I think Malzahn is a good coach. Here’s a basic reason why I believe that.
Head coach Gus Malzahn said the one-sidedness in his play calling hasn’t struck him as strange, citing his background as a high school coach, where being able to adapt to the skill set of the roster is paramount.
“It’s just whatever you do best, you need to build around that,” he said. “That’s kind of what we’re doing best right now.”
Though many like to draw comparisons to what Marshall is doing now to the things Cam Newton did during the 2010 campaign, Malzahn said the offense Auburn is fielding this year has its own iterations that set it apart.
“The first year, no matter whether it was Chris Todd or Cam Newton or Nick Marshall, the core of who we are foundation-wise didn’t change,” he said. “We just build around the strengths of our quarterback.”
There are a lot of college coordinators who never learn that lesson. Or learn it too late.
One thing I’m curious about is Malzahn giving credit to his high school background as the reason for his success. Clemson’s Chad Morris is another guy who’s transitioned his high school work into the college game at a high level. I’m sure there are plenty of coaches who didn’t make the leap successfully, but is there any data out there to suggest that college offensive coordinators who come from the high school ranks do better on average than others?
Jesus, this is an embarrassing read.
At least there’s a slight nod in the way of Georgia’s existence.
You have an amazing opportunity, Coach. You’ll have to get past a pesky Georgia team next Saturday in order to turn your game against Alabama into a tiebreaker for the SEC West title.
“Pesky”, eh? That Georgia team has
two more wins one more win over top ten teams this season than Gus has.
Richt on former assistant Rodney Garner, who’s now at Auburn: “He certainly knows defensively what we do and how we call things.”
It’s Georgia’s tenth game of the season. Malzahn’s coached against Grantham twice already in his career. If he needs Garner to tell him what Georgia does defensively at this point, Auburn’s in more trouble than I thought.
I take all that back if it turns out that Rodney knows how Grantham gives away a blitz call by the way he stands behind that towel. (I keed, I keed.)
Just a few things that popped into my head yesterday:
- You guys want to fret about how Georgia’s defense handles the Auburn rushing attack, fine, be my guest. This is worrying me a helluva lot more.
- This may be the most dismaying stat of all to ponder, if you’re a Georgia fan.
- “For a decade, the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry has been decided in an old-fashioned kind of way. In each of the previous 10 years, the team that finished with the most rushing yards in the Auburn/Georgia game also went home a winner. A team hasn’t been beaten on the ground and won in the series since 2002, when Auburn had 199 rushing yards to Georgia’s 104 and the Bulldogs topped the Tigers 24-21 anyway.”
- That being said, only one team has managed to outrush Georgia in a game this season – Vanderbilt on Oct. 19.
- This, too: “Georgia is averaging 7.5 yards per play on drives in which Gurley touches the ball. On drives in which he doesn’t touch the ball, it drops to 5.9 yards per play.”
- On offense, Auburn is averaging about 15 yards per game more than Georgia and on defense, the Tigers are yielding around 27 yards per game more than the (much-maligned) Dawg defense is.
- The strength of schedule gap isn’t small, but perhaps not as large as you might think, at least according to Sagarin.
UPDATE: This is from today, but it’s too good not to add to the list.
If Todd Grantham’s defense can slow down Auburn’s running game and force Marshall to pass, Georgia’s chances of victory increase exponentially. Marshall has attempted 10 or more passes just six times this season and has completed at least 60 percent of his passes in only two of those games.
In case you’re wondering, those two games were against Mississippi and Mississippi State.
Auburn opens as a three-point favorite at home against Georgia.
Another day of tasty bits…
- Aaron Murray makes his 50th consecutive career start this Saturday. As impressive as that is, it’s even more impressive when you realize that he’s the only quarterback in the SEC East to have started every game this season.
- Gary Danielson explains the secret to beating Alabama.
- Really bad call by the officials in last night’s Ohio-Buffalo game. Even worse, it wasn’t reviewable.
