Gus Malzahn addresses Auburn's ongoing QB battle between Joey Gatewood and Bo Nix
Much like Alabama last year, the hot question for the Auburn Tigers this summer is about the starting quarterback.
This spring, the Tigers whittled down their four-man competition to just two candidates — true freshman Bo Nix and redshirt freshman Joey Gatewood.
At SEC Media Days on Thursday, coach Gus Malzahn weighed in on the ongoing competition. Malzahn addressed the battle during his opening remarks (via ASAPSports):
“Talking about this season offensively, our big question is is our quarterback situation,” he said. “Joey Gatewood and Bo Nix, two freshmen fighting for the position. Both of them are very athletic. They can create things when things break down. They have big-time arms. Both of them are really hungry for the job. We’ll figure out in fall camp. We’ll name a starter and figure which of those two guys gives us the best change of winning.”
About Gatewood, Malzahn praised his size and mobility:
Q. Coach, can you discuss Joey Gatewood? What are some of the things where you’ve seen him develop, and what are some of the things that you still need to see him work on?
GUS MALZAHN: Yeah. Joey, this spring, he really took the next step. Now, he broke his thumb early in the season last year, so he kind of was not in the mix. We played him a little bit in the bowl game. But you really saw a difference, a different person step up in the spring. And of course we went live one day with our quarterbacks, and that really helped a lot of things from an evaluation standpoint.
But Joey’s a big guy. He’s a big guy. He can run. He’s got a big arm. And I think he gives you a lot of versatility as a play caller.
About Nix, he praised the true freshman’s mindset entering the big-time competition:
Q. Gus, you talked about the assets of Gatewood. What about Bo Nix? What are the things you like about him?
GUS MALZAHN: Bo was a guy we recruited for a long time, like Joey. We knew a lot about him. Bo is a great competitor. A true freshman coming in. I mean, from day one when he stepped on campus, he had the mindset that he was going to be the starting quarterback, and I think that’s rare.
Him and Joey both have done a good job trying to win over their teammates, understanding that’s a big factor. But Bo’s a lot better athlete, I think, than most people give credit, and I said he’s got a chance to really be special, as does Joey Gatewood.
Who will get the start in Week 1? We’ll learn more over the course of the summer.