I think Gary Danielson is a better in-game analyst than he is someone who dissects trends, but, damned if I don’t share his feeling about Auburn this season.
“Gus’ offense is unique in what it does,” he explained. “And what it does well is blend with a running quarterback. That’s when they run the ball the best, when they have the threat of a running quarterback.
“Jarrett Stidham and Sean White might be the best quarterback combo in the league. It is a great 1-2 punch, but neither of them fit Gus’ track record of what makes this offense go. The proving point for me is can they run the ball effectively without a threat of a running quarterback.”
Stidham’s reputation is largely built on a three-game run he had while at Baylor. Although impressive, it was in a very different offensive scheme than he finds himself in now, and it was against three sub-par defenses. While he certainly appears to be talented, his physical skills run in a much different direction than did Cam’s or Marshall’s. Count me in the group that doesn’t see him as a slam dunk.
I’m reminded by that of one other thing to keep in mind. Stidham’s run was cut short by injury. White was hurt last season. So was Pettway, Auburn’s best back. Injury-prone backfields and Malzahn’s offense aren’t happy combinations.
I admit that Auburn shows up well in advanced stats. But the schedule, with Clemson and LSU on the road and Alabama… well, Alabama anywhere, is tough (and, historically speaking, I think Bill giving Auburn a 70% chance of beating Georgia is optimistic). I’m just not sold on the Tigers the way a lot of folks are.