Straight from the head coach himself, Auburn officially has a starting quarterback nineteen days out from kickoff between the Tigers and Georgia Southern.
For the reaction from around the Auburn writers, you can read below. They’ll all tell you pretty much the same thing. Stidham beat out incumbent starter Sean White and incoming freshman Malik Willis for the job through the first couple of weeks of practice.
The transfer from Baylor’s got all the skills necessary not only to play quarterback in the SEC, but to excel at quarterback in the SEC. To be honest, it seemed like this news was a foregone conclusion from the time Stidham came to Auburn. His play in the A-Day game left Auburn fans dazzled with his arm strength and decision-making skills, as well as his running abilities.
He was even listed in the top fifteen of odds for Heisman Trophy candidates this season, and in the precious practice videos we’ve gotten to see, he’s got a great rapport with his teammates and possesses the leadership qualities to unite a team. Plus, Chip Lindsey’s offense seems a perfect fit for Stidham, making the most of his passing abilities while still keeping the bread and butter run game that Auburn’s been known for.
Jarrett Stidham named Auburn's starting quarterbackhttps://t.co/CaejSwI9l0— James Crepea (@JamesCrepea) August 14, 2017
Jarrett Stidham named Auburn’s starting quarterback https://t.co/RxmZzduq7K— Josh Vitale (@AUBlog) August 14, 2017
The announcement still raises a few questions, however. What happens to Sean White? Obviously with him healthy, Auburn’s got maybe the top backup quarterback in the SEC. White was extremely efficient when he was healthy last year, and even when he wasn’t at full strength he led a game-winning drive against Vanderbilt.
We saw what happened when Auburn didn’t have a capable backup the last couple of seasons, especially last year when Auburn scored just 19 total points in defeats At Georgia and at Alabama. White gives the Tigers that extra boost and actual security at the position that the Tigers probably haven’t had since Nick Marshall was backed up by Jeremy Johnson (when he was still very good).
And as far as the future goes for Auburn, coaches were pleased with how well Malik Willis fared this fall in practices, so he’ll be on the radar in coming years once Stidham and White have gone.
Altogether, this news isn’t unexpected. Most fans have put Stidham in the starting column in ink since he stepped on campus. Now it’s good to have one less question in fall practice, and the team can really start to rally around their starting quarterback as opposed to wondering who’ll be under center.
The receivers can get used to Stidham throwing to them, the offensive line can get accustomed to what Stidham may do while he’s in the pocket, and the backs can all take handoffs from him like it’s second nature.
All in all, now the coaching staff can focus on the offensive line starters, shoring up the running back rotation, and a couple of other things like naming a punter and a cornerback starter.
This is awesome news for the Tigers, and I know none of us can wait to see what Stidham does in his debut. We’ve all already got Cam-like expectations going in, but if he looks great, watch out. It’ll be, as the kids say, lit.