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Friday, October 15, 2010

Dual-threat quaterback Cam Newton gives offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn new tools

I wrote a story for today's newspaper about how Gus Malzahn has tailored Auburn's offense to quarterback Cam Newton's strengths. Here's how it starts:
AUBURN, Ala. — Gus Malzahn’s dwindling detractors often point to his not-so-distant past as a high school coach as the crux of their criticisms of him.

But that background has helped Auburn’s coordinator be amenable to tailoring the Tigers’ offense to quarterback Cam Newton’s strengths this year.

“I’m used to building the offense around the strengths of the quarterback,” Malzahn said.

The result is something different from anything he has had in his five years as a college coordinator.

Thanks to the dual-threat capabilities of the 6-foot-6, 250-pound Newton, Auburn is more run-based this season than any of Malzahn’s previous offenses. The Tigers have run the ball on 70.8 percent of their plays, getting 57.1 percent of their yards on the ground.

The first figure is higher than any of Malzahn’s previous four offenses. The second is beaten by only the 2006 Arkansas team that featured running backs Darren McFadden and Felix Jones and was only marginally controlled by Malzahn.
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Just for fun, here are some stats from previous offenses Malzahn has led:

2006: Arkansas
  • 539 rushes (3,199 yards), 302 passes (2,093 yards) 64.1% run, 60.1% run yardage
  • QB Casey Dick/Mitch Mustain 21 rushes, -32 rushing yards, 1 TD, 1885 passing yards, 19 TD
2007: Tulsa
  • 523 rushes (2,183 yards), 517 passes (4,870 yards) 50.2% run, 30.9% run yardage
  • QB Paul Smith 96 rushes, 73 rushing yards, 12 TD, 4,753 passing yards, 42 TD
2008: Tulsa
  • 674 rushes (3,752 yards), 423 passes (4,226 yards) 61.4% run, 47.0% run yardage
  • QB David Johnson 92 rushes, 186 rushing yards, 3 TD, 4,059 passing yards, 46 TD
2009: Auburn
  • 550 rushes (2,756 yards), 364 passes (2,857 yards) 60.2% run, 49.1% run yardage
  • QB Chris Todd 44 carries, -116 rushing yards, 0 TD, 2,612 passing yards, 22 TD
2010: Auburn
  • 284 rushes (1,656 yards), 117 passes (1,242 yards) 70.8% run, 57.1% run yardage
  • QB Cam Newton 104 carries, 672 rushing yards, 9 TD, 1,138 passing yards, 12 TD


Anonymous said...

Pretty interesting stats. Even though we run more this year, it's still not that skewed in terms of yardage. That means Gus's run-to-set-up-the-bomb scheme is working in the SEC. Yay for high-school offenses?

Those Tulsa offenses were ridiculous. 7k yards? Sheesh. Guess they don't play any defense in that conference.

Anonymous said...

Great stuff. Should we consider the skew "the Newton Effect?" And what will defenses do to take away the run?

CHB said...

I say just do what works. I don't care how it looks when broken down I just care about the W's.