With Auburn’s season opener two days, a lot of the attention will be on the play of transfer quarterback Jarrett Stidham, who was brought in during the offseason and expected to revive the passing game that has been troublesome the past two seasons.
There is at least one man who still thinks that maybe Sean White, who started last season when not injured, should be the first to take the field against Georgia Southern, and his opinion has a lot of weight around the Tigers program.
“I think Sean White is as good a quarterback as Stidham,” former Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville told Mike Heim on WNSP 105.5 FM.
White, who took over as starter halfway through his freshman season in 2015, has been good for the Tigers, but his ability to stay on the field has been a problem. Even when fully healthy, Auburn tended to depend on a heavy dose of run, with White playing more game manager than an actual threat to take a game over.
Stidham is a different animal in that he has the ability to throw any pass he wants and turn new offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey’s offense into a balanced attack.
“Now, they’re putting all the pressure on this quarterback. That’s an awful lot. They had a good football team last year.”
That pressure started as soon as Stidham announced he would be joining the Tigers last December, and it might be too much for a player that has only seen action in ten total collegiate games; playing for Baylor before sitting out 2016 due to the transfer rule. He was assumed the starter since day one, but did have to beat out White and upcoming freshman Malik Willis to officially earn the job.
Even Malzahn agrees that White has the talent to be a star.
“Sean White could start for a whole lot of teams in this league,” Malzahn said after naming Stidham the starter.
Unfortunately for White, one of those teams is not Auburn, as Stidham has come in with much hype and become a leader; not just on offense but the team as a whole.
An injury to Stidham or an underperformance by him, White will be right there ready to come in and prove himself again.
If he succeeds, Tuberville will look like a smart man.