#PMARSHONAU: Where is Auburn football today? Where can it go? – 247Sports

  • September 10, 2022

Is this Auburn team good by SEC standards? I don’t know. Can this Auburn team improve? Yes, and I believe it will. Can it improve enough to make some noise in the West Division? Maybe.
Since the end of last season, I have not been able establish a strong feeling about where this team is headed. And I still don’t have one. There is so much to be decided. I don’t anticipate that being changed by what happens against what should be an overmatched San Jose State team.
Saturday will be the last day for experimenting. There are no gimmes left after that game, and that even includes Western Kentucky late in the seaso
I will be curious to see if there will be more rotation on the defensive front, if wide receivers are a larger part of the game, if the defense can get more pressure on the passer, if the secondary will play tighter coverage, if the offensive line will be dominant against much stronger defensive front than it saw last Saturday. But curiosity is really all it will be. If all those things happen, that doesn’t mean they will happen a week later when Penn State comes to town.
That brings us to the position that has dominated Auburn football discussion before the season and since the victory over Mercer. What is happening at quarterback?
I certainly don’t believe Saturday’s game is some kind of test to see whether T.J. Finley or Robby Ashford starts against Penn State. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ashford, the backup, plays a bunch of snaps. Last Saturday was his first football game in two years and his first live college football action. He needs snaps.
Ashford is going to have a role, probably in every game. Who knows? There might even be a Zach Calzada sighting Saturday. Calzada’s situation remains murky and puzzling, but if there is anything to it beyond him getting beat out, it’s a well-kept secret.
Like most quarterbacks, Finley will have to play consistently well to hang on to the starting job for the long term. Whatever the quarterback plan is going to be, it must be in place before playing Penn State.
What Auburn can get out of this game is to improve in areas that were shaky against Mercer, put the game away early so younger players can get into the game. A strong finish would helpful, too, for a team that has struggled with that.
The key for this Auburn team this week and every week will be to be better than the week before. If that happens, it will have a chance to do good things. If that doesn’t happen, it will be a long and trying season.
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