Friday, November 2, 2012
SEC: Who will transform tomorrow?
By Edward Aschoff
Saturday is a chance for Auburn to take a positive step forward.
The season has been a mess. The Tigers are 1-7, own the SEC's worst offense and have the second-worst defense in the league. Coach Gene Chizik and athletic director Jay Jacobs are feeling the heat as a program that won the national championship in 2010 is sinking deeper and deeper in the SEC.
But this weekend will bring some smiling faces to the Plains. Not only will the Tigers gain their second win of the season when New Mexico State comes to town, but they'll also officially find their new quarterback in true freshman Jonathan Wallace.
We'd heard about him in fall camp. He's received praise from players and coaches about his athleticism and practice habits before. Some thought he might have a legitimate chance of really competing for the starting spot at the beginning of the season. The staff went instead with Kiehl Frazier as Clint Moseley dealt with a shoulder injury.
Well, better late than never.
It's Wallace's time, and after an impressive showing last week in relief duty (122 passing yards and two touchdowns/71 rushing yards) he'll show everyone that he can lead this Auburn team.
Wallace has all of the physical tools to be a solid player and he'll provide a spark with his ability to pass and throw. He'll also take advantage of a New Mexico State defense that is giving up 460.9 yards per game (102nd nationally) and 265.8 passing yards per game (99th).
Wallace works like a veteran away from the field. He's meticulous in his film study and in the way he buries his head in his playbook. He knows that playbook and he's been waiting for a while to show everyone just how well.
Some think Wallace should have been handed the keys to Auburn's offense much earlier, but with all this time to sit back and watch and learn and study, Wallace will be more than ready to take on New Mexico State.
He might show nerves early with that home crowd looking down on him, but he'll eventually settle into a nice rhythm. Once he gets going, the Tigers might really have quarterback controversy on their hands.