August 17, 2013
The quantification of quarterbacks
AUBURN | Gus Malzahn loathes timeframes.
Many coaches do this time of year.
Making personnel decisions is such a subjective enterprise anyway, loaded with myriad analyses and opinions and gut feelings. Nobody knows precisely how Nick Marshall or Jeremy Johnson will react if given the first snaps against Washington State 15 days from now. The best option available to Malzahn and offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee involves assessments during scrimmages, engineered to be as realistic as possible, and looking for glaring weaknesses during drills.
That's all been done. Yet here we are.
You know makes this particular quarterback race more difficult for Auburn? Marshall is a difficult player to quantify. He walked into a Kansas junior college last summer as a former Georgia cornerback who wanted to try his hand at playing quarterback. He arrived to a team that utilized a pro-style offense, but the head coach hired a new coordinator six weeks before the first game.
The new guy? Spread guy.
Marshall grasped the offense quickly. He learned to make thoughtful read options, how to progress through a route tree and make a thoughtful passing decision. Yet at his core, Marshall is out there to make plays. He makes people miss because of unusual quickness. He runs away from people because of speed not typically seen from quarterbacks.
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