Auburn LSU Football

Auburn quarterback Bo Nix (10) passes under pressure from LSU linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson (18) in the first half of an NCAA college football game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Jon Dykstra, Sports Editor

1. How does Joey Gatewood’s departure affect Auburn?

Unless something happens to Bo Nix, it doesn’t. Gus Malzahn has teased Auburn fans with glimpses of Gatewood early in the season, but he has never been a real critical part of the Tiger offense. The runs and limited passes that Gatewood has made are all things that JaTarvious Whitlow is capable of doing as the Wildcat quarterback. While Nix has certainly had his struggles, it was clear that Gatewood was never going to be given the keys to Auburn offense. It was clearly evident to him to, thus the decision to transfer.

2. How does Bo Nix respond after whirlwind week in the quarterback room?

Nothing should change for Nix this week. He was the starting quarterback before the week and he is clearly still the starting quarterback. Nix has plenty to worry about with his own game. His accuracy has been a problem for weeks now and with the talent around him, this offense should be more productive than it has been. He is a freshman and still learning, but it would go a long way to ease fans nerves if they see some improvement down the stretch run of the season and build some confidence going into next year in their ‘franchise’ quarterback.

3. How does the Auburn defense react to a mobile quarterback in John Rhys Plumlee?

Plumlee is a different sort of threat to anything that the Tigers have seen this year. Guys like Justin Herbert and Joe Burrow can certainly move around, but they don’t base their entire game around it like Plumlee does. This can go one of two ways: Either the Tiger front seven crushes Plumlee or Plumlee uses their aggressiveness against them and does what running backs haven’t been able to do against the Tigers by busting big runs. With the front seven that Auburn has, I’m betting on the ‘crushed’ option. Plumlee is also recovery from injury so if he takes a couple shots early, the Rebels aren’t likely to risk his long-term health if the game is getting out of hand.

4. What does Auburn need to do to enter the Georgia-Alabama stretch on a strong, confident note?

Auburn needs to win. They don’t need to win to build momentum. They don’t need to win for any type of confidence reasons. They don’t need to win to get the fanbase excited to host Georgia and Alabama. They need to win because this is college football and huge upsets happen every week, just ask Jalen Hurts and Oklahoma. Auburn has avoided the shocking loss so far this season and if they can avoid it this week, I doubt Samford delivers it.

5. Final score?

Ole Miss reminds me a lot of Mississippi State. They share a state, but they also share a heavy reliance on the run game to produce anything offensively. Auburn’s defense is great against the run. Ole Miss’ 121st ranked passing defense also offers an opportunity for Bo Nix to get right and develop some confidence. I see some frustration getting taken out this week and a big margin. Auburn 47, Ole Miss 17.

Auburn Texas A M Football

Auburn quarterback Joey Gatewood (1) rushes out of the pocket against Texas A&M during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/Sam Craft)

Justin Lee, AU Beat Reporter

1. How does Joey Gatewood’s departure affect Auburn?

For one, you should see Bo Nix run the ball a lot less, especially against Ole Miss and against Samford. Without Gatewood behind him, Auburn’s former third-stringer Cord Sandberg is the next man up, and in the former baseball player Auburn doesn’t expect to have the same kind of play-making ability at quarterback as it had with either Nix or Gatewood. Nix’s health will have to be protected, and that means less designed runs for QB1.

2. How does Bo Nix respond after a whirlwind week in the quarterback room?

I expect Nix to have a strong game, with his teammates rallying around him — and because he isn’t playing in one of the most feared environments in college football. People like to pick and choose with their criticism, but when he’s played in venues that aren’t The Swamp and Death Valley, where dreams go to die, he’s been an electrifying player and one of the better passers I can remember watching in an Auburn uniform. I think he’ll play strong at home — and if he does happen to have any personal motivation to prove something to those up in arms over what’s happened this week, he’ll have his chance to do that too.

