Inside Auburn QB’s plan against Missouri

Auburn (2-1, 0-0 SEC) quarterback Robbie Ashford will start Saturday (11 a.m. CT ESPN) against Missouri (2-1, 0-0) at Jordan Hare. Ashford and the Tigers are looking to open the Southeast Conference table with a win coming out of an embarrassing home loss to Penn State.

TJ Finley won the first job in fall camp, but was put on the bench last week in the third quarter against Penn State after a interception and lost confusion. Ashford filled Finley’s place, finishing the game with a 144-yard pass and a 29-yard rushing in a 41-12 loss. Earlier this week, AL.com first reported that Finlay would be out of commission in a Missouri game due to a shoulder injury.

Texas A&M transfer quarterback Zach Calzada had the opportunity to compete for the start of the week against Ashford, but told coach Brian Harsin on Monday that he is considering opting for end-of-season surgery.

Read more Auburn Football: What Brian Harsin said (and didn’t say) about Auburn’s QBs getting into SEC playing on ‘Tiger Talk’

Sources: TJ Finlay out with injury in Missouri game

3 questions for Brian Harsin before the Missouri game –

Ashford has had the majority of first-team representatives this week, according to a source, while freshman Holden Gerner also got first-team time and is ready to play against Missouri on Saturday. Gerner spent extra hours in the football facility watching movies and working with recipients to prepare for his increased role in attack.

“This guy can put the pressure on him,” Auburn-based traffic snob Marcus Harris said of Gerner this week. “The first week he was on the scouting team, he was just dripping receivers, and he’s a very good midfielder. With time at Auburn I feel he’s going to be great. He has one of the best balls I’ve seen, and I think he’s going to be great.”

Harrison and offensive coordinator Eric Kezo won’t get along with the quarterback rotation as they did with Finlay and Ashford. However, with the Tigers down two scholarship quarterbacks with Finley indefinitely and Calzada out of the season, the prospect of Geriner getting a job is strong.

Auburn could work with Gerner depending on the match situations against Missouri regardless of Ashford’s performance. Several people on the show expressed confidence that Geriner would be ready if Harsin and Kiesau asked her out.

Playing as a freshman quarterback is a challenge, but Gerner’s talent could make him the rare quarterback who can succeed early on.

“I have great confidence in Holden and the way he carries himself,” Harris said. “He carries himself like a professional already. He stays after practice with the players and different receivers and passes the ball. Even after practice, even though he’s not playing now, he still does that kind of thing.”

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