Auburn’s Stidham plays largely spectator role in spring
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Jarrett Stidham threw a few passes in 7-on-7 drills before Auburn’s spring game and then headed to the sideline as a spectator and “encourager”.
Stidham’s role Saturday pretty much summed up his spring. The Tigers’ starting quarterback opened it with his left arm in a sling after surgery to repair a partially torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder that bothered him most of last season.
Stidham was limited in spring practice, which concludes Tuesday, and spent much of it observing and working with his young backups.
“Obviously, I love playing. But it’s nice to kind of sit back and kind of see everything from Coach (Gus) Malzahn’s perspective,” said Stidham, adding that he was injured against Missouri a month into the season.
“I would always be back behind everything with him during practice, so I’m kind of able to see what exactly he’s seeing. We talk about things. It was kind of good to get that coach’s perspective.”
It’s a positive spin on a spring that did limit Stidham’s ability to build on his first season as a starter, when he passed for 3,158 yards and 18 touchdowns.
He led the Tigers to the Southeastern Conference championship game with upsets of national runner-up Georgia and eventual champion Alabama .
Stidham said he’s been able to start running over the past few weeks and noted the importance of summer workouts.
“I need to put on some muscle, put on some weight,” said the 6-foot-3 Stidham, who’s listed at 214 pounds. “I need to get around 220 and keep what little speed I have.”
Here are some things to know about Auburn’s spring and A-Day:
SHORT-HANDED OFFENSE: Auburn’s offense was also without tailback Kam Martin, who appears to be the leading candidate to replace Kerryon Johnson . He sat out with a hamstring injury. “We know what we’re getting with Kam and he’s had a very good spring,” Malzahn said.
Top wide receiver Ryan Davis also was held out with a hamstring injury.
No surprise that the defense dominated much of the spring game. Freshman quarterback Joey Gatewood’s Orange team beat Malik Willis and the Blue team 18-10.
“There’s no concern but I will tell you this: Our defense has a chance to be really good,” Malzahn said.
INJURIES: Centers Kaleb Kim and Nick Brahms both missed the scrimmage with injuries. Wide receivers Eli Stove and Will Hastings are both recovering from knee surgeries for injuries sustained during the spring.
BACKUP QBS: Neither player vying for Stidham’s backup job had good numbers. The sophomore Willis completed 8 of 20 passes for 45 yards with some overthrows on deep balls and a fumble. Gatewood, who enrolled in January, finished with zero yards on 4-of-12 passing. He also was sacked by Nick Coe for a safety.
MVPS: The MVP honors for offense, defense and special teams went to walk-on tailback C.J. Tolbert, Coe and kicker Anders Carlson, who’s succeeding his All-American brother Daniel. Tolbert had a 79-yard run while Carlson made all four field goal attempts, including a 53-yarder, albeit it without a rush.
DOUBLE DUTY: Noah Igbinoghene has been working much of the spring at cornerback as well as receiver, where he spent last season. Tailback Devan Barrett has also been logging time at receiver, where the Tigers have been hard hit by injuries.