How Auburn WR Camden Brown sees the QB battle so far

By Matt Cohen |
Now in the second week of preseason practices, Auburn’s quarterback competition has revealed the anticipated final three of Michigan State transfer Payton Thorne, sophomore Robby Ashford and redshirt freshman Holden Geriner.
They’ve been throwing to a constantly rotating wide receiver room and Camden Brown, who as only a sophomore is suddenly one of the most experienced receivers on Auburn’s roster, has seen what differentiates each of them.
“The quarterbacks that I’ve been seeing lately, they’ve been good, they’ve never been too high and never been too low,” Brown said. “They’ve been in the middle lately and all of them are composed and I love seeing them grow.”
Brown already has game experience with Ashford as he became the starter at the end of 2022, and has a familiarity with Geriner coming in with the same freshman class. Thorne, as he is for everyone on the roster, is a new arm for Brown to build chemistry with.
Though it’s actually Thorne’s legs that have surprised Brown the most. Brown said Thorne was faster than he expected. And because of Throne’s background as a starter in the Big Ten, Brown has seen a quarterback that is an effective communicator.
“He’s smart, he’s a smart quarterback and I don’t see why Michigan State people be sleeping on him,” Brown said. “I love him as a person as well too, he’s a good dude.”
And while Brown has been impressed by Thorne — known as a consistent passer — and his ability to run, he said he’s seen improvement from Ashford — who’s actually known for his running — in his throws.
Brown called Ashford a playmaker, and that Ashford has seemed more relaxed and comfortable than in his first year with Auburn. The playmaking ability showed itself in flashes last season. What Auburn needs to see more of for Ashford to win the job is consistent accuracy coming off a year where he completed only 49% of his passes.
In practice periods open to the media, Ashford has shown flashes of improvement in throwing, and Brown said he’s seen the same.
“His deep balls are getting very, very better,” Brown said. “He threw a corner route to (tight end Rivaldo Fairweather) and I was like, ‘Woah. That was really, really good for sure.’”
Brown and Geriner have a close relationship being in the same class. They get on each other, Brown said, when they need to play better at practice.
But what stands out to Brown is Geriner’s accuracy.
“Holden is getting better,” Brown said. “I’m talking about any ball you need, it’s there.”
In fact, Brown said all of the quarterbacks have shown an accountability level and leadership level Auburn hasn’t previously had. That came in summer workouts when there were no coaches to look to.
Working with the quarterbacks before preseason practices also meant the adjustment to Thorne’s addition was quicker, having already seen what his spirals look like, but also building chemistry with whichever quarterback ends up as the starter.
“All of them just like run to me, ‘OK, Cam you’ve got to get better at this,’ Brown said. “It’s just a step-by-step thing. Over the summer, we’ve been getting after it like every day and I feel like that’s what this offense, it helped us.”

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