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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Newton: 'This is not the end of the road'

Cam Newton, who was named Auburn's No. 1 quarterback yesterday, just sat down with reporters for a few minutes. Here's what he had to say, with some more from head coach Gene Chizik as well.
  • Newton didn't expect the announcement to come when it did. "I was working out and Rick came down and got me and said, 'Go meet with coach Chizik and coach (Gus) Malzahn .' My first thought was I ain't did nothing wrong. So I was kind of nervous at first. When they told me, I just wanted to scream. I had to keep my composure."
  • While overwhelmed by the news, he realized he hadn't necessarily been named the starter, just the No. 1 quarterback for now. "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."
  • He didn't see it changing his role this summer too much. "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."
  • Newton said he wasn't nervous that he wasn't named the starter during spring practice. He said it didn't even cross his mind.
  • Newton spoke with his fellow quarterbacks after the decision was made. He doesn't see his new standing as being a problem. "I think the whole overall vibe from the whole team was they're behind me 100 percent," he said. "I talked to Barrett (Trotter), Clint (Moseley), all those guys. It's nothing that I see as it being a problem, I hope to god it's not a problem. I don't sense that by any means. I've been getting a lot of good nudges to push me to success."
  • Chizik answered the question everyone wanted to know -- why now? "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."
  • Chizik on why Newton: "We had to take everything into account. He's been in the offense less time than anyone we've got. We felt like we had a great comparison from last year, meaning that looking to the quarterbacks who had been in the system that short of time, what their production was versus what his production was this spring. We thought his upside is huge. We felt like, from a leadership standpoint, he really has a great intangible, the leadership skills he brings to the table. He's very confident, but not too confident. His presence is known and felt by the other players when he's in there. He manages the offense. He was very good protecting the football this spring. His completion percentages were very high in scrimmages. He brings an element to the table in terms of escapability, of running game, that we feel can create problems for defense. All of those things mixed together were the things that we see."
  • Chizik said Newton's attitude has been great: "He's just come in here and basically closed his mouth and went to work. He's worked really hard."
  • Chizik put his defensive coordinator hat on and explained why Newton is so hard to defend. "There's a running dimension of the game that he brings that's impressive," he said. "There's an escapability. You've got to watch what coverages you play when there's a guy holding the football with great escapability. You can't have a lot of your defenders with their backs to the football. To a certain degree, that can limit you some on what you play. I think it definitely gives guys problems when you know there's a very athletic guy back there that can do something with the ball in his hands."
  • Chizik on why he didn't name a starter earlier: "We tried to just go through spring and stay very open-minded about giving everybody their shot. I think as spring unfolds, you can see in scrimmages and some things that are kind of things you can't coach -- the leadership things. You can watch how they command the respect and the attention of the other players on the field and there's some things that, as you evolve through spring, you can obviously see. Those are part of the decision-making process. We just felt like, as we were going through, that it might be going in this direction and we just really wanted to go back and revisit it film-wise and go back at it and say, 'Hey.' After 15 practices, you go back to the beginning and you see some things that you have forgot about. That was all in the process. As we went on, you could see some things that you thought might be leading in this direction. But again, there's really a lot of other good quarterbacks out there too that we saw a lot of good things from."
  • The decision was tough on the other quarterbacks. Here's what Chizik said about that: "Like we told them, we said, ‘Look, this is where we’re at coming out of spring ball. It’s a long journey. Keep working and keep doing the things you’re doing.’"

1 comment:

ExKnightMike said...

For the first time in a long while we have great depth at QB. If something should happen to Newton, Caudle and Trotter both looked capable. With another year, Moseley will as well.

I'm glad the coaches had a hard time making a decision, it means we've got at least three, maybe four that can lead the team to a big season.