After weeks of waiting, Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn introduced sophomore Jarrett Stidham as the starting quarterback for the season opener against Georgia Southern.
Beating out last year’s starter, junior Sean White, Stidham has impressed Malzahn. However, Malzahn noted that White’s role on the team will be crucial in 2017 as well.
“Sean is our number two quarterback, he is a guy we have a lot of confidence in, he has definitely improved from last year,” Malzahn said.
With all eyes on the quarterback competition, Malzahn didn’t want to lose sight of the Tigers’ potentially devastating rushing attack.
“We’re going to be able to run the ball, but I expect us to be pretty balanced,” Malzahn said.
Stidham possesses physical talent Malzahn said pairs well with his work ethic.
“I think he can really stretch the field,” Malzahn said. “He can get the ball out really quick. “He’s a gym-rat as far as football goes, he’s always in the film room analyzing film.”
Malzahn added that Stidham’s 4.6 40-yard-dash time and 35-inch vertical will make him an outside-the-pocket threat as well.
“I’m feeling blessed, I’m fired
Stidham said he believes he has improved immensely since arriving on campus and attributes much of that improvement to Auburn offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey.
"In the short time that I've been here, [Lindsey] has made me a much better football
Expectations are high with some pundits slating Auburn as a dark-horse title contender. Stidham said he knows how talented the Tigers are and believes the team can do great things.
"We have a great team and I feel if do what were supposed to do and stay healthy, anything can happen," Stidham said.
Having to play at a junior college for a year after transferring from Baylor, Stidham is eager to get back on the field. In fact, Stidham recalls the exact date that he last took a snap on a college field (November, 21st 2015.)