Hey, Auburn: You want offensive playmakers? You’ve got them

Auburn needs Shaun Shivers and other players on offense to turn out more big plays. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
Auburn needs Shaun Shivers and other players on offense to turn out more big plays. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images) /

Yes, the win was against Alabama State, but the Auburn football team’s performance was a showcase of the talent that has accumulated on both sides of the ball.

In Week 1, the defense led the way against a top-10 opponent.

In Week 2, the defense dominated, as was expected. But a week after a solid offensive performance against a very good Washington defense, the Auburn offense unleashed a full-on offensive barrage against Alabama State in its 63-9 win.

Last week, I saw this tweet from a Georgia fan that caught my attention:

He’s right. Georgia is loaded with a ton of talent not just on offense, but defense, too.

That’s 14 players. That’s a lot of talent to account for if you’re a defensive coordinator.

Against Austin Peay, those 14 accounted for:

  • 220 passing yards, 3 touchdowns
  • 257 rushing yards, 3 touchdowns
  • 12 receptions, 157 yards, 2 touchdowns

Then I started thinking: Does Auburn have that much talent that has to be accounted for each week? It’s not fair to compare Georgia’s Week 1 game against Austin Peay (FCS) and Auburn’s against then-No. 6 Washington. But after Week 2 when Auburn has played a top-10 team and an FCS team and Georgia has played a top-25 team and an FCS team, it’s a comparable assessment.

So yes, here are the offensive players defensive coordinators have to account for when playing the Auburn football team:

1. Jarrett Stidham. This is a no-brainer.

2. JaTarvious Whitlow. The Tigers’ first 100-yard rusher of the season runs with a purpose.

3. Kam Martin. The other part of Auburn’s 1-2 running back punch. Don’t sleep on him.

4. Ryan Davis. He’s a catch machine and a threat with the ball in his hands as a receiver and punt returner.

5, Darius Slayton. More dangerous now that he’s not the clear No. 1 deep-play threat.

6. Anthony Schwartz. A deep-play threat as a receiver and possibly Auburn’s jet sweep specialist. Just wow.

7. Shaun Shivers. Don’t be fooled by his size (5-7, 173), Shivers if fast and he’ll run right at you and through you if you’re not careful.

8. Sal Cannella. At 6-5, he’s a red-zone asset, as we saw in Week 1 against Washington.

9. Nate Craig-Myers. Another red-zone threat and Auburn’s most reliable over-the-middle target.

10. Malik Willis. You saw what he could do last season. He didn’t get much opportunity Saturday as Auburn was vanilla on offense by the time he entered.

11. Chandler Cox. Just not in the CoxCat, right? Cox is a valuable blocker and receiver. He fills the role of the pass-catching tight end.

12. Seth Williams. He had a drop Saturday, but he’s a big target and looks like he’s carved out a role among the receivers despite being a freshman.

13. Asa Martin. You can see the potential in his running and he was wide open on a wheel route in the first half but Stidham overthrew him. He would have gotten more touches Saturday if he hadn’t fumbled the ball.

14. Harold Joiner. It’s uncertain how much we’ll see Joiner in the Wildcat, but what we saw Saturday was impressive. He’s big, strong and runs downhill. He picked up 5 yards on a fourth-and-4 and powered his way into from the 2 on third down in the formation.

That’s 14, but the potential for more is there.

Could Matthew Hill, who had a nice run Saturday but had the ball stripped, be a playmaker? Shedrick Jackson is playing a lot but hasn’t gotten a touch yet.

What about Cord Sandberg and Joey Gatewood? I wouldn’t place a No. 3 QB on this list, but Sandberg looked sharp in his first football action in six years Saturday.

Next. Projecting where Auburn will be in Week 2 AP Top 25. dark

Then there’s the dynamic duo of Will Hastings and Eli Stove. Both saw playing time Saturday and that’s a significant development since the two were key parts to the offense last season.

It’s difficult imaging a time when Auburn had this many playmakers on offense.

Enjoy it. It’s not going away anytime soon.