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offense isn’t ‘hurrying enough

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Auburn’s offense isn’t ‘hurrying enough;’ could Tigers run more tempo against Georgia?

Updated Nov 6, 4:28 PM; Posted Nov 6, 4:28 PM

Auburn wide receiver Darius Slayton (81) leaps for a catch as Texas A&M defensive back Charles Oliver (21) defends during the second half of last weekend's game. Slayton's catch came late in the fourth quarter, when Auburn turned to a 2-minute offense to rally against Texas A&M. (Todd Kirkland/AP Photo)

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By Tom Green | tgreen@al.com

tgreen@al.com

Gus Malzahn hasn’t been practicing what he preaches.

The coach who wrote the book (quite literally) on the Hurry Up, No Huddle offense has seen his team’s offense look like it has been trudging through mud for much of the 2018 campaign. It was certainly the case for the majority of the game against Texas A&M last weekend, at least up until Auburn’s final two drives.

That’s when the Tigers, facing a 10-point deficit midway through the fourth quarter, turned to their 2-minute offense, spread out their best playmakers and slung the ball around en route to a furious and improbable late-game comeback.

“It's about rhythm,” Malzahn said Tuesday. “And there's no doubt we were in rhythm the last two series. You're always trying to find offensively a rhythm, so we'll see where that carries us these last three games.”

That rhythm has been hard to come by for Auburn’s offense this season. It has been found in spurts, like the three straight scoring drives against LSU in Week 3 and the explosive third quarter at Ole Miss two-plus weeks ago, but consistency has evaded Auburn on that side of the ball.

As a result, Auburn has one of the nation’s worst third-down offense and an average time of possession (26:31) is among the worst in college, ranking 124th among 129 FBS teams. The Tigers are also running just 67.2 plays per game — the fewest of the Malzahn era.

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Essentially, Auburn has gotten away from the Hurry Up, No Huddle philosophy that propelled Malzahn’s rise through the coaching industry and his early success on the Plains.

“We’re not hurrying enough,” Malzahn said. “As I said, a lot of it has to do with you’ve got to be successful. If you’re successful. The worst thing you can do is go quick and go three-and-outs. I’ll go back to our third downs too, we’ve got to be better in that area.”

The late-game reemergence of that style, however, provided Auburn with something that it can potentially build upon heading into this weekend’s road trip to No. 5 Georgia for the 123rd installment of the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry. During Auburn’s final two drives against Texas A&M, the Tigers totaled 129 yards of offense on just 10 plays — averaging 12.9 yards per play — while quarterback Jarrett Stidham completed 7-of-8 passes for 125 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including the game-winning one to freshman Seth Williams with 1:41 to play.

In running the 2-minute offense, Auburn also substituted less frequently as the unit moved and executed with a sense of urgency during the comeback effort.

“It just depends,” Malzahn said of substitution patterns. “You look at the rhythm that we ended the game with. That was pretty good. We weren’t substituting. There’s a fine line there. Sometimes you need to substitute for certain things, sometimes you don’t. If you’re not being successful on offense the worst thing you can go is a fast three-and-out — your defense is back out there. There’s strategy that goes with both and every game unfolds a little bit differently.”

With Auburn heading to Georgia —where it hasn’t won since 2005 and has endured a plethora of offensive issues in recent years — could the Tigers turn to a more concerted effort to run 2-minute scenarios on offense? Malzahn didn’t want to tip his hand, but the Tigers’ sixth-year coach didn’t rule anything out.

“I think all those options are available,” Malzahn said. “We’ll see where that goes.”

Tom Green is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Tomas_Verde.

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We haven't won in Athens since 2005? Im pretty sure we have one win in Tuscaloosa in the past 12 years too...We haven't won in Death Valley since 1999... do we even practice for road situations? 

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1 minute ago, Dual-Threat Rigby said:

... do we even practice for road situations? 

All white "Stormtrooper" practice uni's.....  

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5 hours ago, Dual-Threat Rigby said:

We haven't won in Athens since 2005? Im pretty sure we have one win in Tuscaloosa in the past 12 years too...We haven't won in Death Valley since 1999... do we even practice for road situations? 

In the last 12 years:

2-4 in Tuscaloser (2006, 2010)

0-5 in Athens

0-6 in LSU

Well, I guess it'd be 13 years to include 2006 in there but whatever. As far as other teams since 2006:

vs Arkansas - 3-3

vs Ole Miss - 5-2

vs MSU - 4-3

vs A&M - 3-0 (2013, 2015, 2017)

vs Tennessee - 2-0 (2009, 2013)

vs USC - 2-0 (2006, 2011)

vs UK - 2-0 (2010, 2015)

vs Florida - 1-0 (2007)

vs Mizzou - 1-0 (2017)

vs Vandy - 0-2 - both losses in bad years of 2008 and 2012

I remember when Tubs made a big deal about playing for pride in the white jerseys. There was a stretch of like 3 seasons where we lost like only 1 away game? I miss those days boy howdy.

