Obligatory. All right, so this makes two Spaceballs references in the space of a week–which should tell you something about the kind of sense of humor you’re dealing with here, and full apologies for that–but Chris Brown‘s term for Gus Malzahn’s preferred tempo is too perfect not to offer you this:
The goal for the Auburn offense this week? Go to plaid:
“We are not anywhere close to be satisfied with the rhythm and the tempo of our offense right now,” head coach Gene Chizik said. “We’re not close. Again, as we said, we did some nice things, but our tempo and the pace of our offense was not one of the things that we were satisfied with. It has got to be faster” …
Malzahn’s offense, at least when he was the offensive coordinator last year at Tulsa, took a while to get up to speed. The Golden Hurricane averaged 73.2 plays in the first five games last season. In the final nine games, Tulsa averaged 82.2 plays per game, topping 90 in its final two contests.
Auburn’s players thought they could have gone faster if they had a little cooperation.
“We were ready,” guard Byron Isom said. “I felt like it was the referee. He was standing over the ball holding us back a lot. We just have to get up there quicker and get set up quicker, so we’re ready to [g]o.”
Dr. Gustav his own self:
Auburn ran 79 plays. Malzahn thought that was OK, but not great. “I would say that’s close,” he said. “We would like a little more than that but that’s close.”
Hands raised: anyone here think we’d see the day when our grizzled ex-defensive coordinator head guy is saying FASTER MORE OFFENSE SCORE GO FASTER and the mad scientist offensive guru is saying “Well, that wasn’t bad. We’re almost there”? Didn’t think so. It’s a long season in front of us, but right now it looks like those worries about Chizik not buying into what Malzahn was selling will amount to a whole lot of nothing.
You really do need to hit that second link, though, for an interesting quote from Andrew McCain, who says the team’s had to walk “a fine line” between getting everyone in 90-play shape and making sure no one gets hurt along the way. Craig Stevens adds that he topped 60 plays vs. La. Tech–that won’t make a difference this week, but I bet if he plays another 60 against State, another 60 against WVU, etc., it’ll damn sure make a difference in weeks 9, 10, 11.
More. Stevens on why the new offense can help the defense:
“It feels good because we feel like this year we have more of an offense that can pay for us getting a stop,” Stevens said. “We feel like if we get a couple three-and-outs, the offense will be able to get the ball and just because of their pace, they’re going to wear down the other defense and they’ll be able to make them pay by putting points up on the board.
“Sooner or later, if you put enough points on the board, they’re going to get out of their gameplan and just be playing catch-up for the rest of the game.”
May it work out just as you’ve described, Craig. Also: Kodi says the Wildcat was reaching the secondary and should be close to hitting for a big one. I’d be more skeptical if Chizik hadn’t said the same thing. Speaking of the Chiznick, he expects that the similarities between Mullen’s offense and Malzahn’s offense will help Auburn’s defense. Whether that will also help Mississippi St.’s defense, he doesn’t say.
You’re still not as happy as you should be. As part of an excellent series comparing the SEC’s Week 1 results with early-season results from last season, TSK’s Year2 examined how Auburn’s wonder showzen against Tech holds up statistically against the high-water mark victory over Southern Miss in Week 2 of ’08. And hold up it most certainly does:
The passing average is a bit higher, the turnovers were cut in half, the time of possession dipped a bit and… oh who am I kidding? Hallelujah! The running game is back in Auburn. After last year’s offensive experiment exploded in the lab, the new offensive staff has brought back a rush-first mentality. Remember when people were saying that Gus Malzahn would be a repeat of pass-happy Tony Franklin? So not true. The pass-run ratio against USM was 36-39, while against LA Tech it was 27-52.
Year2 finishes the post by admitting his prediction of another 5-7 year for Auburn “might have been a bit short sighted.” It’ll take a little bit (and another win or two, obviously) for the full realization of what’s going on on the Plains to bubble up from the bloggers to the mainstream media, but it’ll happen.
I do not get it. After a flurry of mutual interest early in the recruiting process, either Auburn’s coaches cooled on Springville offensive lineman Chase Hughes or Hughes severely cooled on Auburn or some combination of the two, because Hughes fell off the Auburn radar some time ago and officially committed to Ole Miss yesterday.
I’ve already said my piece about the impending line-pocalypse and the apparent ambivalence of our coaching staff towards recruiting offensive linemen, so I won’t repeat myself. Suffice it to say I didn’t understand what was going on then, and that Hughes’s commitment is a nasty reminder that I still don’t.
Line. Auburn is a 14-point favorite over State; that kind of line worked out well last week, didn’t it?
Awwww, nuts. Tennessee’s laughably inept search for its Quarterback of the Future–in which Kiffin jettisoned multiple quality quarterbacks in order to land a big 2010 prize, then was told to talk to the hand by any number of high-profile recruits–has ended in depressingly non-embarrassing fashion. Can’t win ’em all.
Etc. ESPN’s Chris Low goes the compare-and-contrast route with Chizik and Mullen … Will shares an less-than-shocking picture of LSU fans in Seattle … and I would be remiss if I didn’t salute the Tide’s Brandon Deaderick, who has had to go through much, much more in the first couple of weeks of this football season than any young man should.
UPDATE: Forgot one very important link that you absolutely should know about: Your humble Auburn Blogger appeared on the Team Speed Kills Now radio show-slash-podcast last night to discuss SEC action and the Mississippi St. game; you can listen to it here. And I suggest you do.