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Newtonian links

Look upon him and despair, SEC.

He speaks! Cam Newton on being named Auburn’s No. 1 quarterback:

“This is not the end of the road,” he said. “If anything, the microscope gets more focused on what I really do on and off the field. So I’m going to need 100 percent focus all throughout whatever I’m doing”…

“I won’t put any more pressure than what’s already been on my back, unneeded pressure. I’m just going to continue to do what I do. That’s just lead by example. I’m not going to go outside my means, going outside my persona to do something I’m not. So I’m just going to keep doing what I do. Evidently it’s worked so far.”

Evidently. Newton said that he had the support of the other quarterbacks, though he mentioned Trotter and Moseley by name rather than the guy who’d be most hurt by yesterday’s news in Caudle; it’s probably meaningless.

It’s interesting that the coaches actually kept the QBs so thoroughly in the dark that Newton thought being called into a meeting with Chizik and Malzahn might be for something other than being named the starter. Guess that “we don’t know what’s going on” refrain we got all spring (and the spring before that) wasn’t just an act.

Chizik. From the same Bitter post, on the timing of the decision:

“We think it’s very critical, especially at that position, to be able to have that leadership going through the summer: Who is the guy? We felt like that was an important part of the puzzle for the next three months. The difference between this time and last year is we didn’t have all the information on all the quarterbacks last year. It’s a little bit different scenario. From a leadership standpoint is we need them as early as we can to know who that leader is.”

If you’re counting, that’s three “leader” or “leadership”‘s, with two more in the following paragraph and a later citation of “the leadership things” being a big difference between Newton and the other candidates in the spring. So if I had to boil down Chizik and Malzahn’s decision on the timing to one thing, it’d be that they want to let Newton become a team leader, ASAP.

Call it a hunch.

Fair question. Probably the biggest thing to take away from Doc Sat’s “QB Focus” post on Auburn’s new starting quarterback is the title:

Cam Newton, phenom or flake?

I’m sure 99 percent of Auburn fans immediately screamed “FLAKE? I’LL FLAKE YOU” upon reading that–I sort of did–but it’s always good to have the reminder that as much as we treasure our Cam and have our saddles all ready for the Tigers’ ride to glory on his broad shoulders, that’s just not the way the rest of the country sees him.

No, I don’t think one serious misstep should condemn Newton to a career’s worth of flake-hood (or should have earned him Matt’s comparisons to the notorious Ryan Perriloux, a guy with a much longer rap sheet), but until the games start, these are the questions that are going to be asked. And not without reason, frankly.

Besides, why be upset about that stuff when Matt sees the same kind of potential we do:

Like (Jamarcus) Russell in his younger, nimbler days, Newton is limited only by his own mind and discipline; among other conference quarterbacks, Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett can match his size and arm strength, but he can’t compete with Newton’s wheels. Physically, he can do anything you can imagine for him to do.

Terrifyingly, his caffeine-addicted offensive coordinator, Gus Malzahn, is widely regarded as one of the most imaginative and consistently effective minds in the game, and he must be bouncing off the walls with the possibilities of his new toy. Consider that Malzahn orchestrated chart-topping offenses two years in a row at Tulsa with quarterbacks Paul Smith and David Johnson, undersized, overmatched who dats in pretty much any other system who somehow combined to throw for more than 9,100 yards and 93 touchdowns under Malzahn, who was also able to make some use of them as running threats on the read option. In one year, Chris Todd morphed from a rag-armed liability as a junior – his leading turn in the epic 3-2 farce at Mississippi State was a highlight – into a competent, efficient SEC starter at the helm of a balanced attack that averaged 432 yards and 33 points per game, nearly double its average point total in 2008.

By big-time college standards, none of those guys had any unique talent to speak of, and still went off in Malzahn’s system. With an intimidating scrambler who can actually stretch the field as a passer, the up-tempo spread can quickly go from nuisance to utter nightmare.


Cecil on the record. Newton’s father took a second to speak to Jay Tate, and the results were as interesting as they always seem to be with Cecil:

“A-Day didn’t go the way a lot of people expected, but I don’t think it was a problem. As someone sitting in the stadium and watching him play, I’d have graded him as `moderate’ or ‘low’ relative to what everyone was expecting. Yet (the coaches) graded him above average. He was making the right decisions out there, so it’s not like he made mistakes.”

This is true; Newton’s A-Day issues were much more about accuracy (and the difficulty of the throws attempted) than decision-making. Not as good as no issues at all, but as far as understanding the offense went, that aspect was fine. (Or as fine as it could be over eight passes, anyway.)

Nickname. I’m already partial to (Go Go!) Godzilla, but things are early enough that suggestions are always encouraged. (Except for Cameron “Rented Mule” Newton. That’s out.) Orson came up with one for Newton and the rest of the SEC quarterbacks beside; his nominee was “Inspiron Behemoth.” Clever, certainly (and Dell appreciates the shout-out) but it doesn’t roll off the tongue nearly as easily as John “Jackie Pancakes” Brantley. More research is needed.

(Hey, I just realized he wears No. 2. “Deuce Newton,” maybe?)

Etc. The Chizik/Newton interviews on videoAcid Reign says Newton will have to “keep his nose to the grindstone” to hold off Caudle and Trotter, which is probably correct.

Graphic via, of course, PPL.

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