Well, here we are. The last one. Let's finish it off right.
Causes for optimism:
Did you see the way Marshall ended the season? Sure there were some under-thrown balls (the opening drive against FSU) and some over throws (Bama), but you could argue those should have been caught. Over the final eight games, Marshall was the most efficient QB in all of college football according to whatever ESPN's QBR measures. And the word during the spring and pre-season camp has been that he has very much improved. If that's true, then the Auburn offense may be nigh unstoppable this season. Last season teams were placing eight or nine men in the box to stop Auburn's run game and daring Auburn to beat them with the pass. Auburn still ran it down their throat. Now imagine what the offense will look like if teams attempt to stop the run in that manner and leave Sammie Coates, Duke Williams, Marcus Davis, and Ricardo Louis in single coverage. It's... it's beautiful.
We know Marshall is going to sit the first part of the Arkansas game, at least. As of this writing, we still do not have an exact time table for when he will see the field. I can't imagine it being more than a half, though. In the meantime, Jeremy Johnson will likely take his place. I have no worries about this. Johnson is a different type of QB, but he can still run the football. Where he can really kill you is with his arm, though. If the running game is clicking, I expect to see Johnson air it deep at least twice per quarter (assuming Auburn gets that many possessions).
Causes for concern:
I'm not, really. I am more than confident in Marshall's ability to lead this team. I'm confident in Jeremy Johnson's ability to lead it if something happens to Marshall. The offense will evolve. There are people who think "lack of an extremely mobile QB" means the death of Malzahn's offense. Nothing could be further from the truth. Malzahn's offense doesn't rely on a mobile QB. His offense finds whatever the strength of the QB is, adjusts off that, and still proceeds to torch you. Word is that freshman Sean White has had a stellar camp, as well. He will likely redshirt, but I expect the QB situation next spring and summer to be a real battle between White and Johnson. We're going to be fine at QB this season.
Next up: Football. Next up is football. Game week is almost upon us. War Eagle.
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