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abw0004

early usage of Bo Nix prepares for A& M

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We need the Auburn defense to show up ready from the first snap. It's going to be a slobber knocker.

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This is a very insightful article and well thought out. If true then it says CGM hasn’t hidden what he wants to do from aTm. If we can make this work it could set up some runs later in the game because aTm adjusts for the passing. I hope Bo, and our receivers, has learned enough to do it this week. We’ll see if it works out Saturday.

Edited by toddc

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This pretty much tells me we are going to continue running it up the gut. Gus doesn't give a damn about where the opponents strengths and weaknesses are. He will try to do what he does regardless.

If I'm proven wrong, and I very much hope I am, I will most certainly admit it.

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17 minutes ago, Tiger said:

This pretty much tells me we are going to continue running it up the gut. Gus doesn't give a damn about where the opponents strengths and weaknesses are. He will try to do what he does regardless.

If I'm proven wrong, and I very much hope I am, I will most certainly admit it.

He doesn't really know any better. He's a simple man trying to do a complicated job. I expect a few new wrinkles because his job is on the line. I think Gus knew coming in he was going to be judged on SEC play and you could tell he's feeling the pressure with his abrasive interviews and postgame press conferences. If all he's going to do is run the ball up the middle, he might as well start planning his exit speech while the seasons is still hot.

 

Auburn cannot afford to lose this football game.

Edited by murpjf88
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If we start running a slant on the RPO this week I'll crap my pants. That's the missing link for this offense that can open up the run and alleviate some of the issues that our O Line is facing. 

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well.....well......well...... so he's saying Gus has been holding things back on purpose....as in Nix pulling it and running......getting Bo comfortable with the passing game becuase he knows he can run and needed more work on the passing game.....but all I've heard is Gus's playing calling this year has sucked 

glad to see articles like this giving Gus some credit 

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Auburn is only the #11 running team in the country because of the Kent State game. We're only averaging about 190 ypg rushing without it (467 vs 172, 206).

We'll need the pass to set up the run this weekend.

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4 minutes ago, WDE_OxPx_2010 said:

Auburn is only the #11 running team in the country because of the Kent State game. We're only averaging about 190 ypg rushing without it (467 vs 172, 206).

Every other school has also played at least 2 cupcakes just like we have...  That would make the ranking still a fair assessment. 

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3 minutes ago, WDE_OxPx_2010 said:

Auburn is only the #11 running team in the country because of the Kent State game. We're only averaging about 190 ypg rushing without it (467 vs 172, 206).

We'll need the pass to set up the run this weekend.

Yea, but look at the rest of the country and their cupcakes. I think that logic goes both ways. Who in the country has played a quality ranked opponent, and then a talented G5 school. We have 2 of the better wins in the country.

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unless you are UAt and you have played 3 cupcakes, but I wish someone would tell me who our 2 cupcakes were.  I get the Kent State, but uh....  I must have been watching a different game in the other 2 games we played this year.  

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8 minutes ago, Tigerpro2a said:

Yea, but look at the rest of the country and their cupcakes. I think that logic goes both ways. Who in the country has played a quality ranked opponent, and then a talented G5 school. We have 2 of the better wins in the country.

I agree with ya.  I am more scared of A&M than I was Oregon, though.... And our boys stole that one.  I have not seen drastic improvement yet from week to week.  Hopefully, potential will start to be realized against the Aggies. 

 

Side note on Kent State and unrelated:  The combination of Gatewood and Joiner in the backfield is scary.  I hope it will be used often moving forward.

 

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2 hours ago, Tiger said:

This pretty much tells me we are going to continue running it up the gut. Gus doesn't give a damn about where the opponents strengths and weaknesses are. He will try to do what he does regardless.

If I'm proven wrong, and I very much hope I am, I will most certainly admit it.

Gus has tried a few new/revamped things to get the edge running game going.  So far they've had mixed results.

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2 hours ago, Tiger said:

This pretty much tells me we are going to continue running it up the gut. Gus doesn't give a damn about where the opponents strengths and weaknesses are. He will try to do what he does regardless.

If I'm proven wrong, and I very much hope I am, I will most certainly admit it.

Haha. I love the sarcasm. I hate to admit feeling the same. Hope we don’t of course. I’d love a 2017 GA game style win. 

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51 minutes ago, dyehardfanAU said:

Gus has tried a few new/revamped things to get the edge running game going.  So far they've had mixed results.

I love that we're starting to pull the guards more in an attempt to get our run game going. I hope it works against our peers.

45 minutes ago, Beenjammin said:

Haha. I love the sarcasm. I hate to admit feeling the same. Hope we don’t of course. I’d love a 2017 GA game style win. 

