thoughout.
"We've gotten a little more consistent, we really have to the point that our bad plays now aren't as bad as they were early on. And our good plays, we execute the way it's designed and the way we want to," Lashlee said. "I have no idea how they'll perform tomorrow in front of everybody. I'm excited to see how we respond to that."
What defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson said about spring and the A-Day Game.
Lashlee also said:
• Jaylon Denson and Quan Bray have been the most consistent receivers.
"Overall, our wideouts have gotten better, but there's been inconsistencies," Lashlee said.
" Jaylon has been steady. We're going to go play a game tomorrow with two teams with six scholarship wideouts. It'll be interesting to see how they respond. They're all going to get plenty of running in."
• Lashlee listed Ricardo Louis and Sammie Coates as among his most "explosive" receivers.
"They've got the speed and size to go vertical and both of them made some really nice plays down the field," Lashlee said. "We've said all along, Sammie can make the 'wow' play. Can Sammie make the consistent play, the play you're supposed to make, and be consistent? I feel like he's getting better, I really do. Those two guys have that ability.
"Quan and Trovon Reed are both guys with the ball in the hand, even if it's not a deep ball. You give them the ball quick, they can make people miss and do some things with it as well."
• Though he missed much of the last two weeks with an injury, Lashlee said running back Tre Mason would play Saturday
"We've got guys that are nicked up, but just about everybody should be getting some reps tomorrow," Lashlee said.
•What Lashlee will watch:
"It’ll be good to see how everybody responds – quarterbacks, receivers, line, the whole deal – in as game-like a setting as we can get them in."
•On running his Wildcat offense:
He said Reed and Bray have been the Wildcat quarterbacks.
"We might do it a little. We’ve concentrated so much on just base stuff. There hasn’t been a lot of scheming going on," Lashlee said.
•On Shon Coleman's continued comeback after beating cancer:
"I'm really proud for him," Lashlee said. "He’s had a good spring. Obviously, everybody knows about his situation. Shon is getting better.
"He’s come along fine. He’s not ready yet, but he’s still got the ability we thought he had."
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