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What Jarrett Stidham can learn from Chandler Cox
Former Baylor quarterback Jarrett Stidham is blessed with terrific arm strength. If he’s lacking in leadership or has difficulty earning the respect of his Tigers teammates as the QB competition gets going, however, the top JUCO prospect won’t be much help in 2017.
So far though, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Players in the locker room after the Tigers’ Sugar Bowl loss spoke highly of Stidham. They hadn’t seen him work out much, but they knew he was eager to get back around the team. Players picked up on the Texas native being down to Earth.
One of Stidham’s most important moves to develop his leadership role within the team may be rooming with sophomore Chandler Cox.
Cox has been one of the roster’s most positive, team-oriented players since the beginning of the season. He spends most games going against players who should overpower and outmatch him — they’re bigger, stronger and faster — yet he still finds a way to compete.
The H-back rarely, if ever, offers a bad or negative word about Auburn. He’s one of those players who seems so excited to be at his school that you can’t help but find his energy contagious. Cox will do whatever it takes to help the team win.
And that’s not a bad attitude for a new quarterback to have, either.
If Stidham comes in and earns the respect of guys like Cox — players who put all of themselves into every play and game — others will catch on quickly. That response would help Stidham demonstrate how he can be effective in 2017.
It also shows just how much Stidham loves Auburn. If he didn’t feel similar to Cox, the two probably couldn’t handle living together. It’s hard to hear someone talk about how much they love a place if you don’t feel the same way.
Of course, Stidham will have to come in and win the job on the field. He’ll have to make fewer mistakes and also make more plays. But having a close relationship with a player like Cox certainly won’t hurt.
- Auburn senior writer Charles Goldberg recapped the week through some of the Auburn Tigers’ Twitter posts.
- SEC Country’s Justin Ferguson took a look at the Tigers’ 2017 schedule.
- AL.com says Auburn running back Kamryn Pettway dealt with nagging injuries but ended the season on a high note.
- Auburn Villager says Gus Malzahn’s team ended the year on a sour note.
- SEC Country’s Benjamin Wolk explained how offensive tackle target Calvin Ashley set the record straight on Twitter, confirming his commitment to the Tigers.
- AL.com asked who will replace Carl Lawson on the Tigers’ defensive line in 2017.
- Auburn senior writer Charles Goldberg says Lawson is leaving the Plains early, but he’s taking lots of fond memories with him.
A possible turning point for Auburn hoops
Auburn basketball teams have a reputation for falling off at some point during the season. After starting the year on a tear, Bruce Pearl’s team has a crucial home game against Ole Miss on Saturday evening.
The Tigers won 10 games before Christmas for the first time in over a decade, but they’ve opened SEC play with two bad losses.
More problematic than Auburn blowing its lead against Georgia was the Tigers’ brutal loss to Vanderbilt in Nashville on Wednesday night. That particular loss was bad because the scouting report was simple (Vandy is a team who can shoot it and does often). It was an even worse loss because of how the team suffered the defeat.
Bruce Pearl’s young squad is inexperienced. That’s not an excuse, it’s a fact. Starting three freshmen is a lot. But starting four, one of whom technically should be about halfway through his senior year?
But the naivety of this team isn’t its biggest problem. Yes, the perimeter defense has been terrible, and some would say nonexistent in the last two games. A more pressing matter, however, is the team’s attitude when it comes to defense.
If this team comes out and starts hitting shots early, they don’t necessarily play better defensively, they just try harder.
The lack of effort when things aren’t going your way is a sign of a team that hasn’t played many games at the college level. It’s also a common sign of a team who hasn’t played together very long. And it’s a huge problem.
Mustapha Heron is a scorer, but the Tigers haven’t really had a pure shooter this season. There’s not one person you can count on to hit shots. At times Jared Harper has been that person. So have Danjel Purifoy and Heron. But that’s the thing: at times.
Pearl’s squad has a chance to turn things around against the Rebels. It’s arguably the most crucial game to this point and quite possibly of the year. A win against Ole Miss will change the atmosphere before the team travels to Missouri and then to Kentucky. The mindset going into those games is crucial. If they don’t show up in Rupp Arena, you may as well plan on some big-time embarrassment.
It all depends on how Auburn comes out against Mississippi. If the Tigers aren’t knocking down shots early, they need to find other ways to get going. Rebound. Get a couple of steals to get the transition game going. It’s something they’ve shown they’re capable of doing this season. But not doing it this weekend could result in a downward spiral which will be hard to recover from.
Happening on the Plains
Auburn gymnastics has its first meet Friday at Auburn Arena. The Tigers will take on Oregon State at 8 p.m. ET.
"Makes you look like a brilliant coach when they’re trying to one-up each other. But that’s the secret to success.” https://t.co/iXPqFfdrk7
— Jeff Shearer (@jeff_shearer) January 5, 2017