Heading into the 2021 college football season one of the biggest questions surrounding the Auburn Tigers is the quarterback position. With the track record of both head coach Bryan Harsin and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, fans are expecting improvement in the position. That was one of the criticisms of Gus Malzahn during his tenure on the plains. What has made the position very intriguing is the arrival of former LSU quarterback T.J. Finley by way of the transfer portal.
2021 Auburn Quarterbacks
It is expected that when the season does begin on September 4th when the Tigers host the Akron Zips that Bo Nix will be the starting quarterback. Nix does enter his third year on the plains, and it has been nothing less of an up and down career thus far. The inconsistency has made a portion of the fanbase become restless and impatient with the two-year starter. Nix can wow you with a great scramble or great throw, but on the very next play have one questioning his decision-making ability.
There are two different versions of Nix. There is home Bo and road Bo. At the friendly Jordan-Hare, Stadium Nix has completed 63% with 15 touchdowns to just one interception. The most important statistic is the Tigers are 10-2 in those games. On the road, the signal-caller has led the team to a 5-7 record with 13 touchdowns to 12 interceptions. The completion percentage drops to 55% when away from Auburn as well.
A big issue for Nix is the lack of consistency with his fundamentals. When he trusts his offensive line and stays in the pocket with feet set properly, he can be a very accurate passer. Due to issues upfront, he has not trusted his offensive line and that has led to escaping the pocket even at times where it was not needed. That is the challenge for Harsin and Bobo with their history with quarterbacks. Can they fix Bo Nix?
The Auburn quarterback situation got quite interesting when former LSU quarterback T.J. Finley announced he was transferring to the Tigers. The announcement came after Auburn had already completed spring practice and coming out of A-Day it was evident it was Nix at quarterback. One must think there will now be a competition for the starting position. Why would Finley transfer to Auburn to just be a backup?
Finley showed potential in the few games he did play for LSU in 2020. In five starts LSU was 2-3 in those games with wins over South Carolina and Arkansas. In those two games, Finley completed 70% and averaged 268 yards. He also threw for four touchdowns to zero interceptions. It was completely opposite in the three losses to Alabama, Auburn, and Texas A&M. The freshman was under 50% passing with four interceptions in those contests.
Finley has a huge frame at 6’6 242 pounds but can be limited when it comes to mobility. If he is to have significant playing time this season that may cause some concern behind an Auburn offensive line that has a lot of questions as well.
The Rest of the Room
After Nix and Finley, there is little SEC experience among the quarterbacks. Grant Loy has experience but mostly in the MAC with Bowling Green from 2017-19. Last season, Loy only attempted two passes that were both incomplete in what was late-game action. Auburn does welcome a four-star recruit out of Houston, Texas. Dematrius Davis has the fanbase excited over his dual-threat capabilities. There is plenty to look forward to with the 2021 Auburn quarterbacks.