Ever since the arrival of former Baylor quarterback Jarrett Stidham, optimism has been running wild on the Plains. A former Auburn head coach is bringing that back down to earth.
On Tuesday morning on SEC Now, Gene Chizik made his feelings about the Stidham hype crystal clear.
“I don’t like it. I don’t like it. I don’t like the pressure that’s been put on a guy to be the savior of Auburn football,” Chizik said. “And we haven’t really seen a sample size big enough to even know whether he can play college football.”
Not long after that statement, anchor Peter Burns mentioned Jeremy Johnson, who became a popular pick to win the 2015 Heisman Trophy. Johnson never even came close to that lofty bar.
Like Johnson, Chizik feels a lot of unwarranted praise is being pulled from a rather limited résumé, especially considering where Stidham’s experience under center comes from.
“You’ve seen this act before,” Chizik said. “And granted (Stidham) came out of high school and he was a great quarterback. He’s played three games at Baylor as a starter, obviously he did some nice things, but the defenses he faced at Baylor in the Big 12 are much different than the ones he’ll face here (in the SEC) in scheme and in speed.”
Chizik also feels like coach Gus Malzahn won’t stray too far from his brand of offense.
“Let’s remember this: Gus’ offenses have been the most successful when he runs the football and has a running quarterback, so where is that dynamic going to play? He’s got two great tailbacks, and they’re going to run the ball. They ran for 270 a game last year. I don’t like the pressure. I think Gus is really going to have to manage the expectations of what everybody is saying.”