Dye-Gest Column: Opportunity Time for Backups In Spring Drills

College Football Hall of Fame coach Pat Dye writes about Auburn football, baseball and more in this edition of his Dye-Gest column.

Jarrett Stidham (above) is competing for the starting quarterback role for the 2017 Tigers.

The Auburn football team has 10 days of spring practice remaining and this is a very critical time for players looking to impress their coaches.

During those practices there is a good chance there will be movement in the pecking order on both offense and defense. I don’t know exactly where it is going to take place, but I know it is not unusual for there to be change in a depth chart this time of year and that is not necessarily a bad thing if it is the right kind of movement.

You don’t want the first string players to get complacent and think they have got it made. As a coach you want guys down the line to improve at such a rate that they earn playing time or even starting jobs.

For this Auburn team the remaining spring practices are big for the quarterbacks and wide receivers to build the chemistry the passing attack needs to take a step forward, something that needs to happen.

Probably the number one question I get from Auburn folks is related to the passing game when they ask me what do I think of the new quarterback, Jarrett Stidham, who transferred in from Baylor. There is not anything to dislike about what I have seen.

His body language, his communication with his teammates, how he carries himself on the field and how he throws the football have all been positive. Everything looks to be in place for him to be successful--it is just a matter of him being able to do it at full speed, on the field at crunch time in game situations.

With the spring weather here I probably should have been outside working and doing more things around the farm, but I got hooked on listening to Auburn’s softball and baseball games on the radio and watching March Madness on TV over the weekend. I enjoyed every bit of it, particularly the baseball team sweeping Florida. I think those players are taking on some of the personality of Auburn softball team, and that is a good thing.

It’s too early to get too excited about the baseball team, but I am really pulling for Coach Butch Thompson to be successful because of the type of person he is. I am excited about the future of Auburn baseball and it has been a long time since I have been able to say that.

I also like what the players have to say about their coaches and being a part of this year’s team, which really has a different look.  I had no idea there were 20 new players on the roster. That is almost like starting over and it looks like Coach Thompson and his staff have a good understanding of the type of players they need to bring in to be successful in the SEC.

I got a kick out of seeing the SEC put three teams in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Basketball Tournament while the ACC has just one. That “super conference” is lucky that it didn’t get shut out of this week’s games. It could have easily happened if the officials had made better calls at the end of the Arkansas vs. North Carolina ball game. If they did the Razorbacks could be the fourth SEC team in the Sweet 16 with the ACC being left out.

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