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On 11/7/2018 at 4:07 PM, lca408 said:

In the last 12 years:

2-4 in Tuscaloser (2006, 2010)

0-5 in Athens

0-6 in LSU

Well, I guess it'd be 13 years to include 2006 in there but whatever. As far as other teams since 2006:

vs Arkansas - 3-3

vs Ole Miss - 5-2

vs MSU - 4-3

vs A&M - 3-0 (2013, 2015, 2017)

vs Tennessee - 2-0 (2009, 2013)

vs USC - 2-0 (2006, 2011)

vs UK - 2-0 (2010, 2015)

vs Florida - 1-0 (2007)

vs Mizzou - 1-0 (2017)

vs Vandy - 0-2 - both losses in bad years of 2008 and 2012

I remember when Tubs made a big deal about playing for pride in the white jerseys. There was a stretch of like 3 seasons where we lost like only 1 away game? I miss those days boy howdy.

the fact that we have even one SEC CG appearance, much less 3 in that span is incredulous. 

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On ‎11‎/‎7‎/‎2018 at 5:07 PM, lca408 said:

In the last 12 years:

2-4 in Tuscaloser (2006, 2010)

0-5 in Athens

0-6 in LSU

Well, I guess it'd be 13 years to include 2006 in there but whatever. As far as other teams since 2006:

vs Arkansas - 3-3

vs Ole Miss - 5-2

vs MSU - 4-3

vs A&M - 3-0 (2013, 2015, 2017)

vs Tennessee - 2-0 (2009, 2013)

vs USC - 2-0 (2006, 2011)

vs UK - 2-0 (2010, 2015)

vs Florida - 1-0 (2007)

vs Mizzou - 1-0 (2017)

vs Vandy - 0-2 - both losses in bad years of 2008 and 2012

I remember when Tubs made a big deal about playing for pride in the white jerseys. There was a stretch of like 3 seasons where we lost like only 1 away game? I miss those days boy howdy.

Correct for 100 pts. Between 2004 and 2006 our only regular season loss away from home was LSU in '05. That game would have been a victory if we had made just one of 5 missed FGS (!!!) As good as we were away from home, there were some head scratcher losses at home such as Ga Tech and the thrashing by UGA in '06. All in all though a very good 3 year run of consistency which we have definitely lost.  

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Here's an old vid I found of Gus. Is it me or did he seem like a completely different person... Confident... Clever... What the hell happened? Anyways thought some of y'all might enjoy this

 

 

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6 hours ago, Tigerpro2a said:

Here's an old vid I found of Gus. Is it me or did he seem like a completely different person... Confident... Clever... What the hell happened? Anyways thought some of y'all might enjoy this

 

 

He has become a tad over-confident?, and stubborn. Along with a lack of recruiting O-lineman and big RB's. 

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6 hours ago, cctiger said:

He has become a tad over-confident?, and stubborn. Along with a lack of recruiting O-lineman and big RB's. 

I agree with the stubborn.... But that's a different guy talking then what we have seen the last few years... I would disagree that he it's more confident now....he seems like a fish out of water when you watch him trail now. Jmo

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Defenses caught up with his schemes. He is coaching against elite players and coaches in the SEC.  he has never recovered and been able to reinvent the offense. He has to have an elite mobile qb in his offense and he hasn’t been able to recruit one that is sec caliber. 

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Gus isn't dumb and he hasn't forgotten how to coach. He's in a funk. We all get there. Sometimes you think you've got this under control and are grinding at work, getting stuff done, but the results keep confounding you. Takes time to figure it out. Imagine ratcheting up the pressure 100x with millions of people watching you try to figure it out in real time.

Gus has tried different stuff the last couple weeks. I expect we'll throw the kitchen sink at Alabama. Not sure how well that will work; they are exceptional at so many things.

I expect Gus will take over the offense completely in the off-season, hire a QB coach/Co-OC and try to reload for a better run in 2019. 

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3 hours ago, The Six said:

Gus isn't dumb and he hasn't forgotten how to coach. He's in a funk. We all get there. Sometimes you think you've got this under control and are grinding at work, getting stuff done, but the results keep confounding you. Takes time to figure it out. Imagine ratcheting up the pressure 100x with millions of people watching you try to figure it out in real time.

Gus has tried different stuff the last couple weeks. I expect we'll throw the kitchen sink at Alabama. Not sure how well that will work; they are exceptional at so many things.

I expect Gus will take over the offense completely in the off-season, hire a QB coach/Co-OC and try to reload for a better run in 2019. 

What you described in the first paragraph is a person that is burnt out at work trying to get his mojo back. It does take time to figure it out, but when your job depends on performance and you're not performing, you better find that solution quick.

Pressure is when the threat is what you fixate on and not how to solve it.  If you do not know, because of lack of experience, how to handle a situation, you ask for help.  Usually a mentor that you trust. Gus has no mentor as far as I can tell.  His rise through the coaching world was meteoric and he did not develop mentors, so who does he lean on?

The Bama game will find Gus in a fetal position in the sidelines. Not because he won’t throw the kitchen sink at Bama, but because Bama’s defense will stifle anything he comes up with.  Tua will only play the first qtr to give him time to rest up for the SECCG. Their defense will score more than our offense.

If Gus takes over the offense completely in the off-season he should be fired.

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