The casual observer would not take a second glance at seeing Jonathan Wallace's name show up on the stat sheet against LSU. After all, three plays resulting in 15 yards is not a big deal, right? Not usually, but those three subtle plays may carry a much louder message.
Auburn took the redshirt off QB Wallace after the freshman turned heads since his arrival on the Auburn campus. His three plays against LSU came while running the ball in the wildcat formation, the exact way that Auburn used Kiehl Frazier in 2011.
Did Auburn coaches just think that Wallace and his three plays gave Auburn the best chance to beat LSU? Were they rewarding him for his hard work?
"We've done some things situationally in the LSU game, and we'll see where that package goes," said offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler after practice on Tuesday. (via Charles Goldberg, AL.com)
Auburn would not burn Wallace's redshirt unless they thought he could help the team win now. If nothing else, it should be a wake up call to QB Kiehl Frazier, who currently holds the title of starting quarterback.
Gene Chizik has taken his time naming a starter in three of his four years on the Plains. However, he has had a reasonably long leash with his quarterbacks once they were named.
Chris Todd struggled throwing the ball midway through the 2009 season, losing three straight to Arkansas, Kentucky and LSU. Gene Chizik remained loyal to his quarterback through his struggles.
Chizik did not have to deal with many quarterback struggles in 2010 with some guy named Newton taking snaps.
Last year, Chizik gave Barrett Trotter 6 1/2 games before inserting Clint Moseley as the starting quarterback. Trotter performed dependably the first couple of games before struggling mightily at the end of September and beyond.
This year, Frazier's struggles under center have been no secret. His best game came in Week 1 against Clemson. Lately, he has shown improvement in the first half. After taking two steps forward in the first half against ULM and LSU, he takes two steps back in the second half and loses all of his confidence after making a mistake.
The Auburn depth chart looked quite different this week. As we know, there was no Quan Bray due to his suspension. Joshua Holsey is also on the two-deep at cornerback now after his strong play vs LSU. Another name that was new? Jonathan Wallace.
Last week, Clint Moseley was the second-string quarterback. This week, the position is listed as Clint Moseley OR Jonathan Wallace. It's funny how strong conjunctions like the word "OR" can be.
Wake up, Mr. Frazier. You may have a little competition on your hands.