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7 way-too-early predictions for Auburn’s offense in 2022

Dave Hooker
5-6 minutes

Auburn’s offense looked vastly different last year compared to the season before. The vast, sweeping change should be more like ebbs and flows this season. Maybe.

Bryan Harsin enters Year 2 without the challenge of installing a new offense. His multiple-tight end sets are well in place. However, Harsin does have some similar hurdles to overcome this season. He has to continue to develop his offense under a new quarterback — again — and continue to win his team over, which looked as if it had jumped ship just a few months ago.

The agonizing Bo Nix era is finally over. His exit was part of one whopper of an offseason in which multiple players transferred, both coordinators had to be replaced and Auburn’s athletic department investigated the program. Are things settled now? We’ll see.

So what can Auburn fans expect from Auburn’s offense in 2022? Here’s a glimpse:

Zach Calzada will start the season at quarterback

That does not mean that Calzada will end the season at quarterback. Let’s take things one step at a time. When it comes to Auburn’s offense, it’s important to slow down and consider what could unfold. We’ll get to that below. For now, let’s look at that season-opener against Mercer on Sept. 3. Most around Auburn’s program believe Calzada will be the Tigers’ starter despite missing spring practice with an injury. Calzada has plenty of experience in the SEC. He gained that last season with Texas A&M before transferring. Despite the change in scenery, a new offense and missing offseason practice time, Calzada will nab the starting position — for now.

Calzada will not start every game this season

The above statement has nothing to do with injuries. Auburn is unique in its quarterback room. The two thought to be closest in the quarterback competition to Calzada both have intriguing back stories. TJ Finley played last season in relief of Nix during a comeback win against Georgia State and when Nix was injured later in the season. Therefore, everyone knows that Finley can at least play in the SEC. Robby Ashford transferred from Oregon with the intent of playing and performed well during spring practice. There isn’t much room for Calzada to slip if he is indeed named the starter during preseason camp.

The Tigers will rely on the running game even more

The Tigers were a bit too pass-happy last season. Auburn threw for just over 3,100 yards last season and ran for just 2,096. That simply won’t do for Harsin. It would be a surprise if the Tigers didn’t run for more than 2,500 yards this season given their strengths and weaknesses. If Auburn isn’t a better running team than last season, then running back Tank Bigsby has not been used enough. That leads us to …

Bigsby will run for 1,500 yards

Bigsby is one of the most proven running backs in the SEC entering 2022. He ran for 834 yards in a COVID-shortened freshmen season. Then he added 1,099 yards rushing last season — and many Auburn fans thought he still wasn’t used enough. He considered transferring, but Auburn coaches convinced him that the offense will run through him in 2022. That’s welcome news.

Bigsby will turn pro after the 2022 season

There is more incentive for players to stay in school with NIL money being doled out at most every opportunity. However, Bigsby is ready to make his run into the NFL. The junior will have nothing to prove after this season and plays a position in which time is not on his side. Bigsby just has to stay healthy. If not…

Jarquez Hunter will assume more of a role

This will be the case regardless of how Bigsby performs. Hunter’s explosiveness is in dire need this season. Hunter can change a game in just a few seconds. Auburn’s plodding offense doesn’t showcase that elsewhere.

Consider this: He averaged 6.7 yards per carry last season en route to 593 yards. In 89 attempts, he had 7 rushes of 20+ yards and 3 covering 30 or more yards. In 223 carries, Bigsby had 10 rushes of 20+ yards and 4 of 30 or more.

Hunter will certainly make some highlight plays this season. He’d better. If not, Auburn will be in trouble.

Auburn will be looking for a new offensive coordinator after this season

Former Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn was criticized for not having a more clearcut hierarchy of decision-makers. Auburn replaced him with Harsin, who seems to be repeating that pattern. Take it from the School of Malzahn. When things aren’t going well, make a vast, sweeping change on offense.

Harsin promoted wide receivers coach Eric Kiesau to offensive coordinator after Austin Davis backed out, but if Auburn struggles, expect another change after the season. How vast? Let’s see how the season unfold.

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I don’t think Bigsby will get 1500.  I expect the run game to continue to struggle.

If Harsin brings in a new OC it better be because someone good is available and not because the offense is struggling.  
 

Playing musical chairs with Qbs is a recipe for disaster.  No way to build consistency on offense if you can’t pick a Qb and stick with him the whole season.  Putting in someone new like TJ against Ga State should only be done in emergencies like Ga State.

