Spring Review: Quarterback

Monday, May 3, 2021

Spring Review: Quarterback

Syndication: The Montgomery Advertiser
Jake Crandall via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Auburn’s chance to compete for the SEC title this fall hinge largely on how much Bo Nix has improved.

Bryan Harsin’s very first spring practice is in the books. Over the next 2 weeks, I’ll take a look at where each position group stands as we head into the long summer off-season.

Post Spring Depth Chart

  • #10 Bo Nix | 6’3” | 214 lbs | Junior
  • #14 Grant Loy | 6’4” | 226 lbs | Senior
  • #18 Dematrius Davis | 5’10” | 202 lbs | Freshman
  • #15 Chayill Garnett | 6’2” | 229 lbs | RS Freshman

Summer Additions

  • None

Spring Review

Your take on Bo Nix’s A-Day performance is likely highly correlated to your general feelings towards Auburn’s two year starting QB. If you like Bo and think he still has the potential to live up to that 5-star ranking, you were probably encouraged by what you saw. Nix connected on a few beautiful throws, demonstrated some poise in the pocket, and didn’t have any major mistakes. If you aren’t a big fan of Bo and believe he will never come close to living up to his high recruiting ranking, nothing about A-Day likely changed your opinion. Nix still struggled to connect on anything deep in the passing game, had 2 wild scrambles that resulted in negative yardage, and averaged less than 6 yards per passing attempt.

Personally, I thought Bo was fine. It doesn’t look like he’s transformed into Joe Burrow this off-season but I also saw some improvements in some important areas like his footwork. I would have liked to have seen more explosive plays through the air especially against the 2nd team defense. However, I thought Bo managed the game pretty well and I didn’t see any seriously inaccurate passes all day.

I have Grant Loy #2 only because that appears to be what the depth chart is heading into the summer but I think most would agree that 2021 signee Dematrius Davis is probably the better bet to be Bo’s backup this season.

One of the winningest quarterbacks in Texas high school football history, Davis enrolled early to get a head start on learning Bryan Harsin and Mike Bobo’s new offense. I thought Saturday he had arguably the best throw of the day.

One of the concerns with Davis coming out of high school is his velocity. There’s no question he can get the ball to anywhere on the field but can he put enough juice on his throws to get it there quickly enough to beat the defense. When watching his tape, you sometimes notice his deep balls have a tendency to float. That won’t fly in the SEC.

This throw is exactly what you want to see from Davis. He drops this perfectly over the shoulder of Malcolm Johnson Jr. where only his WR can catch the ball. There’s also enough velocity on it to hit the speedster in stride. Davis’s future with the Tigers is a bit foggy after the coaching change but if he continues to deliver deep shots like this, he’s got a great chance at taking over for Bo down the road.

Earlier this off-season I thought it likely that Auburn might try to bring in a veteran QB from the portal to challenge Bo. I think they tried, specifically recruiting former Oregon starter Tyler Shough, but convincing someone whose likely leaving a program in order to see more playing time to come compete with a two year starter is a hard sell. So for better or worse, Bo Nix will likely be Auburn’s starting quarterback this fall.

That means this will unquestionably be his most important summer in his Auburn career as his continued development will be what decides the ceiling of this team (along with offensive line improvement). If he elevates his game and proves he can create big plays for this Tigers offense then Auburn has a chance to be a surprise team this fall. If he’s the same inconsistent player incapable of challenging elite defenses then the Tigers will be battling for 8 wins. We likely really won’t know the answer either way until the SEC schedule starts in October.

War Eagle!

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