By Greg Ostendorf
AUBURN, Ala. – It’s the halfway point of the season, and newcomer Jarrett Stidham looks to have settled in just fine at Auburn. On the field, he’s thrown for 1,345 yards, seven touchdowns, and he leads the SEC in completion percentage (71.2). Off the field, he’s quickly embraced what it means to be part of the Auburn family.
We sat down with the sophomore quarterback this week and asked him to reflect on his time at Auburn thus far.
Q: You’re halfway through your first season at Auburn. It feels like yesterday you were playing in the spring game. Has it flown by?
Stidham: Yeah, this has flown by. I was so antsy throughout the entire offseason and summer conditioning and everything, and it’s here and it’s like ‘Oh crap, we’re already halfway done.’ It’s flown by. Me and Chandler [Cox], my roommate, we were talking about that the other day. We look up and we’re in Week 7 already. It’s crazy, but it’s been a lot of fun.
Q: Has it lived up to the expectations you set when you first came here?
Stidham: Honestly, I didn’t really know what to expect coming out here. But like I’ve said so many times, this place is great. The people are phenomenal. We have a great football team, a great coaching staff, great players, great support staff. Everybody here has been so good. It’s been one heck of a ride so far, so I’m just excited to see how it all plays out.
Q: Is there a moment or a game that stands out to this point?
Stidham: Not necessarily. Each game is special and unique in its own way. I’m just trying to have fun with all of them. Georgia Southern was fun. Clemson was fun. Mercer was fun. I could go down the list. But it’s been great to be back on the field with teammates and coaches that I love and just trying to win ballgames.
Q: You mentioned the Clemson game. What was the feeling after that game?
Stidham: It was really disappointing because obviously we wanted to go in there and get a victory. But everything happens for a reason. There was a lot of positive that came from that loss – for myself and my teammates. We talked a lot about just what our job is and how to execute better on a daily basis, especially come Saturdays. There was a lot of positive that came out of it, but at the end of the day, we were pretty disappointed in the way we played and the outcome. But it’s just part of it.
Q: How have you grown since that loss to Clemson?
Stidham: I’ve grown a lot from that game. Like I’ve said, there was a lot of positive that came out of it. For me personally, there were a lot of different things that I could’ve done better that game. I know as a team, I’d like to know we could’ve done better. We were disappointed, but we learned from it, and we’ve been a lot better since.
Q: Have we seen the real Jarrett Stidham yet?
Stidham: I really haven’t played all that much in college. I guess I’ve hit the double digits in games. I’m just trying to improve as a player each week and help my team win football games. If that’s me playing really great or really bad, I don’t really care. I’m wanting to win. I’m hoping that throughout the rest of the season, everybody has that attitude of [doing] whatever needs to be done to get the W. That’s just kind of my mindset. Obviously, I try to play to the best of my ability each game. But at the end of the day, it’s all about winning ballgames and improving each week.
Q: From an experience standpoint, you’re basically still a freshman. What do you think when you hear that?
Stidham: It’s funny because I actually graduate in May. I’m pretty much almost done with all of my undergrad, and I’m in really my second season of actually playing football. It’s kind of a weird dynamic because football-wise, I’m not really that experienced, but I’m about to graduate. So it’s kind of weird thing I have going on, but I just need to get more experience and play as many games as possible.
Q: You look at the second half of the schedule, and it’s pretty loaded with three SEC road trips and home games against Georgia and Alabama. Does that excite you when you see that?
Stidham: Yeah. You come to a place like Auburn to play in really big games. It just so happens in this league, every week is a big game. We have a great team. We play in a great league. Every week is a challenge and an opportunity to do something really special. So we’re just taking it one game at a time, one week at a time and just trying to focus on that game.
Q: That next game in this case is at LSU. What are you expecting going in to Death Valley this Saturday night?
Stidham: I really don’t know what to expect. I’ve heard a lot of stories about people who have played there. I honestly don’t know what to expect. I do expect that, obviously LSU is a great football game, and we’re going to get their absolute best. We just have to come ready to play.
Greg Ostendorf is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @greg_ostendorf