“We got something nobody else got, five letters, two words: Bo Nix — and something to prove.”
Those are just some of the lyrics from Auburn linebackers coach Travis Williams’ rap from this offseason. The video posted in May to Williams’ Twitter was a rap about his time at Auburn as both a player and coach and mentioned several current Tigers in the song.
Whether intentional or not, it is fitting that Williams ended the song with the lyrics about Nix. Even with a new offensive coordinator, replacing multiple starters on the offensive line and seeing changes in the running back room, questions about the offense will seemingly always come back to Nix at the end of the day.
Even before taking his first snaps under center at Auburn, Nix’s expectations have always seemed higher. Nix’s father quarterbacked at Auburn from 1992-95, and Nix grew up a fan of the Tigers.
Entering the 2019 season, Nix competed in a quarterback battle where the final two were Nix and Joey Gatewood. Nix won the battle and Gatewood was used throughout the season in specific situational packages and later transferred to Kentucky, Auburn’s Week 1 opponent.
As a true freshman quarterback in 2019, Nix was tasked with going up against the talented players and teams that make up the SEC.
The young quarterback had his fair share of high points in 2019, a game-winning touchdown pass to open the season, his first SEC road win and an Iron Bowl victory to top things off.
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Still, Nix was a freshman and mistakes are expected; road losses to Florida and LSU along with the vast amount of expectations can cause a quarterback to doubt himself.
“Last year, obviously, there was a lot of things going on, being a freshman, trying to win the job, trying to gain a team and be a leader in the way that I can be, perform on the field and have success,” Nix said recently on the Marty Smith’s America podcast.
Those low points and expectations had Nix feeling less confident about himself.
“Through all of that I kind of lost my confidence in a way, lost my swag, and I wasn’t the same person that I was in high school when I did have that confidence,” Nix said on the podcast.
Even if Nix wasn’t the most confident at times in 2019, he was still named the SEC Freshman of the Year as voted on by the conference’s coaches.
Head coach Gus Malzahn feels like Nix handled the pressures and the challenging schedule as well as any quarterback could.
“I don’t care whether it is Bo Nix being a true freshman or any quarterback that went through that schedule last year; that would have been tough on anybody,” Malzahn said this week. “I was unbelievably impressed with how he handled everything between the pressures and all that.”
Now in year two, the expectations around Nix are higher with multiple awards naming him to preseason watch lists including the Davey O’Brien Award and the Manning Award. Nix has also recently been named one of Auburn’s four team captains for the upcoming season.
New offensive coordinator Chad Morris understands that Nix wants to reach a higher level with his performance at QB.
“I asked him [Nix] when I first got here, ‘Do you want to be good or great?,’” Morris said earlier this month. “Obviously, he says he wants to be great, wants to be one of the best that have ever played.”
Fans will have to wait until Saturday to see if Nix can begin taking the next step toward, not only being good but great. The sophomore feels completely different heading into this season’s opener than he did as a freshman.
“Going through a 13-game schedule last year, I saw quite a bit, if not everything that I’m going to see in a career,” Nix said on Tuesday. “I’m completely different from what I was last year at this time going into Oregon. It’s literally all the little things that go into a week of preparation, just having done that already has just made me really comfortable and I feel like I’m really far ahead from where I was last year.”
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