Auburn Spring Football Game: 5 Things That Matter
What do you need to know about what happened in the Auburn spring football game?
1. Jarrett Stidham Mania About To Kick In
It might be the SEC’s biggest question – can Jarrett Stidham make Auburn SEC-championship worthy? It was one glorified scrimmage, but he was more than amazing if Tiger fans were hoping the new guy was going to show something special.
The Baylor transfer didn’t turn it loose on the ground – the real key to running the Gus Malzahn offense correctly – but that’s coming. He was on fire with the passing attack, connecting on 16-of-20 throws for 267 yards. And two of those misses were drops.
Granted, he wasn’t hit, and he was able to get comfy and fire away, but he proved there will be a deep ball element to the attack that’s been missing from the offense for the last few years.
2. No, There Isn’t A Quarterback Controversy, But …
There are plenty of options along with Stidham. While John Franklin III is a receiver now, Sean White is eventually going to get another shot to, at least, win the No. 2 job, and new guy Malik Willis showed he might be the main man for the future. The freshman stepped in when Stidham was done, hitting 11-0f-18 passes for 157 yards. A good runner, too, he might get a longer look for a key backup role this summer.
3. No, Paul James Isn’t The Next Carl Lawson, But …
The defensive line shouldn’t be a major problem going into the season, but it’s a bit of a question mark after losing Carl Lawson on the outside and Montravius Adams on the interior. Jeff Holland and Marlon Davidson will likely be the starting defensive ends, and developing the depth around them is vital.
Enter James, who missed all of last year but turned it loose in the spring game, cranking out a sack and three tackles for loss. Give him a few more months to get his knee right, and he could turn into a decent option as a pass rushing specialist.
4. Auburn Will Win At Least One Game Because Of Its Kicker
Daniel Carlson missed a bomb of a field goal attempt in a late drill, but in live action he was on fire, nailing all five of his tries and showing off his amazing leg. While he’s not going to be the punter – that’ll likely be Ian Carlson – he also handled the job for the day, to go along with what he did to show off on field goals. He’s a weapon, and he’ll once again be a nice consolation prize for stalled drives.
5. There’s Time To Heal
Star RB Kamryn Pettway didn’t play – no reason to risk anything – meaning Kerryon Johnson got a bulk of the rushing work when Stidham wasn’t busy bombing away. Johnson ran well, with seven carries for 47 yards, but he got rolled up and injured his ankle. He left the game, but it’s not expected to be serious.
The Tigers are going to need him as part of a devastating 1-2 rushing punch. With the quarterback now in place, the Tiger backfield could be the best in the country – if everyone is healthy.