Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham has made his decision and will return to the Plains for the 2018 season! I always thought he would make the decision to stay, but you just never know.
Stidham said, “I feel like coming back and being at Auburn is going to be the best thing for me. I feel like there is a lot of unfinished business for me. This year, we were really close to being where we wanted to be as a team. I didn’t like that taste in my mouth. I want to come back and finish what we started.”
Very well stated, in my opinion.
Stidham did not have a particularly bad year. I mean, he threw for 3,158 yards and actually led the SEC in completion percentage at 66.5%. He had 18 TD passes against 6 interceptions with, unfortunately, two of those coming in the Peach Bowl. His passer rating of 150.99 is good enough for 4th in the SEC. BUT, he did fumble in four, count them, four consecutive games. This includes the fumble in the Peach Bowl but doesn’t count the pick-six, which virtually assured Auburn of a loss.
Please don’t take the above comments the wrong way. I am extremely happy to have a veteran quarterback in Jordan-Hare Stadium this year. I’m very happy that Stidham made the decision he did. The above negativity, if you want to call it that, is merely facts. The offensive line played into those fumbles and interceptions. The UCF defense played a part as it came to Atlanta to PLAY.
But, having Stidham back is at least part of a foundation upon which an offense can be built.
As for other unfinished business, there is still a National Signing Day approaching just about a month from now, Auburn has others who are already committed and some still being chased.
Auburn did get some spotlight on the national stage when 4* WR Anthony Schwartz made his commitment to Auburn.
TET will still have an open thread hosted by yours truly on Signing Day. I will give, as best I can, a preview, and I will, of course, have a summary thereafter. But, like AubTigerman, I am going to miss the “circus.”
Acid Reign did a really good piece following the new “early signing day,” so I will only provide a brief reminder of that. We have gained some new commits, and let’s hope these guys follow through with letters of intent and, even more importantly, academically eligibility.
Unfinished business, again, so easily relates to the 2017 season. Auburn lost to Clemson in a close game. That’s no big deal, really. Now comes LSU. My feeble brain cannot find any excuse for that one. But, following that, Auburn went on a tear, both on offense and defense, that we rarely witness. This culminated in wins over Number 1 Georgia and Number 1 Alabama.
And this is where the “unfinished business” rears its ugly head.
Auburn wins the SEC West and heads to Atlanta to face, yet again, a team it has already beaten. But, at home, not on the road. Different situation and different outcome.
Then, a really good New Year’s Six bowl game invite to the Peach Bowl—yes, Atlanta, but still a really good bowl. And, Auburn didn’t, well, you know.
So now, the “unfinished business” is all on Auburn. You have a starting quarterback returning, some really decent recruits already signed (some of whom were able to participate in bowl practices), and some who are committed but not yet signed. Additionally, on the unfinished business list is the hiring of an athletic director to replace Jay Jacobs. Some names have been released as no longer being in contention, but we don’t know all of the other names on the search committee’s list.
I spoke briefly with President Leath prior to the Peach Bowl, but of course I received the expected “coach-speak” as it related to a new AD. He did say he “..hopes to have someone by mid-January.”—his exact words spoken to me directly.
There are other areas that have “unfinished business” such as building a new offensive line or, at least, a revamped one given the attrition; H-Back, RB, etc. All of these have to be addressed on the side of the line controlling the ball.
I have no doubts about Marlon Davidson and Derrick Brown—they are solid—but losing Carlton Davis and Jeff Holland will require someone to step up in a big way. Let’s not forget Tray Matthews as he will be missed. Time for the younger guys to “step it up” and get it done.
I don’t have ill will toward any single player that chose the NFL route. That’s why they played college football. Having good players opt for the NFL draft and then end up playing NFL football helps Auburn with recruiting.
With all this said, however, the “unfinished business” with which I’m most concerned is the coaching staff.
Yes, I love the stability aspect, but it goes beyond that. The coaching staff has to have a solid game plan, has to be able to make adjustments (sometimes on the fly, especially at halftime), and HAS to have the team ready to play regardless of the time, location, turf, etc. Coaches, this is YOUR job!
Do this and there won’t be any “unfinished business” when you’re holding that CFP National Championship Trophy over your head.
WAR EAGLE EVERYONE!!