I also want our O to look as unpredictable and dangerous as the 2017 UGA game! I want us to be like that all the time. I'm tired of this hiding stuff Gus does. He inevitably loses a winnable game in the process of sandbagging that dries up every ounce of our margin for error as we navigate our schedule. It's maddening.

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Very well thought out and well written post.  I am sure we will see some runs up the middle, which would be part of any normal game plan whether they are successful or not.  You have to give certain looks and run those plays in order to be able to set up other plays that can be successful.  I watched the Clemson v. TAM game and the only way Clemson was able to beat them was with a sound passing attack.  As the game progressed, the passing attack did open up their running game somewhat and what seemed to be effective were wide plays like the jet sweep.  Clemson still  tried the middle consistently in order to set up those wide plays.  It still amazes me that there are a number of you guys out there that have thrown in the towel for a loss before the game is even played.  Even if we were to beat TAM convincingly, you guys will find fault.  You continue to jump up and down wanting Gus to be replaced, but you will be the first to turn on any new coach who doesn't win the way you think they ought to be won.  Never satisfied.

JWShewmake

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Just now, JWShewmake said:

Very well thought out and well written post.  I am sure we will see some runs up the middle, which would be part of any normal game plan whether they are successful or not.  You have to give certain looks and run those plays in order to be able to set up other plays that can be successful.  I watched the Clemson v. TAM game and the only way Clemson was able to beat them was with a sound passing attack.  As the game progressed, the passing attack did open up their running game somewhat and what seemed to be effective were wide plays like the jet sweep.  Clemson still  tried the middle consistently in order to set up those wide plays.  It still amazes me that there are a number of you guys out there that have thrown in the towel for a loss before the game is even played.  Even if we were to beat TAM convincingly, you guys will find fault.  You continue to jump up and down wanting Gus to be replaced, but you will be the first to turn on any new coach who doesn't win the way you think they ought to be won.  Never satisfied.

JWShewmake

Yes some runs up the middle for balance is key. However 17 straight runs up the middle is not good coaching. Remove the remedial coaching mistakes and hard fought losses will be forgiven. Eliminate the winnable games lost to coaching blunders and people will be fine. You can look at the weak points in wins also. Anyone who's played a sport should be familiar with this concept.

Tiger

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I would love to think Malzahn has the forethought to have Nix pass more early on, in preparation for A&M, as the writer opines. But I just can't bring myself to believe it.

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22 hours ago, abw0004 said:

Per SDS:

“Now they can play it a little safer … but they’re not going to! Nix is back, throws it downfield! Caught! Touchdown Williams!”

Chris Fowler’s call of Bo Nix’s game-winning touchdown pass to Seth Williams will be remembered by Auburn fans for years to come. That Oregon win was a burst-onto-the-scene moment if there ever was one for the true freshman quarterback.

It was a situation in which Gus Malzahn easily could have run the ball with Nix or one of his tailbacks to try to get a more favorable go-ahead field goal attempt. But as Fowler said, Malzahn didn’t play it conservative. He let Nix drop back and throw the ball.

Throughout the first 3 games of Nix’s career, that’s been a theme of sorts. Nix, a dual-threat quarterback who had 2,112 rushing yards and 34 rushing touchdowns in high school, threw the ball 84 times (an average of 28) and ran it just 16 (an average of 5) in his first 3 games. In 2 of those games, he attempted more than 30 passes.

The first time Nix didn’t hit 30 pass attempts was this past weekend against Kent State, though he did still throw the ball while Auburn held a 38-10 lead late in the 3rd quarter.

I kept wondering about the run-to-pass ratio for Nix early on. As in, why has Malzahn had Nix airing it out so much when we thought Auburn would get back to its run-heavy days of old?

The more I think about it, the more I think Malzahn had the game at Texas A&M this Saturday on his mind.

Let me explain.

Obviously there’s something to be said for allowing a true freshman quarterback to develop a rapport with the receivers. Surely that’s part of the motivation for Nix’s high passing numbers. And yeah, I bet trailing throughout the second half fueled to the pass-heavy plan against Oregon.

But think about it: How do you beat Texas A&M?

Defensive coordinator Mike Elko is one of the best in the business (and is paid thusly). He quickly rose up the ranks because of how well his defenses defend the run. Last year, A&M ranked No. 2 in the country against the run. The Aggies allowed just 95.2 rushing yards per contest, which played a part in the program’s best season of the post-Johnny Manziel era.

