To say that Kiehl Frazier has had a rough start to his career as the starting quarterback for the Auburn Tigers would be the understatement of the year.
The sophomore quarterback has not only been tentative with the ball in his hands, he’s looked uncomfortable and sometimes lost. On the season, he’s completed only 52.8 percent of his passes for 546 yards, two touchdowns and seven interceptions.
While Auburn’s offensive line hasn’t done a great job of protecting him, his indecisiveness has helped lead to him being sacked nine times, stifling drives and killing momentum.
The Tigers’ inability to put points on the board with Frazier under center has cost the team dearly, never more evident than two weeks ago against LSU, when the Tigers lost 12-10.
With Auburn's defense ranking 59th in the country, allowing only 23.5 points per game, solid play from the quarterback position would certainly find the Tigers sitting with a better record than 1-3 overall and with at least one win in conference play.
To his credit, Kiehl has not backed away from the criticism that’s been thrown his way, and he is confident that the work he has put in with offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler since the LSU game will bring the Tigers greater success on the field, as he told The Birmingham News’ Charles Goldberg:
Really just tempo, the drop and speed and kind of timing. We kind of went through our first four games and kind of compared my footwork to old big plays that Coach Loeffler had had—my footwork was a little slow, made the timing off. It made me look a little timid in the pocket because my read wouldn’t be open when I got to the top of my drop because I wasn’t doing my footwork right.
I should look a lot different from LSU to Arkansas.
Aside from his timing, Frazier needs to begin to utilize his legs, a seemingly forgotten part of his arsenal.
Last season saw Frazier rush the ball 76 times for 327 yards and three touchdowns. Through four games this season, Frazier has a total of 16 rushing yards on 31 carries, an average of 0.5 yards per carry. He’s yet to find the end zone on his own.
Sure, talk is cheap, and Frazier will need to deliver between the hash marks before the Auburn faithful are ready to believe in his ability to lead the Tigers to victory.
Against a beaten and broken Arkansas team on Saturday, Frazier can—and will—begin to turn things around.