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Upon Further Review -Auburn Passing Game


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Upon Further Review - Auburn Pass Offense:


  • Yesterday I noted Auburn's 172 yards passing on 25 completions was the lowest yardage gained on at least 25 completions by an Auburn offense from 1961-2018. From 2000-2018, teams from the Southeastern Conference have combined for 351 games of at least 25 completions. Auburn's 172 yards gained against Georgia last night was the worst performance by an SEC team regarding passing yardage gained. 


  • Comparing Auburn's passing performance last night to other SEC teams, there were 73 games where an SEC team completed 25 passes during a game. The average passing yardage gained was 313 yards. 


  • Looking back at the last 3004 games involving an SEC team from 2000-2018, Gus Malzahn's pass offense appears six times in the top-5 worst percentile for the lowest yards per pass attempt during a game. 


  • Examining SEC teams during Malzahn's tenure at Auburn as OC and HFC, Auburn had seven finishes in the top-5 percentile of the worst yards per completion during a game. Only Florida (9), Kentucky (11), Tennessee (8) and Vanderbilt (8) had more finishes in the top-5. 


  • During the Malzahn offensive era at Auburn, the Tigers have been held to under 7-yards per pass attempt in nearly 1/3 of their games (31.6 percent). Auburn is 13-24 during those games. 


  • Against Power-5 competition, Auburn was held to under 7-yards per pass attempt in 39.3 percent of their games under Malzahn's offensive control. The Tigers are 11-24 in those games, scoring an average of 19 points per game. 


  • From 2015-2018, Auburn is now 3-14 against Power-5 teams when the Tigers average 7-yards per pass attempt or less. This includes an average of 16 points per game. 


  • Malik Miller and John Shenker were targeted as many times as Anthony Schwartz against the Bulldogs. 



  • For a passing offense that survives on the "short" passing game, Auburn is 13 of 29, converting situations of 2-yards or less to convert, throwing the football the past two seasons. 


  • During the last two games, Jarrett Stidham has attempted 37 passes within 5-yards of the line of scrimmage for 3.6 yards per attempt. For the season it is 170 pass attempts of the short variety for just 5.4 yards per attempt. 


  • From 2015-2018, Auburn has attempted 233 passes on first down against Power-5 competition with a winning record for a total of 8 touchdown passes. 


  • From 1992-2018, Auburn has averaged 8.21 yards per pass attempt on first down. Auburn's pass offense from 2015-2018 has reached that average only 23 of 50 games. The Tigers are 12-15 during the games they failed to reach the average. 


  • Auburn's pass-efficiency on third down from 1993-2018 is 126.5. This season Auburn has a pass rating of 111.0 on third down, held under 100 in 5 of 10 games. 


  • Gus Malzahn's collegiate offense is now 9-20 against Power-5 competition when the running game is held below 150-yards rushing. During those 29 games, his offense averaged 190 yards passing, 293 yards in total offense and 19 points per game. His pass offense threw for 35 touchdowns and 29 interceptions for 6.8 yards per pass attempt. 


  • Malzahn's offense is now 13-24 against top-40 defenses when his offense is held under 200-yards rushing. His offense averaged 315 yards and 20 points per game during those 37 games. Pass efficiency is 123.0 overall during those games, and his offense was 2-19 during the games they fell under a 123 rating. 


  • The majority of offenses are hindered without a consistent running game, so the above numbers are not an indictment of Gus Malzahn's offense only. Auburn's 3-13 record from 2015-2018, when held under 140-yards rushing, should be a sobering wakeup call for Malzahn to make changes offensively. 


  • From 2015-2018, Auburn is 9-13 against FBS opponents with a winning record, when Auburn attempted more than 40 percent of their passes within 5-yards of the line of scrimmage. Auburn averaged just 21 points per game during those 22 contests. 


  • During his post-game press conference, Gus Malzahn's explanation for so many short passes against Georgia was the Bulldogs took everything else away. If he cannot recognize how to adjust his pass offense to make plays downfield, it is long overdue to hire someone who can. There is nothing wrong with having a "run to set up the pass offense," but Auburn will not compete for a championship if they continue the same tendencies, throwing the football. Malzahn has some major decisions to make regarding his offensive coaching staff and whether or not he wants to maintain control over the product. 


War Eagle!

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7 minutes ago, StatTiger said:




  • Malik Miller and John Shenker were targeted as many times as Anthony Schwartz against the Bulldogs.

What coach could possibly think this would be the way to move the ball against UGA?

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8 minutes ago, StatTiger said:

Auburn was held to under 7-yards per pass attempt in 39.3 percent of their games under Malzahn's offensive control

Held by Malzahn...not by the D's. 

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Take away Ryan Davis' insane ability to make tacklers miss within those first 2-3 yards and our passing offense the last 2-3 years would be ATROCIOUS.

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  • RunInRed pinned and featured this topic

The ideal yards per attempt seems to be 7.5 to 8.0 yards. That equates to about 11 yards per completion.

Short passes are fine if they are designed to gain yardage after the catch. Quick slants and RPOs can make a 5 yard pass an 8 yard gain.

The bubble screen to a WR as a pre-snap read is fine when the defense loads the box to stop the run. Those quick WR screens may only pick up 4 yards. But combined with a diverse passing game, high probability 4 yard completions with longer passes can get the yards per attempt up into the 7.5 to 8.0 yard range.

Add to this short passing game a handful of explosive pass plays, and the yard per attempt gets into the 7.5 to 8.0 yard range.

Joe Montana's lifetime YPA is 7.5 yards on a completion rate of 63.2%. Montana spent most of his career in the epitome of a ball-control, short passing game offense, Bill Walsh's West Coast Offense.

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This is a staggering failure.

The only answer is a replacement of key offensive staff, and a complete removal of Malzahn from the play design, offensive game planning, and play calling.

Even if none of the blame can be placed at Chip Lindsey's feet, there is no way to give him complete control again (like he had last year, post-LSU). That ship has sailed. The fact Gus could pull control back means Lindsey is not the answer. This is the exact same thing that happened with Lashlee.

I think we need a big, powerful name at OC. Freeze or Petrino. It could be a disaster to have to giant egos on the same staff, but we cannot have Gus bully a young OC unless the AD is threatening to fire him as he has done the last several years.

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