Benjamin Wolk/SEC Country
Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham is jumping right into the Auburn-Alabama rivalry.

Auburn football: Jarrett Stidham shows eagerness to join in-state rivalry; a whole new Austin Wiley

Welcome to SEC Country’s daily War Eagle Wakeup, a rundown of everything happening in Auburn football and Auburn Tigers athletics with Lauren Shute. Today, we discuss Jarrett Stidham’s sly Twitter response and Austin Wiley’s superb summer. 

It’s Christmas in July in Alabama 

Quarterback transfer Jarrett Stidham is likely doing everything in his power to step into more of a leadership role in preparation for this fall.

That probably means incessant workouts and studying Auburn’s playbook, along with many other tactics. But Auburn fans will be happy to know that for Stidham, it also means jumping right into the Auburn-Alabama rivalry … even in July (and really, what more can you ask for?).

It all started when Alabama running back Damien Harris tweeted this article and statement over the weekend. Harris’ comment is in reference to the details of an Auburn professor’s pros and cons of eating roadkill.

And when Harris made a minor jab at the Crimson Tide’s rival school on Twitter, Stidham didn’t wait long to reply.

And sure, when it comes to trading jabs or poking fun at an opponent, this could be deemed tame. Still, Stidham hasn’t been on the Plains very long and the fact that he’s willing to stand up for his new program probably doesn’t hurt his standing with his new team, either.

Stidham could be a big key for Auburn as his Tigers attempt to snap a three-game Iron Bowl losing streak come November. The best part of this for fans who wear orange and blue?

There’s still a lot of time left to talk trash.


Across the pond

Remember that nice, quiet, polite freshman version of Austin Wiley? Yeah, he’s long gone.

Of course, the rising sophomore is still nice off of the basketball court, but on it? Probably best not to cross him. Wiley had a big weekend for Team USA, which is undefeated in pool play after two games.

First, Wiley totaled 5 points and eight boards in a win against Iran (and that was with a couple of foul calls and playing just a few minutes). Then, Wiley put up 16 points and grabbed 16 boards in a blowout win against Angola.

There’s lots of chatter surrounding the Auburn center, and it’s all good — all of it.

Wiley is playing with a different kind of power, explosiveness and aggressiveness than he did after joining the Auburn basketball team in December of last year.

And while the points and rebounds on the FIBA stat sheet are glaring, it’s the things that aren’t there that could actually prove more valuable.

The Hoover, Ala., native sank 8-of-12 free-throw attempts (which seems to show significant improvement) and ran the floor in a completely different way over the weekend. And then there’s the way he’s rebounding. He’s not battling through defenders or physically wearing himself down, but he’s getting put-backs at the rim. That’ll allow him to be more energized and focused on other areas of his game.

Keep following what Wiley’s up to on SEC when Team USA faces Italy in its game Tuesday.

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