3. How does the Auburn defense react to a mobile quarterback in John Rhys Plumlee?

It’s a challenge a bit unlike anything Auburn’s faced so far this season, but it’ll be an opportunity for the Auburn linebackers to show their stuff. Middle linebackers K.J. Britt and Chandler Wooten have shown how sharp they are getting themselves in proper positioning, and freak prospect Owen Pappoe has shown his athletic ability with fellow outside linebacker Zakoby McClain showing he has his own fair share of that athletic ability. I think the Auburn linebackers’ preparation and speed playing against that running threat will be a big key in the matchup.

4. What does Auburn need to do to enter the Georgia-Alabama stretch on a strong, confident note?

You can sugar coat it, but Auburn’s going into this game after two losses: A loss on the field to LSU, and the loss of Gatewood in the locker room. Players will wear it on the chin and move forward, but any way you slice it, a quarterback leaving a team sends some sort of emotional ripple through the locker room. Auburn needs to get its swagger back in this game — and it would help Auburn if the coaches and the players do their best to put Nix in position to impress and assure everybody from the players to the fans can be confident in the quarterback position.

5. Final score?

Auburn 35, Ole Miss 13. Ole Miss will present Auburn with challenges and I expect Ole Miss will hang for Auburn with a half just like Arkansas, but I expect Auburn to pull away and get back on the winning track with a breezy win.

Auburn LSU Football

Auburn defensive back Jeremiah Dinson (20) encourages Auburn fans to make noise after a defensive stop in the first half of an NCAA college football game against LSU in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Jordan Hill, Preps Reporter

1. How does Joey Gatewood’s departure affect Auburn?

Auburn’s game plan against Ole Miss won’t change much, but Gatewood’s department puts the onus completely on Bo Nix. The true freshman quarterback has had his moments, but now the coaching staff does not have a true backup plan if Nix struggles or gets hurt. Gus Malzahn had pledged his confidence in Nix even after his struggles at LSU; now Nix will try and prove that confidence was worthwhile.

2. How does Bo Nix respond after whirlwind week in the quarterback room?

Nix might have had a Saturday to forget in Death Valley, but the good news is the Ole Miss defense is not quite up to par with the LSU defense the freshman faced last week. The Rebels have been terrible against the pass this year, giving up 284.4 passing yards per game to rank 121st out of 130 programs. Statistically, Ole Miss is the worst passing defense Nix has faced or will face in 2019, which should lead for a nice return home to Auburn for the quarterback.

3. How does the Auburn defense react to a mobile quarterback in John Rhys Plumlee?

The Tigers will face a new test on Saturday in Plumlee, a true freshman who’s shown flashes for Ole Miss this season. Plumlee is really the first run-first quarterback the Tigers have faced this fall, but he’s by no means been a player opponents have been unable to deal with. Auburn’s defensive front will get after Plumlee early and often, and whether Plumlee plays a bigger role than fellow quarterback Matt Corral or not, he’ll be happy when he finally gets to leave Jordan-Hare.

4. What does Auburn need to do to enter the Georgia-Alabama stretch on a strong, confident note?

The biggest thing Auburn needs to do Saturday is show their passing game is capable of consistent play. The Tigers have shown flashes of being able to get multiple receivers involved in the game, but in the losses to Florida and LSU it seemed they were too few completions and not enough receivers in the mix. The Tigers have receivers who can make explosive plays in the likes of Seth Williams, Anthony Schwartz and Eli Stove, and there’s no better time to demonstrate that than against a hapless Ole Miss defense.

5. Final score?

Auburn wins 38-14. The Rebels have some talent on offense, but first-year defensive coordinator Mike MacIntyre’s side of the ball has been a disaster this fall. Expect Nix to respond well in a return to Jordan-Hare and for D.J. Williams to show the Auburn rushing attack is still formidable even with JaTarvious Whitlow still trying to return to form.

Get Our Daily News and Sports Newsletter

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.
Load comments