You don’t beat A&M by running the ball. Don’t believe me? Ask preseason All-American Travis Etienne. Two weeks ago at Clemson, Etienne was held to 53 rushing yards on 16 carries against Elko’s defense. Why? Elko was intent on making Trevor Lawrence beat the Aggies. As he often does, Elko put an extra guy at the line of scrimmage and made sure it didn’t turn into a ground-and-pound day for the Tigers.

Since Elko arrived in College Station last year, look at how these backs fared against his defense:

  • Travis Etienne (Clemson): 8 carries, 44 yards; 16 carries, 53 yards
  • Josh Jacobs (Alabama): 6 carries, 10 yards
  • Damien Harris (Alabama): 7 carries, 52 yards
  • Najee Harris (Alabama): 8 carries, 43 yards
  • Benny Snell (Kentucky): 13 carries, 60 yards
  • JaTarvious Whitlow (Auburn): 8 carries, 16 yards
  • Nick Brossette: 16 carries, 61 yards

That’s 82 carries for 339 yards, which is an average of 4 yards per carry. Against a group of backs like that, that’s outstanding. The old “take what the defense is giving you” strategy comes into play, which explains why none of those backs even registered 20 carries. Elko’s defense isn’t giving the run.

Come Saturday, you can bet that Malzahn wants Nix to be able to recognize and capitalize on what Elko’s defense is giving him. When Nix sees that extra defender at the line of scrimmage and he’s making that call on the RPO, Malzahn wants the true freshman to think with his arm.

It would have been easy for Nix to approach the start of his college career by defaulting to what he’s comfortable doing. I tend to think with any new dual-threat quarterback, running would be the default. But an 84%-16% pass-to-run split is much more lopsided than what you usually see from a young, true dual-threat QB, which Nix is (Lamar Jackson had a career 62%-38% pass-to-run split).

By sticking with the pass, Malzahn allowed Nix to work through some early accuracy issues. Granted, Auburn receivers had a couple key drops most recently against Kent State (Nix took the blame for them). But Malzahn’s pass-heavy approach with Nix hasn’t been because he’s been lighting it up and that’s what’s been working. Auburn has the No. 11 running game in the country. That’s what’s working.

But by giving Nix extra passing reps, it’s allowed for him to work through some things. His footwork still needs to get better, as does chemistry throwing to receivers over the middle. There could still be some growing pains against the Aggies, but perhaps a few less than he would have had if his throwing attempts had been cut in half in his first 3 games.

Does that guarantee that Nix is going to dice up the A&M secondary and lead Auburn to its second Top 25 win away from Jordan-Hare? Of course not. But so far, Malzahn has made all the right calls since taking over play-calling duties following a disappointing 2018 season. His decision to start Nix over 3 older scholarship quarterbacks, while bold, looks smart.

On Saturday, Malzahn’s approach with Nix can pay off again. And if it does, well, perhaps we should be talking about whether this has the makings of another one of those magical years on The Plains.

The ending of this Texas A&M game is going to do a couple of things in this forum:

It’s going to shut people up or it’s going to shut people up. I can’t wait for this game because it’s SEC play, but moreover, it will finally answer a lot of questions for a couple of factions on this board. I am thinking victory this Saturday. 

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16 minutes ago, DAG said:

The ending of this Texas A&M game is going to do a couple of things in this forum:

It’s going to shut people up or it’s going to shut people up. I can’t wait for this game because it’s SEC play, but moreover, it will finally answer a lot of questions for a couple of factions on this board. I am thinking victory this Saturday. 

I’m feeling like this game could be our 2013 LSU game...we find our offensive identity late in the game.  The biggest difference b/w now and then is that we have a D that might not surrender so many points that early. Not sure on the W/L, but I think it could kick start a special run.

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17 hours ago, JWShewmake said:

Never satisfied

Successful people and successful programs never are.

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8 minutes ago, bigbird said:

Successful people and successful programs never are.

bigbird

FIFY

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34 minutes ago, bigbird said:

Successful people and successful programs never are.

This. I see a lot of complacent whiners repeating the "what if we end up being a laughing stock like Tennessee and going through a bunch of coaches." That's the risk ladies and gentlemen! It happens to a lot of people. Some seem to forget that Alabama didn't jump immediately from the Bear to Satan. There was a lot of turnover between the two.

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39 minutes ago, bigbird said:

Successful people and successful programs never are.

This is true.......but there is a big difference between never being satisfied and someone that bitches and moans all the time.....

In my business I keep those positive upbeat people that are always challenging themselves to be better.......the ones that are always negative  or blame others for their lack of performance and are always bitching and moaning about work related stuff are the cancer to the agency and those are the ones that are let go.

 

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