By Jeff Shearer
AUBURN, Ala. - After studying video of opponents throughout the week, Jarrett Stidham seeks advice from coaches about what content to consume on the eve of games.
Defensive lineman twists are out. Plot twists are in.
“I have a list of 40 movies I’m going to pick and choose from this year to watch,” says Stidham, who began his routine of watching coach-recommended 1980s and ‘90s movies two years ago at Baylor. “That’s how I get a little bit of peace of mind right before I go to sleep. That’s kind of my thing.”
Auburn fans hope Stidham and his teammates produce a 2017 version of a 1962 Hollywood blockbuster, “How the West Was Won.”
“Everybody is ready,” Stidham said. “We’ve been going against each other all the way back to spring ball. We’re excited to get out there against another team and see what we can do.”
Saturday’s 6:30 p.m. season opener against Georgia Southern marks the Auburn debut for Stidham and offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey, who will call plays from the sideline.
“I’ll be able to talk to him face to face about what I’m seeing, what I’m doing, and ask him questions right there so he can explain whatever it is to me,” Stidham said. “I think it’s going to be great.”
Stidham says family members (“too many to count”) will be coming to the Plains for opening night, his first game since getting injured in Baylor’s 45-35 win over Oklahoma State on Nov. 22, 2015.
“It’s been an extremely long wait,” Stidham said. “We’re excited to finally be here at Auburn and finally get to this game week.”
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn has noticed.
"He’s excited,” Malzahn said. “It’s been a long time since he’s been on the field. He’s a very confident young man. Obviously, everybody can see that. But the reality is he’s played four games.”
Stidham threw 12 touchdowns and two interceptions in 2015, starting three games in November before getting hurt.
“He’s still inexperienced,” Malzahn said. “So we’ve got to keep that in mind, but we’re very excited for him. I know our team is 100 percent behind him and ready for him to lead us out."
Auburn fans are familiar with Stidham’s story. His decision to sit out the 2016 season before signing with Auburn last December. His offensive MVP performance on A-Day. His earning of the starting position during preseason camp and his growing rapport with Auburn’s receiving corps.
“They’ve grown up a bunch,” Stidham said. “Chemistry wise, it’s completely different, with spring ball then the summer, and obviously fall camp. Chemistry has been a big deal to us and so we’ve gotten that settled down.
“I think they’re ready to go. They work extremely hard every single day. They make my job a lot easier. I’m excited to throw them the ball.”
Eager to compete after 21 months away, Stidham’s absence from football deepened his appreciation for the sport.
“You don’t really know what you have until you don’t have it anymore,” Stidham said. “That was kind of my thing last fall. I don’t think I took football for granted or anything like that. It’s just that whenever something so special to you is taken away for x amount of time, it’s kind of an eye opener. I think I’ve come in with a good attitude toward the game of football.”
— Jeff Shearer (@jeff_shearer) August 28, 2017
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @jeff_shearer
Ticket InformationA limited number of single-game tickets ($35) and Family Pack Tickets ($25) remain for the ULM game on Nov. 18. To purchase visit AUBTIX.com.