At about the same time he announced he has booted Demetruce McNeal following an arrest for marijuana possession, Malzahn made public who his starting quarterback will be. And a good time was had by all.
So, after such merriment, we’re sorry to throw cold water on the blue-and-orange fun.
Nick Marshall seems like a great choice, because he appears more than able to gain bunches of yards throwing or running. But he also appears to have the darndest trouble holding onto the ball.
He threw 20 interceptions last season at Garden City Community College in Kansas, which according to the NJCAA, ranked second nationally. The NJCAA stats show Marshall ranked behind Malcolm Hillard of Dakota College of Bottineau. Hilliard is credited with 41 interceptions, even though he attempted only 21 passes. Hilliard’s interception number likely is a misprint, although Marshall probably won’t want to claim first place.
It’s worth noting Garden City went 7-4 even though it was fifth nationally in total offense.
It is vitally important for Auburn that Marshall doesn’t bring that turnover ability with him to the Southeastern Conference. In such a competitive league, turnovers can make a world of difference.
In the past two years, Alabama’s AJ McCarron has thrown three interceptions in the two games he started in which the Tide lost. In the other 25 starts, all Tide wins, he threw only three.
Heisman winner Johnny Manziel threw three interceptions in Texas A&M’s two losses last year and six in the 11 wins.
Auburn threw seven interceptions in the Cam Newton/national title year of 2010. It went up to 13 in 2011 and 15 last year.
Certainly, the records of the teams in those examples hinged much more on interceptions, but your quarterback can make life so much easier in a close game by simply failing to throw the ball to the other team.
Contact Anniston Star Sports Editor Mark Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.