The Auburn Tigers wrapped up preseason camp Sunday with a light practice for the veterans and some situational work for the backups.
Now, Gus Malzahn and his coaching staff are evaluating the entirety of those 14 practices and putting together a depth chart. They’ll have to decide on a starting lineup, first players off the bench and those young players who can provide an impact on special teams.
Some positions are forgone conclusions like the offensive and defensive lines, secondary and kickers. However, the announcement everyone is waiting on with bated breath concerns the quarterback.
As I write this, no announcement has been made, but I feel confident in believing Bo Nix will be the Tigers starting QB. That, of course, goes against what I said a mere two weeks ago, but I’ve clearly matured a lot during those two weeks.
If (or when) Nix is, indeed, officially given the keys to the car, he will be the first true freshman to start the season for Auburn in a very long time. Freshman have played from time to time, but winning the job and starting the season is a different thing entirely.
Stan White started as a redshirt freshman in 1990 and was the starter for four straight years. Auburn stunk in ’91 and ’92, but that wasn’t necessarily White’s fault.
Gabe Gross started in 1998 as a freshman and the Tigers won three football games. Jason Campbell started as a freshman in 2001 but lost the job to Daniel Cobb later in the season. Kodi Burns played sparingly as a freshman in 2007 and poor freshman Jonathan Wallace was thrown to the wolves in the 2012 Iron Bowl to finally bury the most wretched Auburn season in modern history.
Jeremy Johnson got one start as a freshman in 2013, but only because Nick Marshall was banged up. Finally, redshirt freshman Sean White started games in 2015 after Johnson lost his confidence. That’s a roundabout way of saying there’s usually good reason freshmen haven’t started at Auburn. The end result has rarely ever been successful.
Auburn was going to end up with a freshman starter either way the competition went this year, so I would be saying the same thing if Joey Gatewood won the competition.
Nix wasn’t a good high school quarterback, though; he was a phenomenal high school quarterback. He broke practically every passing record in Alabama history and was considered one of the top recruits in the entire country.
Nix was named after Bo Jackson. If a kid has ever been born to play quarterback at Auburn University, it’s Bo Nix.
He has mountains of potential and is better prepared to play SEC football as a freshman than possibly any quarterback the Tigers have ever recruited.
I believe every word I just said is true. I also believe Auburn expects to compete for championships every year. I also truly believe it is unfair and probably unrealistic to expect a true freshman to lead the Tigers to a championship.
It can certainly be done and Nix may very well be the man to do it, but it’s still unfair to expect it. It’s not much fun to be realistic, but like I said, I’ve matured a lot in two weeks.