So now we OFFICIALLY know what we've known for about two weeks now – Bo Nix is the guy.
The first thing is that it is crucial to keep expectations in check. Nix is an amazing talent and a skilled footballer who has everything going for him right now. He's healthy. He has been here long enough to understand the crime and what is being asked of him. He has had enough time to establish rapport with his recipients and blockers. He knows the typical controls like the back of his hand.
With all that said, he is still a real beginner.
Only the most VETERAN Auburn supporters have ever supported a true rookie quarterback on opening day. The last? Travis Tidwell 1
Nix will make mistakes. He will get used to bad readings. He plays with a gunslinger mentality, something Malzahn has actually supported, and his aggressive attitude has allowed him to make some incredible throws during the fall camp. The kind of throws that Joey Gatewood can't make right now.
Some of these risks will be bad. Some of them will be miraculous. I have to take the good with the bad. Get it in your head now; it's going to be life with Nix at quarterback right now.
The upside? Nix is not your usual beginner. Just the other day, after the second official review, Nix held on to defensive coordinator Kevin Steele to slow his exit from Jordan-Hare Stadium. It seems Nix was confused by a certain version of Cover-2 that Steele had used during the review – Auburn had shared responsibilities and human responsibilities in an unusual way – and the beginner wanted more information on why Steele had called that call when It did he.
Most of Nix's teammates socialized after an intensely warm two hours of work. However, Nix wanted answers. So he went all the way back to the football complex with Steele and listened to everything the veteran coordinator had to say.
It's a moment of a day, for sure. But it is a moment that seems to define what gives Nix a chance to succeed at a young age. He has programmed to compete. He is driven by a strong disgust to lose, to make mistakes. His quest to be excellent in DAG has surprised most everyone in the complex. And while Nix's passing was more consistent that Gatewoods, which probably would have been enough to give a strong nod to its own merit, Nix's unstoppable search for strategic enlightenment sealed the deal. He thinks like an upper class.
That's a big plus.
Just don't expect miracles all the time. It doesn't work that way. Top-level defenses designed and run by top-level coordinators will gain the upper hand at Nix sometimes this fall. Oregon really belongs to that group. Nix has to play with confidence in Dallas and then adjust his game with the same gusto. These adjustments are not easy to make. Malzahn still thinks that Nix will be able to refine his game on the go – and he's not alone. Steele has also seen it.
Nix is the son of a former Auburn quarterback, a very good one, and has built against that moment for most of his life. He was a five star prospect. He has been remarkably consistent since entering last winter. He is named after the program's most iconic player.
If you are going to hang the hat on a child, this seems to be a good bet.
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