Every time Joey Gatewood enters the game for Auburn, the same question arises. Will he throw the football?
Three games in, Gatewood has rushed for 124 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries. Throwing the football, he completed his only passing attempt for five yards late in last week’s game against Kent State, only a couple of yards short of a touchdown.
Gatewood’s role has been simple: run the football. He has performed well, rushing with efficiency. Because of the athletic flashes of physical runs, people want to see more of him in the offense. It isn’t because they want to see Bo Nix supplanted as quarterback, but people want to see Gatewood’s effect on the offense, which could be a game-changing possibility against Texas A&M.
Why haven’t we seen Gatewood throw more than one pass? The obvious answer is he has mainly entered the game when Auburn has the lead, looking to run the clock out. Nonetheless, what about the times during the normal flow of the game that Gatewood has came in to run a play or two?
Through the first three games, Auburn has subliminally placed the thought in other teams’ minds that Gatewood’s only role is to run the football. The tape shows that he is a dangerous runner, requiring a lot of attention to stop. Furthermore, it wouldn’t make sense for Auburn to put Gatewood’s passing ability on film for other teams to dissect.
The unknown is enough to keep the opposition guessing, and at some point this year, the Tigers will unload with a play-action pass that has been set up all-season with Gatewood’s running ability. At just the right time, Malzahn will call it in, and it has the potential to be a game-changing play. With SEC play approaching, it would not have made sense to display this facet of Auburn’s offense.
During his Tuesday press conference, Malzahn took the time to remind us that it was a good competition between Nix and Gatewood, and Gatewood can throw the football.
Nix is the starting quarterback, but Gatewood has a role, and at some point this season, he will deliver a dagger that has been set up for weeks in the making. None of us know when, but Gatewood’s time is coming.