- Chris Brown does his usual great job with this piece about Baylor’s offense. I love this quote from West Virginia’s defensive coordinator describing the loss to Baylor: “unlike anything I’ve ever been associated with in my entire life. It was just catastrophic in a lot of ways to our psyche.”
- For the head coach of an 8-1 team, Gus Malzahn doesn’t seem to be having a fun week.
- Dan Mullen’s understatement about defending Texas A&M: “You say we’ll put two guys on Manziel and two guys on Evans, but then there are seven on the other nine and we’re two short. That could be a problem.” Yeah, that could.
- “Boyd, as well as prosecutors, said that he incorrectly identified the person who helped move the woman, raising eyebrows since Boyd and Carta-Samuels had been Vanderbilt teammates for three seasons by that point, making the chance that he, as a receiver, might misidentify his own quarterback seem curious to some.” Then again, maybe that explains why Vanderbilt’s offense struggles at times.
- Shawn Williams is on the sidelines at the Georgia-Florida game and Corey Moore plays his best game of the season. Coincidence?
You may have heard about the Auburn player who had to come out of the Arkansas game. It wouldn’t be such a big deal if Malzahn hadn’t been so sanctimonious about the subject of fake injuries earlier this year, as this clip neatly indicates:
That said, I don’t know what gives me the bigger chuckle – Malzahn’s wide-eyed “he got hurt” response immediately after the game, or that Bielema had the nerve to complain about another coach’s gamesmanship.
Come, you must be hungry.
- The Bielema-Malzahn feud continues. I’m kind of enjoying it. (But I expect Arky’s gonna get pounded this weekend.)
- Clowney: “Last year, I really didn’t practice real hard.”
- Boom is starting to get hot seat questions.
- Macon Dawg scores a nice interview with ESPN’s Rece Davis, in which Davis talks a good bit about Georgia, Florida and the Cocktail Party. It would have been even better with an awkward Jesse Palmer question, but I guess you can’t have everything.
- You may think Bill Connelly is just a stat guru, but he’s a CFB fan first, as this eloquent post demonstrates.
- However, some Mizzou fans are finding other (NSFW) ways to cope with the loss to South Carolina (h/t MrSEC.com).
- “If you’re not an alumnus with access to skyboxes and everything else,” Parker said, “this is kind of the common man’s skybox.”
- Division I coaches in non-revenue sports want in on the new super-division action, too.
- “I thought it was a celebration penalty, because everybody was jumping around. Then they were talking about I was ejected.”
- Shaq Wiggins asked Mark Richt about the weather on Saturday. Don’t forget to ask about the unfair travel arrangements, Shaq!
- Another day, another shocking item of evidence the NCAA wants to introduce in the O’Bannon case.
The Cam parallels start… now.
Ah, second chances in today’s SEC. If Auburn makes it to a CBS game this year, I can hear Uncle Verne’s dulcet tones already.
And here’s the obvious musical accompaniment to Gus’ decision:
Gene Chizik left a pretty full cupboard for Gus.
That is no misprint in having Auburn third. Recruiting ratings didn’t drop off during Gene Chizik’s tenure. Things like this are why I am so convinced that last year’s 3-9 season was a result largely of players quitting on the coach. The talent is there. It just needs to be used properly, and there’s a good chance that the new regime will get a pretty good bounce back season this fall.
I was at last year’s Georgia-Auburn game and it was pretty apparent, especially on defense, that Tiger team had stopped listening to the coaches. So I think Year2′s got that right.
That being said, Auburn will be on its third defensive coordinator in three years, all running different schemes, on its third offensive coordinator in three years (although 2013 is a quasi-restoration of order in some sense) and looking for a new starting quarterback for the fifth consecutive season. That does not strike me as adding up to a smooth transition.
One tell to watch is whom Malzahn picks to start at quarterback. If he goes with a true freshman there, he’ll be playing for longer term development. That’s not a bad decision if the kid is as talented as early reports make out. After all, if anybody’s got a fan base with some patience this season, it’s Gus Malzahn.