Here’s how Auburn OC Philip Montgomery sees the QB battle so far

Throughout the offseason Auburn head coach Hugh Freeze has said by around the fifth practice of fall camp, he wanted to begin whittling down his quarterback competition.
Monday was day four, but offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery doesn’t see anyone having separated themselves so far.
“We’ve still got a long way to go before we figure out who’s going to be our starting quarterback, but I think all of them have shown flashes,” Montgomery said Monday. “We’ve got to be a little bit more consistent.”
The battle for Auburn’s quarterback job seems to center around Michigan State transfer Payton Thorne, last year’s starter to end the season Robby Ashford and sophomore Holden Geriner. Through the two practices with open periods for media, Thorne was lined up behind the projected starting offensive line. Geriner was out with the second group on the field and Ashford third.
Thorne didn’t transfer to Auburn until after spring practices, meaning fall camp is the first any of Auburn’s coaches have been able to work with him. But Montgomery echoed the same message Freeze shared on Thorne’s induction to the roster: that he was in frequent contact with coaches over the summer to discuss film.
“You want to talk about a guy who is professional about the way he goes after his work,” Montgomery said of Thorne. “He’s another guy you have to run out of the building. He’s always watching tape. He’s always studying. He’ll text me, ‘Hey, what do I read on this? What do I read on that? I saw this on tape, how are we progressing through this?’”
But even with the time watching film, picking up on a new offense and new teammates on the field is going to take time. Montgomery said Thorne has picked up on everything that’s new fairly quickly, but still has to “be on the same page” with the rest of the offense.
Though as Thorne continues to learn, the quarterback who has seemed to show the most flashes has been Geriner.
“I think he is a natural thrower, the ball just zips off of his hands,” Montgomery said. “I think he has the ability to do some things with his feet, be able to get outside when things break down. But the best part of his game is mentally being on point with what he’s got.”
In open periods of practice, Geriner has thrown multiple deep balls with excellent touch, highlighted by a pass to Ohio State transfer Caleb Burton for a touchdown.
Because I’m sure none of you will take anything from this obviously, but the order of quarterbacks taking snaps today was Payton Thorne, Holder Geriner and then Robby Ashford.
Thought this was an especially nice throw from Geriner to new receiver Caleb Burton.
Matt Cohen (@Matt_Cohen_) August 3, 2023
On Sunday, Auburn posted a video showing another well-thrown deep ball from the sophomore.
Coming in 🔥@holdengeriner 🎯 @rivaldo_f13
— Auburn Football (@AuburnFootball) August 6, 2023
Ashford may have the most potential of the bunch because of his dynamic ability as a runner, but also the biggest question mark due to his sub-50% completion rate last season. Ashford hasn’t flashed much during open parts of practice, but Montgomery feels he’s seen Ashford improve his throwing.
His issue, though, remains to be his consistency.
“He’s been a little more consistent on his underneath stuff,” Montgomery said. “And that’s an area where he wants to improve. He’s got a big arm. But it’s the consistency of the fundamentals that kind of go into that part of it. He’s worked really hard on that.”
Montgomery also praised Ashford’s playmaking when he holds onto the ball and scrambles — a trait that will make Auburn want to have the ball in his hands and keeps him in a competition against a more polished passer like Thorne.
Auburn will have a team scrimmage in Jordan-Hare Stadium this coming Saturday. That’s where Montgomery is hoping to see someone step above the others. Montgomery said the one who wins the job doesn’t “have to be Superman,” but just needs to be the most reliable in decision-making and staying ahead of the chains.
“The quarterback that does those things at a more consistent pace will be the guy that’s gonna win the job,” Montgomery said. “Right now it’s too early to call it. I think they’re all competing. I think they’re all doing a great job of that. But we still got a little bit of time, thank goodness. And then we got to figure it out from there.”

Latest Player Notes

How a Wisconsin legend got his German protégé into Badgers pro day

Mar 15, 2024 Marlon Werthmann put his life on hold for the opportunity in front of him Friday at the McClain Center.Werthmann ...

Why former Wisconsin football running back Braelon Allen didn't run the 40 at pro day

Mar 15, 2024 Braelon Allen’s sweat covered his shirt and dripped off his beard as he approached a group of reporters Friday.The ...

How can UW recruit its best class ever? It starts with these five prospects

By Andy Yamashita Seattle Times staff reporter Jedd Fisch has lofty recruiting goals at Washington. He didn’t waste any ...

Texas football kicks off spring practice Tuesday. We answer 24 questions for the 2024 team

Things certainly look fresh for the 2024 college football season, especially on the Texas campus.There’s a new conference ...

College Football Playoff: Conferences solve their differences (for now) and agree on general framework for 2026 and beyond

The FBS conferences and Notre Dame agreed on Friday to continue the College Football Playoff beyond the 2025 season, signing ...

Ball security, leadership key as Aztecs look to identify starting quarterback

San Diego State seemingly auditions a new starting quarterback on an annual basis.In the past 12 years, the Aztecs have opened ...

Results and more: A look at what happened at Penn State football’s Pro Day inside Holuba Hall

Most of those at Penn State’s Pro Day Friday were relatively quiet throughout the afternoon’s workouts, but there was one ...

Defense dominates first two weeks of Oregon State spring practice as Beavers ready for 2-week breather

CORVALLIS – Oregon State hit the break of spring practices Saturday, not exactly the midpoint but a good place to assess ...

Dillon Gabriel to have similar input, autonomy as Bo Nix had in Oregon’s offense

Published Mar. 16, 2024, 6:26 p.m.By James CrepeaEUGENE — Dillon Gabriel will have much of the same autonomy as Bo Nix did ...

Two transfers, one underclassman who impressed in Missouri football's spring game

With that, spring camp’s a wrap.Missouri football held its Black & Gold spring game Saturday in front of a healthy crowd ...
See More Player Notes