As a football fan, sometimes we take things for granted. College sports leave impressions on us that get forgotten as soon as the next season begins simply because we’re always looking for the next big thing. Greatness in college athletics gets overlooked at times because we are searching for reasons not to believe that a player is as good as everyone says since the competition isn’t always elite competition. From week to week, competition varies, but production must remain consistent for people to really believe in you.
As I look back on the 2010, Auburn Tigers I see a team that had an anchor and a leader. Cameron Newton was stellar that year. His accomplishments on the gridiron were phenomenal to say the least. Newton gathered the awards, but there were critics who found ways to discredit his accomplishments and tarnish his image.
With so many obstacles and so many accusations in his face, Newton just got better week after week. So many questions about his ability came up, and many said he was just a bigger Tim Tebow.
Let’s press rewind for a second. Name three other starters on that Auburn offense besides Cam Newton. In fact, name one other starter from that offense that plays in the NFL right now. Most of the people who aren’t Auburn diehards can’t remember who Newton’s go-to guy was on that team. Darwin Adams was a speed demon who made life easy for Newton. However, Adams’ prowess as a wide receiver also made many people doubt whether or not Newton could read defenses. Adams was always wide open. He could separate from guys so fast that if he was Newton’s primary receiver, he never had to look in another direction because Adams was going to be open.
As good as Adams was, he didn’t make it in the NFL. Last time I checked, he was playing in the Canadian Football League with the Toronto Argonauts, so it’s not as if Adams was the best receiver in college football that year. So Cam had to do more than just go deep.
Newton did a lot of damage with his legs that year too. The one player most of you probably remember is Michael Dyer. As good as Dyer was for the Tigers, he has been a backup running back at Louisville since transferring out of Auburn. In fact, most of his success was because people were so afraid of what Newton was capable of.
As I look back at what Newton was able to do in college, not many single-season performances can top what he accomplished. In my lifetime, I have seen some great performances. The Barry Sanders 1988 season is the only one that comes to mind as possibly better that I have personally witnessed. Still even that is debatable.
I’m sure a lot of credit can be given for what happened that season. Cam was spectacular, but his coaches had a plan using his talent and getting the most out of him. Gus Malzahn utilized the role players to the max, allowing his superstar to flourish. We can only hope to see another season as spectacular as the one that Newton put up in 2010 in the near future. Newton may never be as spectacular in the NFL and then again he might, but in college he was for one season a king among kings.
As a fan of football, I am just happy that I was around to see it.