HOOVER, Al (AP) – Updates from SEC Media Days
Gus Malzahn insists Auburn really does have a quarterback battle.
Baylor transfer Jarrett Stidham seems to be the odds-on favorite to win the job over returning starter Sean White.
The coach said Thursday at Southeastern Conference media days that Auburn players “know it’s a legitimate competition.” But the Tigers have struggled in the passing game the past two seasons, and White has battled injury problems.
Auburn ranked last in the Southeastern Conference and 112th nationally in passing offense last season. Malzahn acknowledged quarterback depth has been the Tigers’ Achilles heel the past two years.
Auburn played three quarterbacks in the opening loss to Clemson last season. Malzahn promises he and new offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey will have that battle settled quicker this time.
South Carolina coach Will Muschamp said finding a young star at quarterback has helped push the Gamecocks’ rebuilding plan forward.
Sophomore Jake Bentley started the final seven games of his freshman season in 2016, throwing for 1,420 yards while completing 65.8 percent of his passes. Even more importantly, South Carolina won four of his seven starts.
Muschamp said on Thursday at Southeastern Conference media days that there was “no question” Bentley’s development has been a boost for recruiting because players know “you’re going to win games.”
South Carolina finished with a 6-7 record last season, including a 3-5 mark in the SEC.
Mississippi, Auburn and South Carolina will be the final three teams at SEC media days on Thursday.
The Rebels figure to be the main attraction in Hoover – mostly because of off-the-field issues. The Rebels are in the midst of an NCAA investigation that’s lasted nearly five years, and now there are 21 alleged violations that include academic, booster and recruiting misconduct.
Adding to the off-the-field misery, former Mississippi coach Houston Nutt filed a civil lawsuit on Wednesday against the university and its athletics foundation, alleging a breach of his severance agreement because of false statements he says school officials made during the ongoing NCAA investigation.