Bo Nix isn't afraid of Alabama or you
Two things you should know about Bo Nix's appearance Thursday at SEC Football Media Days. The Auburn quarterback didn't bring a bottle of Milo's sweet tea to the podium. He didn't bring up Alabama, either.
He did say the words "We're not scared of Alabama" as part of a longer, entirely reasonable answer to a direct question about a Twitter post from a teammate, but it wasn't the most provocative thing said about the Iron Bowl rivalry in Hoover.
That honor belonged to Missouri coach Eliah Drinkwitz, who did a fine talking-season impression of Steve Spurrier. Drinkwitz, who's worked for Gus Malzahn and Bryan Harsin and at Auburn, shot this arrow at the Auburn fanbase: "The thing about Coach Harsin is he always has a plan for everything he does. You're going to see that unfold at Auburn. I'm not up here to put undue expectations on anybody else. I think the Auburn fan base does that well enough by themselves."
Expecting your coach to do better than 8-17 against Alabama, Georgia and LSU constitutes undue expectations? Maybe at Missouri.
Besides, why should Nix be scared of Alabama? He was the starting quarterback of the last team to beat the Crimson Tide. He did it as a true freshman. He's won just as many games against Alabama as he's lost. How many other current college quarterbacks can say the same?
Not to mention, it wasn't Nix who tweeted on the eve of Media Days, "We comin to take the head off the ELEPHANT." It was graduate transfer defensive lineman Tony Fair from UAB. Nix had thoughts on that boast.
"I think that actually I like the quote," he said. "I think it's important because we're not scared of Alabama. I know that a lot of people want us to be scared, but we're really not … because everybody at Auburn should come in with the mindset of beating Alabama, and that's just important to us. It's important to me."
Nix has faced plenty of other obstacles in his two years as a starter. One of the most persistent has been criticism, from outside and inside his own fanbase. Let he who hasn't mockingly and childishly referred to him as "Bo Pix" cast the next stone.
In a Media Days question addressing a subject far more significant than a provocative tweet, Nix was asked how he's learned to handle the ups and downs of his position. He said he appreciated what he called "an honest question" and gave a thoughtful response.
"The biggest thing I've learned is no matter what you do in life, you could be the most influential person in the country, you could change so many lives, but there's always going to be that one person, more than one person, that doesn't like what you're doing or disagrees or thinks that you can do something better," Nix said. "In high school, you don't really go through that kind of stuff."
Especially when you set state records for career total offense and total touchdowns while leading your team to back-to-back state titles, as Nix did at Pinson Valley playing for his dad, former Auburn quarterback Patrick Nix.
It's been a bumpier ride at Auburn, with memorable wins like Oregon and Alabama in 2019 and less noteworthy performances on the road each of the last two years. Next to Malzahn, Nix has been the largest target for the frustration of 9-4 and 6-5 records.
"I know who I am, and that's important," Nix said. "I know that Jesus Christ died for me, and no matter what happens, I can always go to Him in a time of need. I've gotten closer to Him throughout my college experience because, as a freshman, when you're young, you're 19 years old, you have 40-year-old men talking bad about you, it's a different perspective, and it's one that you have to look back and realize that the world is bigger than football and so much is going to happen outside of it.
"Tomorrow the sun will come up. Especially after games, I can get up and I can go to church and kind of reset my life and know that no matter what happens, football will end one day, and it's just all about what kind of impact I can have on the lives of others."
That kind of maturity may not satisfy you if you're a 40-year-old fan whose opinion of football players and programs involves only a scoreboard, but you should know something admirable about Auburn's junior quarterback. He's not afraid of Alabama - or you.