How do you go on the road in the Southeastern Conference with a true freshman quarterback, going up against a talented team that is supported with a rabid fan base and win by a decisive margin?

No one would know how to answer this question better right now than Gus Malzahn.

Entering the season, many questioned how the Tigers would manage to open the season away from The Plains and defeat a tough Oregon team in Arlington during a national, primetime television spot. The task appeared even more challenging when you considered Bo Nix would be taking his first-ever college snaps in the game.

Auburn passed that test, thanks in large part to the heroics of Nix in the contest’s closing seconds, but the same questions lingered entering last weekend’s trip to College Station. So much for that, as the Tigers were never threatened during the 28-20 win that wasn’t as close as the final score would indicate.

So what’s Auburn’s secret to having Nix ready to play in the SEC? Malzahn gave a window into the key to having his young signal-caller up to speed in a hurry.

“You have to be a little more patient because you have to understand they are still learning. You gotta kinda put yourself in their shoes a little bit,” Malzahn said on Tuesday. “They have to be confident, there’s that fine line between making sure that they are ready — when to get on them, when to not.

“More than anything, I think for a true freshman is whoever is the playcaller or coordinator, you got to have great relationships. And they need to make sure they know you are with them; and that you have their back. I think that’s the number one thing, for a young quarterback, just to know that we are with you. Yes, you are going to make some mistakes, so what? Don’t make the same mistake twice. We believe in you and that’s really what we’ve tried to do so far.”

So far, that plan has worked to perfection for the Tigers as Auburn has gotten off to a 4-0 start to the season. After facing Mississippi State at home this weekend, the Tigers will be hitting the road for trips to Florida, Arkansas and LSU before their next home game.

While the early tests have been successful for the Tigers, the next month will really put the Malzahn’s plan to the test.