Sports

Inside Auburn’s QB plan against Missouri

Auburn (2-1, 0-0 SEC) will start Robby Ashford as quarterback on Saturday (11am CT ESPN) against Missouri (2-1, 0-0) at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Ashford and the Tigers look to open the Southeastern Conference schedule with a win after a painful loss at home to Penn State.

TJ Finley won the runway in the fall camp but was on the bench last week in the third quarter against Penn State after an interception and lost fumbles. Ashford filled in for Finley and finished the game with 144 passing yards and 29 rushing yards in the 41-12 loss. Earlier this week, AL.com first reported that Finley would not qualify for the Missouri game due to an ongoing shoulder injury.

Texas A&M transfer strategist Zach Calzada is said to have had a chance to compete for the runway against Ashford this week, but head coach Bryan Harsin told Monday he was considering opting for season-end surgery.

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Sources: TJ Finley out injured for the Missouri game

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3 questions for Bryan Harsin before the Missouri game –

Ashford took on the most first-team replays this week, according to a source, while freshman Holden Geriner also got time on the first-team and is set to play Missouri on Saturday. Geriner has spent extra hours at the football facility watching movies and working with receivers to prepare for his growing role on the offensive.

“That guy can zip it up,” Auburn pass rusher Marcus Harris said of Geriner this week. “The first week he was on the scout team, and he was just pimping up receivers, and he’s a pretty good quarterback. As his time at Auburn progresses, I have a feeling he’s going to be great. He’s got one of the best balls I’ve ever seen and I think he’ll be amazing.”

Harsin and Offensive Coordinator Eric Kiesau will not follow such a pronounced quarterback rotation as they did with Finley and Ashford. However, given that the Tigers have only two quarterbacks left with a scholarship, Finley out indefinitely and Calzada this season, there’s a good chance Geriner will see action.

Auburn could help Geriner depending on the game situations against Missouri regardless of how Ashford performs. Several people on the program have expressed confidence that Geriner would be ready if Harsin and Kiesau called on them.

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Playing as a freshman quarterback is challenging, but Geriner’s talent could make him the rare quarterback who could have early success.

“I have tremendous confidence in Holden and the way he behaves,” Harris said. “He’s already behaving like a pro. He continues after training with guys and various receivers and passing the ball. Even after training, even if he’s not playing now, he’s still doing those kinds of things.”

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