During the 2013 season, Nick Marshall seemed to get better with each game. As quarterback of the Auburn Tigers, Marshall’s improvement, as well as style of play, led to some comparisons with former Auburn quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton.
While Marshall’s play was not on Newton’s level, it was good enough for the Tigers to win the Southeastern Conference championship and to earn a bid in the BCS National Championship Game, where Auburn would come up short against the Florida State Seminoles.
Unlike Newton, Marshall is back for a second season on the Plains, and he figures to be even better this season. Marshall seemed to be on the same page with Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn, whose offense is known for its fast pace and outstanding running game. At the end of last season, Marshall had become a master of the read option, helping the Tigers roll through a couple of the nation’s best defenses (those of the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Missouri Tigers).
If there is room for improvement with Marshall, it would be in the passing game. In 2013, Marshall completed 59.4 percent of his passes for 1,976 yards, with 14 touchdowns and six interceptions. He also rushed 172 times for 1,068 yards and 12 scores.
Auburn’s offense will miss the departed Tre Mason, although Malzahn seems to have a stable of running backs to replace him. If Auburn’s running attack can be as powerful and efficient as it was last season, and Marshall improves in the passing game, the Tigers’ offense could be scary good.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.