Preparation for Clemson begins after Frazier named starter
With nine days to go until its season-opener against Clemson, the Auburn football staff announced that Kiehl Frazier would be the Tigers starting quarterback, finally ending a nine-month long debate.
"Well, it was a comprehensive evaluation of a lot of things," said coach Gene Chizik. "Again, as I've said before, we're always going to choose the one we think is going to give us the best chance to win and we think Kiehl is that and we're excited about it.
"We've got a lot of confidence in him. Again, it's the whole body of work, dating even back to last year, getting some playing time and being effective in his role then. It's not like he's never played in a game. But, it's everything. It's that; it's spring ball; it's the accumulation of reps in training camp. Again, a very comprehensive evaluation and assessment, and Kiehl won the job."
Offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler reiterated Chizik's statement, saying there wasn't just one thing that set Frazier apart from the competition.
"There wasn't a defining factor," Loeffler said. "It was a process that was extremely thorough. We took into account a lot of factors. It was a business decision, and we felt that Kiehl was the guy that should start the Clemson game.
"There are a lot of unknowns, that's the wonderful thing about college football; there's always a changing of the guard. It's exciting. It's fun to watch a guy who works 365 days a year for the opportunity for 14 shots. It's not basketball; it's not baseball, where we get a lot of opportunities, so you're working 365 days a year to get those 14 opportunities to play on Saturday. There's a lot of pressure that goes along with it; there's a ton of responsibility. He'll develop; he'll learn how to do it."
When asked about the coaching staff's delay in naming him starter, Frazier said the wait didn't affect him.
"That's not my decision," the sophomore quarterback said. "That's all coach Chiz and coach Loeffler and the staff. I wasn't really worried about that. They're going to do the best thing for Auburn. I was just trying to get better everyday."
To Frazier, the news of his starting position has little affect on how he and the team will prepare for September 1.
"We've been thinking about Clemson for awhile now," Frazier said. "Whenever you're a recruit, I'm not going to say it's something you expect, but being the starter it's something that you want to do when you get to college. It's not really a final goal; it's kind of a starting point. I haven't taken this as a victory, I'm just looking forward to that first game."
But Chizik and Loeffler were both adamant about one thing: Clint Moseley is the No. 2 man.
"Clint Moseley is an ankle twist away from being a starter," Loeffler said. "That's the one unique thing about the quarterback position. I appreciate every guy we have in that room. You're busting your rear-end 365 days a year, and there's no guarantees. There's no guarantee you're going to be the starter, yet you better prep exactly as if you are the starter, because you are one play away from being asked to go lead our team."
Of course, the quarterback situation isn't the only thing the team focused on in Thursday's practice.
"Today was a big situational day, both in special teams and offense and defense," Chizik said. "We worked on clock management; we worked on different scenarios distance-wise. We worked on different scenarios kicking-wise. It was a good workday, a lot of teaching.
"Obviously, they know Clemson is right around the corner. They know what the time limit is here before they play on Saturday night. We're still doing a good amount of work against each other; we need that. We have to keep sharpening our tools when it comes to blocking and tackling, things of that nature. Again, we're weaning into it. I think the separation after tomorrow, giving them a day off, they'll come back Sunday and I think they'll be laser-focused that this is game week."