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2 hours ago, aubiefifty said:

7 way-too-early predictions for Auburn’s offense in 2022

Dave Hooker
5-6 minutes

Auburn’s offense looked vastly different last year compared to the season before. The vast, sweeping change should be more like ebbs and flows this season. Maybe.

Bryan Harsin enters Year 2 without the challenge of installing a new offense. His multiple-tight end sets are well in place. However, Harsin does have some similar hurdles to overcome this season. He has to continue to develop his offense under a new quarterback — again — and continue to win his team over, which looked as if it had jumped ship just a few months ago.

The agonizing Bo Nix era is finally over. His exit was part of one whopper of an offseason in which multiple players transferred, both coordinators had to be replaced and Auburn’s athletic department investigated the program. Are things settled now? We’ll see.

So what can Auburn fans expect from Auburn’s offense in 2022? Here’s a glimpse:

Zach Calzada will start the season at quarterback

That does not mean that Calzada will end the season at quarterback. Let’s take things one step at a time. When it comes to Auburn’s offense, it’s important to slow down and consider what could unfold. We’ll get to that below. For now, let’s look at that season-opener against Mercer on Sept. 3. Most around Auburn’s program believe Calzada will be the Tigers’ starter despite missing spring practice with an injury. Calzada has plenty of experience in the SEC. He gained that last season with Texas A&M before transferring. Despite the change in scenery, a new offense and missing offseason practice time, Calzada will nab the starting position — for now.

Calzada will not start every game this season

The above statement has nothing to do with injuries. Auburn is unique in its quarterback room. The two thought to be closest in the quarterback competition to Calzada both have intriguing back stories. TJ Finley played last season in relief of Nix during a comeback win against Georgia State and when Nix was injured later in the season. Therefore, everyone knows that Finley can at least play in the SEC. Robby Ashford transferred from Oregon with the intent of playing and performed well during spring practice. There isn’t much room for Calzada to slip if he is indeed named the starter during preseason camp.

The Tigers will rely on the running game even more

The Tigers were a bit too pass-happy last season. Auburn threw for just over 3,100 yards last season and ran for just 2,096. That simply won’t do for Harsin. It would be a surprise if the Tigers didn’t run for more than 2,500 yards this season given their strengths and weaknesses. If Auburn isn’t a better running team than last season, then running back Tank Bigsby has not been used enough. That leads us to …

Bigsby will run for 1,500 yards

Bigsby is one of the most proven running backs in the SEC entering 2022. He ran for 834 yards in a COVID-shortened freshmen season. Then he added 1,099 yards rushing last season — and many Auburn fans thought he still wasn’t used enough. He considered transferring, but Auburn coaches convinced him that the offense will run through him in 2022. That’s welcome news.

Bigsby will turn pro after the 2022 season

There is more incentive for players to stay in school with NIL money being doled out at most every opportunity. However, Bigsby is ready to make his run into the NFL. The junior will have nothing to prove after this season and plays a position in which time is not on his side. Bigsby just has to stay healthy. If not…

Jarquez Hunter will assume more of a role

This will be the case regardless of how Bigsby performs. Hunter’s explosiveness is in dire need this season. Hunter can change a game in just a few seconds. Auburn’s plodding offense doesn’t showcase that elsewhere.

Consider this: He averaged 6.7 yards per carry last season en route to 593 yards. In 89 attempts, he had 7 rushes of 20+ yards and 3 covering 30 or more yards. In 223 carries, Bigsby had 10 rushes of 20+ yards and 4 of 30 or more.

Hunter will certainly make some highlight plays this season. He’d better. If not, Auburn will be in trouble.

Auburn will be looking for a new offensive coordinator after this season

Former Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn was criticized for not having a more clearcut hierarchy of decision-makers. Auburn replaced him with Harsin, who seems to be repeating that pattern. Take it from the School of Malzahn. When things aren’t going well, make a vast, sweeping change on offense.

Harsin promoted wide receivers coach Eric Kiesau to offensive coordinator after Austin Davis backed out, but if Auburn struggles, expect another change after the season. How vast? Let’s see how the season unfold.

I think positive predictions are still pending on who we get in the portal in terms of WRs and OL. Obviously having a couple more WRs that are threats in addition to our TEs would hopefully open things up a bit for the run game even if there are not upgrades on the OL. 

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4 hours ago, aubiefifty said:

Bigsby will run for 1,500 yards

 

Like 99.9999% positive that this will not happen

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17 minutes ago, W.E.D said:

Like 99.9999% positive that this will not happen

 one can hope right?

