In his weekly press conference, Auburn head coach Gene Chizik announced that true freshman Jonathan Wallace will be the starting QB for Auburn’s game against New Mexico State this weekend.
"We thought after going back and looking at the film, that he really played well. We're going to forge ahead with that," Chizik said. (via Charles Goldberg, AL.com)
Wallace provided a spark on Auburn’s first touchdown drive against Texas A&M. He also looked very comfortable under center in the second half.
Wallace is 7-of-10 for 133 yards and two touchdowns passing this year. The majority of those yards and both touchdowns came against Texas A&M’s second-string defense.
Jonathan Wallace is already tied for 7th in Auburn freshman history with 2 TD passes. He's 12 yards away from cracking top 10.— Aaron Brenner (@wareagleextra) October 30, 2012
On the ground, Wallace has 106 yards on 27 attempts. He had been used strictly as a Wildcat QB until the Vanderbilt game two weeks ago, when he attempted his first pass.
Although he has had limited success, Auburn fans should temper their expectations for the freshman gunslinger, especially if he has success against New Mexico State.
For the first time this year, Wallace will get an expanded playbook and will have to adjust to the schemes that defensive coordinators will throw at him.
If he remains the starter for Auburn’s game against UGA in two weeks, there is no doubt that UGA defensive coordinator Todd Grantham will have something special planned for the freshman QB.
It will not be the same as seeing a base defensive package to defend the Wildcat formation, or when going up against a “vanilla” defense in a blowout game.
We also have not seen Jonathan Wallace respond to adversity.
How will he react after an interception or other negative event? A lot of freshmen have a tendency to become skittish once adversity strikes.
There is only one way to find out.
Jonathan Wallace certainly has the potential and intangibles to become the next great Auburn QB.
But until we have more of a sample size from which to judge, fans need to temper expectations for Auburn's new starting QB.