One of those candidates — redshirt freshman Clint Moseley — said he isn’t optimistic about his chances.
Moseley has some reasons to think he might trail in the contest. Cam Newton, Barrett Trotter and Neil Caudle split reps evenly during the first half of A-Day. Moseley was the only quarterback not to play with the first-team offense or against the first-team defense.
After the scrimmage, Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn cautioned reporters not to read too much into that decision.
Moseley’s comments, however, offer a differing tale.
“Not really,” Moseley said last week, when asked if he thought it was still a four-quarterback race. “Being the younger one, I feel like I’m the least ready. ... I realize I’m at a major disadvantage.”
The previously foreign idea of sitting on the bench for two consecutive years has not sat especially well with Moseley.
As a high school quarterback, Moseley started right away for Class 2A Leroy. The only time the prolific high school passer sat out was when he had established such a dominant lead over opponents that playing him would have only been an unnecessary injury risk.
“I’ve never been second, much less fourth,” Moseley said. “I really don’t know how to handle it.
“It’d be like somebody off the street trying to learn the offense on the first day. It’s just something you’re not used to. It’s been tough for me.”
Still, Moseley seemingly handled his role as scout-team quarterback last year pretty well. He even drew rave reviews from Auburn defensive coordinator Ted Roof for his work ethic.
Before every week, Moseley would study game film of opposing quarterbacks to try to effectively simulate Auburn’s opponent in the next game.
The effusive praise from Roof put Moseley on the radar as Auburn began getting more quarterbacks reps during bowl preparation.
It was when Moseley started getting more attention from Malzahn that he realized how much he still needed to develop — as a player and mentally.
“It’s about how I handle criticism,” Moseley said. “I come from a little school. I was criticized, but not too much. I’ve never been chewed out the way I’ve been up here.
“I feel like I’m physically ready to play. Malzahn always tells me it’s the mental part of it that’s holding me back. It just never sunk in. I don’t know why.”
Moseley said he developed a bad attitude during the end of fall, which carried over into the beginning of spring.
It wasn’t until he sat down with a graduate assistant coach that Moseley changed his perception.
Now, Moseley said, he has reversed his attitude’s course and has put himself in a better spot mentally — even if he is still well behind in the quarterback competition.
“It finally sunk in: Maybe they’re yelling at me all the time every day to get me better and see how I respond to it and see if I’m growing up into a man,” Moseley said. “I bought into it. There have been a lot of positive things during the past three weeks.”While Moseley has found a more positive attitude, he hasn’t lost his drive to finish atop the Auburn depth chart.
Though he has come to terms with the fact he likely faces tough odds to becoming the starting quarterback, he said it’s not something he enjoys.
“Of course I’ll be disappointed,” Moseley said. “Not being first last year, I was disappointed. Not playing, no matter what I’m doing, if I’m not first, I’m disappointed.”