Every year Auburn is expected to compete for the National Championship.
This year is no different and a massive amount of the hype going into the season has fallen on the broad shoulders of 6-foot-5 junior quarterback Jeremy Johnson.
“He’s just to the point that he’s tired of everybody talking about it,” head coach Gus Malzahn said Monday night on his weekly radio show Tiger Talk. “He just wants to go out there and play.”
Unlike many of the teams in college football, including Alabama who released a depth chart Monday afternoon with five quarterbacks at the No. 1 position, Auburn has known for awhile that Johnson would be its starter.
That has contributed to the buildup of hype that has Johnson drawing comparisons to former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton. All this has come with Johnson having just two starts in his first two seasons with Auburn, but Malzahn remains confident in Johnson’s experience.
“He’s a veteran guy even though he hasn’t started a complete year,” Malzahn said. “He had to prepare the No. 2 guys for the SEC Championship, the National Championship so he knows how to prepare for a big game.”
There is no doubt Johnson has talent, but his ability to perform in pressure situations could make the difference between Auburn making the College Football Playoff or heading to a lesser bowl game.
Johnson will benefit from his time with the team during its National Championship run in 2013. However, nothing can duplicate game experience.
That may be why Johnson is eager to stop all the talking and get on the field Sept. 5 against a prepared Louisville team.
We have long known that Johnson will be the man for Auburn, now it’s time to see if he can live up to the hype.