Auburn’s quarterbacks ‘don’t usually throw on us,’ says Stephen Roberts
Auburn quarterbacks accounted for seven passes that gained more than 25 yards during Saturday’s A-Day Game, though defensive back Stephen Roberts said the secondary has been holding up better than that during spring practices.
“They threw it pretty well,” said Roberts after posting three tackles in the game. “They don’t usually throw on us, but they threw it around pretty good today.
“We gave up a couple deep balls, but that’s something we can fix and work on.”
The majority of the throws came from the arm of transfer quarterback Jarrett Stidham, who connected on passes of 50, 46, 33 and 34 yards. He finished 16-for-20 for 267 yards, but did not have a touchdown pass.
Stidham wasn’t the only quarterback to find success with the vertical passing game Saturday. True freshman Malik Willis threw one pass for 28 yards and another for 37. Walk-on Devin Adams had the longest pass of the day, a 69-yard touchdown to Marquis McClain in the fourth quarter.
Roberts and the defensive backs knew what to expect, as new offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey let the quarterbacks show what they can do in front of the fans at Jordan-Hare Stadium who have heard lots of hype this spring.
“We had been told before that they were going to try to throw deep,” Roberts said. “I’ve been here every year for four years, and they’ve done it every year — throw the deep ball. So I kind of knew what was coming.”
Last month after the team’s second spring scrimmage, which was closed to the media, defensive back Javaris Davis said Auburn’s ability to throw the deep pass has done nothing but help the secondary.
“Most definitely,” Davis said. “By them doing that, that just gets us prepared for all the passing teams that’s going to be throwing against us all season. They’re helping us get better and we’re also helping them.”
How Stidham is impacting Auburn’s DBs
Roberts was most impressed with receiver Nate Craig-Myers, who hauled in five passes for a game-high 154 yards. After going up against him all spring, Roberts feels the rising sophomore could be a deep threat for the Tigers this season.
“He’s a guy that likes to work in practice,” Roberts said of Craig-Myers. “He’s got strong hands, doesn’t mind going to get the ball. We kind of need that this year on that side of the ball, so that was good.”
Craig-Myers shows out on A-Day
Roberts made big strides as a junior last season, tallying 57 tackles, two interceptions, two pass breakups and one hurry in 12 games. He also returned six punts for 100 yards, including a 58-yard return in the Iron Bowl against Alabama. As a sophomore, he had just 26 tackles and three pass breakups.
In his upcoming final season on the Plains Roberts will working with Greg Brown, his fourth defensive backs coach in as many years. He is in line to retain his starting job at safety opposite Tray Matthews and wants to become a better student in the film room.
“I feel old,” he said. “It happened so fast, quicker than I thought. My goals for this upcoming season is just to be studying more on my film and knowing the (opponents’) offense and know what they need to do when they get in this formation. Just being on top of things and knowing my job as well.”
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Published at Tue, 11 Apr 2017 21:58:00 +0000