Does Kiehl Frazier Need To Start?
One man who has come under some criticism lately is Barrett Trotter, the junior Quarterback has started just four games so far and has already come under fire because he isn’t Cam Newton. I did say coming into the year that Barrett is no Cam, he doesn’t hold Cam’s running and cutting ability, his cannon arm or his sheer toughness (hence Barrett’s past injuries).
So far my personal opinion of Barrett is that all in all he hasn’t actually been that bad. He has made some decent throws downfield but has also been prone to making dangerous mistakes, such as staring down a receiver which led to interceptions against Mississippi State and Florida Atlantic. He is being looked at as the scapegoat for an offense that hasn’t been producing like it did last year. But is Trotter the problem or is he really being treated as the scape goat?
What we have seen from Kiehl Frazier so far has been positive, he is clearly a decent runner but we haven’t seen much passing from him just yet. He did throw one pass to Blake against Florida Atlantic, which was dropped, had he held on it would have been a touchdown.
Auburn fans have been pondering whether the offense would work better with Frazier, he clearly has the best running ability of any of our quarterbacks and he has so far been used in itty bitty doses which has resulted in big gains on offense. If you watched the Florida Atlantic game last week, you could see how giving Frazier snaps really helped move the offense. When he ran with it, it resulted in big gains the same way it worked with Cam last year. He brings a dimension to the offense that we don’t have with Trotter. Have you ever seen Trotter directly run the ball out of the snap? Of course not, because he doesn’t have that ability and Gus knows that. Trotter is by no means a bad quarterback, but Frazier’s ceiling is much higher than Trotter’s is. That’s a fact.
The truth is that Frazier’s run abilities make the offense better and harder to defend. Teams know that Trotter doesn’t have the running abilities of Cam or Frazier so they stack up on wide receiver’s and cover them, which is probably why Trotter struggled to find anyone open last week. I’m not going to babble on about offensive strategies because you know that we have more success with a proven runner, than a quarterback that can’t.
So the question remains, when do we finally decided to give Frazier a start? I think if he was ready to start the coaches would have done it by now, we are seeing more and more of Frazier as the season rolls on and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was starting by business end of the season, although you never know. It was cool to see Kiehl run through the middle for the big gains last saturday, and we recruited him because of that ability, as well as his passing abilities (which are not yet fully tested). It did remind me a little of Cam last year, although no one needs to put that weight on his shoulder’s right now.
I’ve seen some compare this situation to Cox/Burns of 2007, we used Burns a little bit in 2007 and he lost the starting job to Todd in 2008, though Burns played the rest of the season when Todd got injured. The only difference between now and then, is that Gus Malzahn is our offensive co-ordinator, not Tony Franklin. Get your head of of the gutter.
Should we give more snaps to Frazier to open up the offense? It clearly works better with a runner at quarterback which is why we are recruiting guys like Frazier and Pike. Both have the ability to run, which is what this offense needs. I’m not calling for Trotter to be benched, because that isn’t up to me nor any other Auburn fan. When it comes down it, Malzahn will do what is best for the offense.
So what do you think? When do you think it’s time to give Frazier a start, or should we continue to bring him along slowly and work him towards next season? There is no reason to rush Frazier since he is only a freshman, but consider how the offense might suffer in the mean time if we don’t.