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July 7, 2008

FREE: Freshman quarterback ready if needed

Tony Franklin has no illusions about playing quarterback in the SEC, calling it the toughest position for an incoming freshman to play.

But Barrett Trotter is not your everyday true freshman.

"He's been in the offense for three years so he's not like a normal freshman coming in," said Franklin, Auburn's first-year offensive coordinator. "He knows everything right now and the only thing he has to do is adjust to the speed."

Birmingham's Briarwood Christian installed the Franklin spread offense a few years ago and Trotter has mastered it over the last three seasons, throwing for 7,968 career yards and 88 touchdowns.

Since arriving a month ago, Trotter has already made a big impression on many of Auburn's veterans. Senior wide receiver Robert Dunn called Trotter one of the biggest surprises this summer.

"Just coming in and stepping on the field the first day of 7-on-7's and knowing the plays and being able to walk up there and call them, that makes a big difference and is a big help," said Trotter. "I think it surprised some people for a freshman quarterback to come in and do that."

Trotter has certainly caught the eye of junior quarterback Chris Todd.

"I like Barrett a lot," said Todd. "He's a real good guy and real knowledgeable. He has a good, live arm. He listens and learns a lot. I try to help him out as much as I can."

Heading into the fall, Todd and sophomore Kodi Burns are locked in a battle for starting quarterback position. At the very least, Trotter wants to make sure he's ready if needed.

"I think it's just going to depend on how Chris and Kodi do and how I do as well," said Trotter. "If they step up and do the job they need to do, they'll be able to lead the team.

"At the same time, if they need me to step in at any point, hopefully I'll be ready for that."

With Todd close to being fully recovered from the shoulder issues that plagued him in the spring and Burns apparently putting behind the inconsistencies he experienced as a true freshman last year -- completing just 38.5 percent of his passes -- it appears unlikely Trotter will be needed this fall.

But if Todd's shoulder issues crop back up or Burns falters, Franklin knows he has at least one more option he can depend on.

"I wouldn't be shocked if (Trotter) played," said Franklin.

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