What needs to happen for Payton Thorne to establish himself as Auburn’s starting quarterback?
Richard Silva, advertiser in Montgomery
Texas’s College Station Is Auburn football mired in another controversy around its quarterback?
Coach Hugh Freeze should respond to that query, but he isn’t ready to share his thoughts on the matter at this time.
“Well, I don’t want to play a lot of quarterbacks,” Freeze remarked following his team’s 27-10 loss to Texas A&M on Saturday.”I definitely don’t want to watch the movie and sit here making a lot of assumptions. Open folks were here. And it appeared that we either missed them or were preoccupied by the demand. I need to view the movie to find out exactly what was happening to cause that.
For whatever reason, we were just not effective at all in our attempts to find open receivers with the ball when we had them. There might have been pressure. We’ll have to examine everything to find out. We were undoubtedly having trouble with that facet of the game, which led to numerous bad plays.”
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In August, Thorne was appointed Auburn’s starting quarterback by Freeze, who had removed him from the transfer portal in May. The hope was that Thorne, a 29-game collegiate veteran and former Michigan State captain, would offer enough stability to at least field a competitive team in his first season on the Plains.
It is still possible. In the game against Samford, which is undoubtedly a far cry from Texas A&M and the other SEC teams the Tigers will soon face, Thorne showed off his ability with both arms and legs, becoming the first Auburn quarterback to rush for 100 yards or more and throw for 200 yards or more since Nick Marshall in 2014.
However, Thorne responded by hitting six of his twelve throws for 44 yards in the Aggies game. Robby Ashford, the backup quarterback, got substantial reps and even had complete drives with the offence in the second half. He was sacked five times.
Whether Freeze is willing to admit it or not, Thorne’s position as the starter isn’t secure. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have travelled to Ashford in search of a spark.
It raises the question of what Thorne needs to do to keep Ashford and redshirt freshman Holden Geriner at bay, who Freeze claimed on September 13 are “nipping at his heals.”
It begins with keeping the ball safe.
While Thorne did not commit a turnover in the game against Texas A&M, he did throw two interceptions in the games against Samford and Cal, and he mishandled the ball during the first drive of the match against the Golden Bears.
Correctly interpreting the run-pass option is the next step. Without at least seeing the movie, it’s hard to judge if Thorne made the right reads, and it’s challenging for a fan to decide because only the coaching staff and huddle members are aware of which plays were preset reads and which were genuine RPOs.
In any case, seizing the opportunity when it presents itself is the last stage.
There weren’t many against the Aggies, but one particularly memorable one occurred in the second quarter when Thorne failed to convert a wide-open Jay Fair into a score.
Early in the second quarter, the Tigers would have led 7-6 after a touchdown and an extra point. Perhaps it would have been irrelevant to the remaining distance. It’s possible that the receivers would still be struggling to haul down contested passes and that the offensive line would have continued to permit edge pressure.
Yet Thorne must demonstrate that the errors are not his own. It is essential to his initial duty.
As for FAQs and answers:
Q1: Is Payton Thorne Auburn’s starting quarterback?
A1: Yes, Payton Thorne was named Auburn’s starting quarterback by Coach Hugh Freeze in August.
Q2: Has Payton Thorne performed well in recent games?
A2: Thorne had a strong performance against Samford, showcasing both passing and rushing abilities. However, his performance against Texas A&M was less impressive.
Q3: Why is there competition for Thorne’s position?
A3: Coach Freeze mentioned that backup quarterbacks Robby Ashford and Holden Geriner are “nipping at his heels,” indicating competition for the starting role.
Q4: How can Thorne improve his game?
A4: Thorne should work on ball security, correct execution of run-pass options, and seizing opportunities to make plays.
Q5: Are there concerns about Thorne’s decision-making?
A5: Thorne’s decision-making, particularly in RPO plays, is under scrutiny, but it’s challenging for fans to assess without full knowledge of the play calls.
Q6: Did Thorne have turnovers in recent games?
A6: Thorne threw two interceptions in games against Samford and Cal, and there was a mishandling of the ball in one instance against Cal.
Q7: What is the current state of Auburn’s offense?
A7: Auburn’s offense is struggling, as evidenced by its performance against Texas A&M, where it faced difficulties in finding open receivers and protecting the quarterback.
Q8: How significant is Thorne’s role in Auburn’s success?
A8: Thorne’s performance as the starting quarterback is crucial to Auburn’s success, as his ability to lead and make plays impacts the team’s overall performance.
Q9: Are there any notable achievements by Thorne?
A9: Thorne became the first Auburn quarterback to rush for 100 yards and pass for 200 yards in a game since Nick Marshall in 2014.
Q10: Is Coach Freeze considering alternatives to Thorne?
A10: Coach Freeze has given substantial reps to backup quarterback Robby Ashford, suggesting that Thorne’s position as the starter isn’t secure, and there’s competition for the role.