Auburn Football 2011: Will Barrett Trotter Be the Tigers' Starting Quarterback?

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Auburn Football 2011: Will Barrett Trotter Be the Tigers' Starting Quarterback?
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Auburn has a potential success story building on the plains. It is the story of a young man that grew up a huge fan of one particular college football program. He was able to fulfill his wishes to be invited to participate on that team.

In high school he had played in a region loaded with Division I talent. Briarwood Christian is a powerhouse program located in the same geographic area as national powerhouses Hoover, Oak Mountain, Vestavia Hills, Spain Park and other powerful high school programs known for turning out Division I talent on a regular basis.

Football is serious sport in this area where fans are treated to some of the highest quality matchups available in high school football. It was this competition that allowed this young man to develop the skills necessary to get the attention of his favorite team.

He arrived on campus in what was a period rocked with turmoil and change. Before he had the opportunity to play his first game the long-time offensive coordinator was replaced. The next year saw wholesale change of almost the entire coaching staff.

Even though he had passed for nearly 8,000 yards and 88 touchdowns in his high school career, 2008 saw Barrett Trotter taking a redshirt. It might have been a blessing as that was a really tough year for players to go through.

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2009 brought with it a new coaching staff and a new offensive philosophy. Trotter found himself competing with two other experienced quarterbacks, one that had started games in 2008.

As spring practice progressed, word leaked out that he was performing better than expected and had a real shot at winning the competition for starting QB. His goals were finally attainable.

It was then that disaster struck. He suffered a devastating knee injury that would end any hope he had of playing in 2009.

None of the participants of that first quarterback competition were to lead the team that year. As fate would have it, a veteran quarterback freshly recovered from his own devastating injury would take the position just weeks before the start of the season.

Trotter spent most of the 2009 season learning the new offensive system by watching from the sideline and assisting in relaying play calls to the field. He was a quick study of the system.

When the 2010 quarterback competition rolled around, he was ready mentally. No player knew more about the system than he. His competition would be a JUCO transfer a freshman and a senior as familiar with the system as he was.

The competition was stiff with two early leaders. It turns out that that JUCO transfer was an athletic wonder that thrived under the tutelage of Gus Malzahn the Auburn quarterbacks coach. The competition waged hotly through spring practice and the spring game and no winner was apparent.

It was decision time for the Auburn coaching staff. Word had leaked from spring practice that Barrett Trotter was the better passer and knew the offensive system better. The JUCO player, Cameron Newton, was showing astonishing improvement daily.

No one other than the coaches really knows what the deciding factor was. Some have said that there was uneasiness with the health of Trotter’s recovering knee. Others have alluded to the superior physicality in the running game of the other player. No one can argue that the right decision was made.

Cameron Newton was to go on and win the Heisman Trophy in what was one of the best single season performances in college football history. Barrett Trotter would again have to wait for his opportunity.

In one of his appearances as the backup quarterback, Trotter made a long, opportunistic touchdown run that culminated in a dive into the end zone where he took a vicious hit. He came up gimpy from that play and the third-string quarterback had to be called in. It does appear that another year of strength and conditioning was needed to make him less susceptible to injury.

Could 2011 be Barrett Trotter’s year?

He is now 6’2” and 211 pounds of hard-working muscle. He has an uncanny accuracy on short slant routes and excellent touch and accuracy on the long ball. His release is quick and precise. He has the running ability to take advantage of what the defense offers to him.

His competition will be very strong. Sophomore Clint Moseley knows the system well and has all of the physical talent needed to challenge Trotter to the limit. These two will battle throughout the spring.

The competition will not be over then. Keihl Frazier will come in for summer practice as a true freshman. This would be an impossible task for most freshmen, but Frazier has run the Malzahn system throughout his high school career. The learning curve will be shorter for him. He also has all the physical skill needed for many pundits to predict a future Heisman run for him.

Barrett Trotter does not have the starting quarterback position locked up, but he is the favorite for the first time. It will be a very challenging competition that will bring out the best in all three candidates. Auburn would be in exceptional shape with Barrett Trotter as the quarterback. If he does not win, it will likely mean another record-breaking year could come from the winner.    

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