Gus Malzahn explains decision to not use backup QB Joey Gatewood in loss to Florida
Joey Gatewood had appeared in Auburn’s previous three games, giving the Tigers a different look in short-yardage situations. However, in the Tigers’ 24-13 loss at Florida on Saturday, Gatewood never made it onto the field.
Even as quarterback Bo Nix struggled while Auburn got blanked in the second half, Tigers coach Gus Malzahn didn’t consider replacing the true freshman with Gatewood, a redshirt freshman.
“Not full time, but he did have a package,” Malzahn told the media, per AL.com’s Tom Green. “Looking back there were probably a couple of things that we could have got him on the field a few times as a change of pace, but not as far as every-down quarterback.”
Malzahn’s decision to mix in Gatewood in past weeks was praised by some analysts, as it added another dimension to Auburn’s offense. In the Tigers’ 28-20 win at Texas A&M on Sept. 21, Gatewood even threw a 6-yard touchdown pass.
Perhaps Gatewood could have helped Auburn’s offense again Saturday, when the Tigers had 269 yards of total offense and committed four turnovers. They didn’t score after Nix’s 32-yard touchdown pass to Seth Williams with 10:23 to go in the second quarter.
It’s possible Gatewood could see more action after Auburn’s bye next week. The Tigers have a favorable matchup at Arkansas on Oct. 19, which could be a good opportunity to get both Nix and Gatewood some playing time.