Earlier this month, Hugh Freeze made headlines when he helped baptize Auburn safety Sylvester Smith.
But following the Tigers’ loss to Texas A&M on Saturday, Freeze’s role in that baptism is now being used as ammunition against him by none other than one of Auburn’s most famous alums.
“If y’all gonna be down there baptizing people, please pray for better quarterback play,” Charles Barkley told The Next Round. “Let’s get these three quarterbacks, baptize them and maybe the Lord can make them play better.”
“If y’all gonna be down there baptizing people, please pray for better quarterback play…” Charles Barkley on Auburn’s QB play pic.twitter.com/ivSSUjfjoN
— The Next Round (@NextRoundLive) September 27, 2023
As Barkley alluded to, Auburn played three quarterbacks against Texas A&M, with neither Payton Thorne, Holden Geriner nor Robby Ashford finding much success. The three quarterbacks combined to go 9-for-23 for 56 yards in what was ultimately a 27-10 loss.
Rather than place blame on any of the three signal-callers, however, Sir Charles directed his ire at Freeze — a head coach he said he’s “all in” on.
“The one thing you can’t do as a coach, you can’t have your quarterbacks playing scared. You can’t have your quarterback playing scared and looking over his shoulder,” Barkley said. “You can’t play three quarterbacks, you can’t play two quarterbacks. Because that’s the most important position in sports, but the number one thing you have to have as a player is confidence in yourself to make good plays and good bad plays. If you are scared to make bad plays, you can’t make good plays. And right now, they’re in no man’s land.”
Barkley went on to reiterate a message he said he recently shared with the son of his Inside the NBA co-host, Kenny Smith: “A coach can’t give you confidence, but he can take your confidence.”
As for Freeze, it appears the the first-year Tigers head coach will continue to rely on Thorne as his starting quarterback. But Freeze has yet to commit to making the Michigan State transfer his full-time signal-caller. Sitting at 3-1 on the season, Auburn will have its hands full trying to turn its passing game around on Saturday when the Tigers host No. 1 ranked Georgia.