Head coach Bryan Harsin’s idea of a two-quarterback rotation has been held closely under the spectacle of starting quarterback T.J. Finley’s father, who spoke with Zac Blackerby on his "Locked On Auburn" podcast.
In an episode released Thursday morning, he said his son hasn’t had the time to gain rhythm in a game with how often the quarterbacks are brought in and out for particular plays.
During Auburn’s biggest home loss since 2012 to Penn State last week, Finley was subbed back into the game during a third-and-six after sitting for a single Robby Ashford carry that garnered just two yards. Finley threw an interception on the following third down attempt.
“One quarterback goes in, he runs a play and loses a yard, he runs another play and gains two yards, now you at third and eight, and then asked to go in the game and convert, when they know you're passing on a third-and-eight or third-and-fifteen," said David Finley in his appearance on the podcast. "He did that consistently."
"I'm just calling a spade a spade."
Additionally, David had things to say about his son's shoulder(s). Both al.com and 247Sports reported earlier in the week that T.J. would be out due to a shoulder injury that occurred during the Penn State game, but his father alleges that an injury happened even earlier than that.
David who said his son could be out 'one to three weeks', but no official timeline has been set. In 45 drop backs against Penn State, whatever quarterback was in at the time was pressured 36 times, an .80% pressure rate while hitting the ground on six registered sacks by the Nittany-Lions, according to 247 Sports.
Auburn has yet to officially comment on Finley's status.
David stated that fans may not have been aware, but T.J.'s shoulder was injured before the Penn State game against San Jose State a week prior.
"He was getting treated for it," David says of the Auburn athletic department's knowledge of the injury. "T.J. a tough kid."
According to David, his son had no prior knowledge of the appearance on Thurday's Locked on Auburn podcast.
Finley himself retweeted a tweet pointing out the offensive line troubles that Auburn has endured this far into the season, ranking behind only three SEC teams in the past five seasons for highest pressure rate allowed in a game. He has since deleted the retweet.
On top of the criticism of quarterback rotations, David offered stark criticism of the offensive play calling and the game-time positions that quarterbacks are expected to execute in. The Tigers have scored just 36 points in the past eight quarters of action, four of which were against a Sun Belt opponent.
"You had no slants, no bubbles, no screen passes, you didn't have drags coming across the middle," David Finley said. "Nothing to bail your quarterback out on obvious passing downs."
David believes that more trust in a single quarterback would yield different results than seen thus far into the season. He also thinks that Finley and Ashford's time in at quarterback have been '50-50' even though Finley was announced as the starter before the season began.
"If you say I'm QB1, then I'm QB1," David said.
Finley and Ashford both had 19 pass attempts against Penn State while the quarterbacks' statistics mirrored each other at roughly 150 yards thrown and an interception each. Ashford had the only touchdown throw of the day in the fourth quarter.
"You need to be embraced as the QB1 so (you're) not looking over your shoulder," David said. "And then if it got to the third game and it just wasn't productive at all, then okay, let's try something different. But how can you really try something different now, and it's been 50/50, so who is at fault?"
It is unknown who will be under center when Auburn (2-1) hosts Missouri (2-1) for the team’s first SEC battle of the year, but David says that whenever T.J. is available again, he hopes that his son will 'assume his position' as Auburn's starting quarterback.
Do you like this story? The Plainsman doesn't accept money from tuition or student fees, and we don't charge a subscription fee. But you can donate to support The Plainsman.
Larry is a senior studying journalism with a minor in sociology. He is from Enterprise, Alabama and is in his third year with The Auburn Plainsman.