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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Auburn coaches, players want offense to go faster

I touched on this in a previous blog post but turned it into a full-blown story for today's newspaper. It's about Auburn wanting its offense to move even faster than it did in the opener:

AUBURN, Ala. — The yards and points mounted, much to the excitement of the Jordan-Hare Stadium crowd, but Auburn’s offensive players and coaches left last Saturday’s game against Louisiana Tech somewhat unfulfilled.

The root of their discontent? The offense wasn’t fast enough.

“We are not anywhere close to being satisfied with the rhythm and the tempo of our offense right now,” coach Gene Chizik said. “We’re not close. … It has got to be faster.”

Auburn ran 79 plays in the 37-13 victory, finishing with 556 yards of total offense, but the Tigers didn’t reach the frenetic pace preferred by offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, whose offensive theory is based on speed.

History suggests it takes a while for Malzahn’s offense to get up to optimal speed. While serving as Tulsa’s offensive coordinator in 2007 and 2008, Malzhan’s offenses averaged 73 plays during the first three games of the season. The remainder of the time, they averaged 81.7.

By the end of each year, Malzahn’s offenses were hitting on all cylinders. In the final two games of both years, the Golden Hurricane averaged 90 plays per game.

“You can do so much in practices and scrimmages and all that, but, when you get your first game, the reality hits about how fast you can actually go as far as the officials will let you,” Malzahn said. “But, really, us being urgent, our communication, getting lined up and running the play, can be a lot more effective.”

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1 comment:

War Eagle AC-47 said...

In addition to the team getting cranked up to speed, the officials have to be ready to operate at a faster tempo as well.

I think Lee Ziemba mentioned something about this earlier in the week when he said the refs were often slowing the game down because they were not getting the ball on the line as quickly as possible.

It may be laziness, fatigue, or simply just doing things the way they've always done them. But the refs have to be prepared to step it up a notch tempo-wise. If they don't, then they are essentially robbing Auburn of the ability to use "hurry up" offense as an effective strategy.