Gus Malzahn on Auburn’s QB Situation
Coming off an 8-5 campaign in 2018, Gus Malzahn looks to get the Auburn Tigers back on a track that saw them reach the SEC Championship Game and record 10 victories in 2017.
The biggest question going into the 2019 season revolves around who will be the successor to Jarrett Stidham at quarterback. With less than six weeks until Auburn faces Oregon, redshirt freshman Joey Gatewood and true freshman Bo Nix appear to be the primary candidates for the starting quarterback position.
Gatewood totaled 28 rushing yards on three carries and attempted one pass in Auburn's Music City Bowl victory over Purdue. Meanwhile, Bo Nix enters his first season on campus after posting more than 12,000 total yards and 161 touchdowns at Pinson Valley High School while leading them to two Class 6A titles.
While there is uncertainty as to who will eventually take the starting job, Malzahn thinks the Tigers can have a good offense around either signal caller.
"I feel like we got a chance to be really good around our quarterback, not just offensively but defensively and really be able to help them grow.as they grow and get experience with the schedule that we have." Malzahn said.
The conventional wisdom on the two quarterbacks has Nix as the better passer with Gatewood as the better runner. At SEC Media Days, Auburn's head coach relayed the strengths and differences he sees in the two freshmen quarterbacks.
"I don't think there's as much differences as everybody would think. One thing I can tell you is both those guys will be true run threats from the quarterback position. They both can extend plays when things break down, and they both have outstanding arms." Malzahn said.
Whether Gatewood or Nix becomes the full-time starter, Malzahn emphasized one thing that either signal caller will bring to the position.
"One thing I will tell you that will be different is our quarterback will be a run threat." Malzahn said.
As Malzahn takes over the play calling duties on offense, he sees a running threat at the quarterback as an asset for the offense.
"I know when the quarterback is a run threat it changes everything from a defensive standpoint and it's really a lot easier to call plays too."
Auburn opens the 2019 season August 31 against the Oregon Ducks with kickoff at 6:30 PM on ABC.