Nix a ‘completely different’ QB in year two
AUBURN | Bo Nix set five school records in his first season at Auburn. His coaches and teammates are convinced even bigger things lie ahead in year two.
“First of all, a year ago to now is completely different,” said Auburn coach Gus Malzahn. “He’s got a lot better understanding of not only defenses, but the college game and everything that goes with it. You can tell he’s more confident.”
Nix had an impressive first season at Auburn setting freshmen records for passing yards, attempts, completions and touchdowns. He earned SEC Freshman of the Year honors completing 217 of 377 passes for 2,542 yards with 16 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Perhaps his most impressive statistic was finishing the season with 191 pass attempts without an interception, another AU record.
Nix will have a chance to build on that success under the tutelage of new offensive coordinator Chad Morris this fall. Morris helped build powerhouse offenses at Clemson and SMU before spending the last year and a half as the head coach at Arkansas.
“Bo's been looking very good,” junior wide receiver Anthony Schwartz said. “I feel like this offense suits him a lot. He seems very comfortable. He seems relaxed. He seems like a whole different person.
“He looked composed last year, but this year he just looks way more confident. He's talking way more. He's been going back and forth with the defense, just talking, talking. But it's just all fun for him, and he just looks like he's enjoying himself right now.”
It can be difficult for a true freshman to provide leadership, even at the quarterback position. But it comes natural for Nix, and now with a successful college season under his belt, he’s ready to be take full reins of the offense.
“He's a lot more vocal than he was at any time last year,” Malzahn explained. “He's really trying to lead. Last year, he was a true freshman. We had a lot of veteran guys, offensively and defensively. This year, we don't have as many veterans. Not only from a quarterback standpoint, but also from a team leadership standpoint -- he's trying to use his influence that way, too.”
That influence even includes helping to make the protection calls for the offensive line.
“With Bo in practice he tries to let it loose and this year I think he really is,” center Nick Brahms said. “He’s flipping protections before us. I’ll even communicate with him, we’ll flip protections. He’ll communicate a lot more with us just telling us maybe where the pressure is coming from and stuff. He’s more confident in telling us that because he can read defenses, I feel like, better than what he has in the past. I think that's a tribute to his study habits on film and on the practice field.”
No. 11 Auburn opens the season Sept. 26 against Kentucky. Kickoff at Jordan-Hare Stadium is scheduled for 11 a.m. CT on SEC Network.