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The Offense will l be pretty much like it has been last few years pretty much ineffective against the better defenses and even in games against teams with good offenses and weaker defenses the offense will not be able to outscore our opponents.  Defense will struggle with the loss of Eason and Mason.

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The same OL which was God awful in run blocking last year amazingly gets a 1500 yard back? 

Pass happy? They couldn't rush to save their lives last season. 

Hunter did nothing against quality opponents last season. 

Unless Harsin somehow convinces a stud OC to come, there is 0 reason to fire his Boise buddy. If the O struggled and Auburn struggles to reach .500 even if harsin stays, no OC is coming here. 

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2 hours ago, GunsmithAU said:

The same OL which was God awful in run blocking last year amazingly gets a 1500 yard back? 

I don't think the OL will be great, but the OL should have ~3 new starters.

KZ will start at left tackle vs Trox
Hopefully someone starts of B Council who was really back
RT could be Coffey or a transfer

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Yeah, lots of issues with this guy’s logic.   Tank will not get 1500 because of the OL.  He thinks the O will be successful and then we’re going to replace our OC, Harsin’s buddy?   No way!   
 

Run game will struggle again for obvious reasons.  Also, QB room is underwhelming.    Therefore the O overall will struggle.   The most likely scenario is that we will be replacing the OC because the new HC will want his own OC.   

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Posted (edited)

Is Tank over rated? Is he just an above adverge running back or a super star held back by poor play calling and or offense line?

Edited by beagle34
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Posted (edited)
31 minutes ago, beagle34 said:

Is Tank over rated? Is he just an above adverge running back or a super star held back by poor play calling and or offense line?

Somewhere in the middle.   He’s legit good, maybe could be elite behind a very good OL.  As it stands, he has above average production because his OL is trash at run blocking.  
 

Edit:   A couple of examples:   Tre Mason and Michael Dyer were two good/very good RBs who had elite OLs (and a major run threat at QB) which led to elite production!!!   Kenny Irons and Kerryon Johnson we’re both really good RBs who were better than their numbers indicated because their OLs weren’t on the same level as the previous two.   Tank and Hunter’s OL is worse than any of the other 4 OLs mentioned.   If Tank gets 1500 yards with this OL, he deserves the Heisman, the Lombardi, and the Chuck Norris awards!!!

Edited by AUinMS9528
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On 5/7/2022 at 12:29 AM, Dual-Threat Rigby said:

no clue what the team looks like outside of our OL not being much better. I dunno how a not much better offensive line is allowing Tank Bigsby to get 1500 yards unless Tank has turned into AP or Herschel Walker. 

I'm really going to hate myself for what I'm about to say b/c I know it is not true and I'm just going to be let down....

BUT....

Is it possible we might be a little better if we can replace 3 starts from last year's team?  KZ at LT, hopefully someone replaces Council, New Right Tackle possibly from the portal.  I think a lot of people harp on the "same OL is returning" when I don't think most of the Super Seniors besides Brahms will start.

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5 hours ago, W.E.D said:

I'm really going to hate myself for what I'm about to say b/c I know it is not true and I'm just going to be let down....

BUT....

Is it possible we might be a little better if we can replace 3 starts from last year's team?  KZ at LT, hopefully someone replaces Council, New Right Tackle possibly from the portal.  I think a lot of people harp on the "same OL is returning" when I don't think most of the Super Seniors besides Brahms will start.

I think virtually anyone would know more about how the OL has progressed more than me, but this was a staff that was rigid at weird times when it came to roster decisions and flexible at others. I wouldn’t be shocked if they just give a short leash to the OL  and do the unimaginable and split first team reps at multiple positions within the OL (can’t do that with center or the blindside tackle very much, I imagine)

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Our offense will be a meddling offense once again. Likely lower half of SEC. It all stems from the OL issues that have been an issue for years.

Tank is a pretty good RB, but he's not an all world 1,500yd RB. He wouldn't get that behind even a good OL and on offense that focuses on the running game. Overall i think he's a bit overrated. He's the type of RB that would look fantastic if we could keep the defenses' hands off him before he reached the line or consistently have some space to work and build up speed. But we don't. He's not great at shedding tacklers. He and the rest of the RBs will still struggle to gain momentum. Drives will die, and we'll be forced to punt.

Our WR core is pretty bad/inexperienced imo. I don't see much redeeming there at the moment. 

TEs are pretty good, but you can't base your offense on passing to the TEs. 

And QB? Who the hell knows. It will be inconsistent.

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Some of this can be expected!

 

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