arrow-circle arrow-long-stroke arrow-stroke arrow-thick arrow-thin arrow-triangle icon 2 baseballCreated with Sketch. basketball calendar category check-circle check-square check comment facebook-circle facebook-icon facebook-rounded facebook-square facebook-stroke football instagram-circle instagram-icon instagram-square long-arrow-right rss-circle rss-rounded rss-square rss-stroke rss twitter-circle twitter-icon twitter-rounded twitter-square twitter-stroke user-group user

Malzahn: Time to Speed Things Up

By on March 19th, 2014 in Featured Article, Football 5 Comments »
Photo by Julie Bennett/al.com

Photo by Julie Bennett/al.com

Can it possibly be the start of spring practice? With the announcement yesterday morning of the hiring of Bruce Pearl as Auburn Head Basketball Coach, it didn’t seem much like opening day of football practice. Besides I still haven’t gotten Rod Bramblett’s voice out of my head and we’re about to start over again. But Auburn did hold its first practice of spring Tuesday.

And things are a little different this go around. For starters, ESPN brought live reports throughout the morning from Auburn. And this year its Gus Malzahn’s guys who’ll get the coveted Saturday afternoon ESPN slot for its A-Day Game – not Alabama.

But don’t expect Malzahn to sit around with Bruce Springsteen playing in the background while he reflects on the glory days.

“We’ve been really up front with our guys. We’re definitely proud of how far they came. That’s in the past. It’s a complete, new season. This is a new team,” Malzahn said. “We’ve got to earn it. All we’re talking about is earning the right to try to get back to a game like that (the national championship).”

In Monday’s pre-spring press conference, Malzahn seemed to poke his finger back into Nick Saban’s eye.

“We think we can be quite a bit faster,” Malzahn said.

Of course, he was referring to his HUNH offense that’s become the kryptonite to Saban’s future in Tuscaloosa. On a day when Malzahn was talking about moving faster, Saban continued to whine, this time to David Pollack of ESPN.

Again, Saban continued to use safety as his excuse for reducing the HUNH offense. He never commented on the dangers of his team facing the likes of Chattanooga, a team Alabama outweighed by more than 40 pounds across the offensive line. If he really cared, seems like that would be a good jumping off point.

If last season was like driving in the left-hand lane, this year should resemble the Autobahn. With eight starters back from last year’s record-breaking offense, including quarterback Nick Marshall, look for Auburn to significantly increase its play count.

Marshall is the first returning quarterback in Malzahn’s nine years as a college coach. Yes, it’s a scary thought.

While Auburn has been the face of the HUNH in the national media, surprisingly, there were five other teams in the SEC last season that ran as many or more plays from scrimmage each game, led by Ole Miss who averaged six more plays per contest than Auburn at 79.8 per game.

In fact, Auburn ranked only 61st nationally in that category last year. Malzahn is out to change that this year. You look at these stats and realize why Saban is so spooked.

And to think, he brought Lane Kiffin in to keep up. Spring has never felt so good.

5 Comments

  1. GreenvilleAUfan GreenvilleAUfan says:

    At first, 61st ranking was hard to believe. But then Malzahn can slow it down and do ball control or speed it up – depends on the game situation. So yea, Auburn can go much faster.

  2. MyAuburn MyAuburn says:

    I love the digs at Saban. He knows what he is doing at the podium. Depth concerns me this year, if the injury bug bites we could be in trouble winning 9 games. If we stay healthy, a spot in the top 4 is a lock.

  3. restless6 says:

    Someone already said it, but Saban is beginning to look old and tired. Gus looks young and energetic, and how cool will it be to see Pearl during FB season cheering the team on?

  4. wde1988 wde1988 says:

    Obvious dig at Saban. And frankly one that he delivered on already.

    Amazing the changes occuring around the SEC:

    UGA gets FSU’s defensive coordinator.

    UF trying to install the HUNH.

    bama has Kiffen.

    My oh my.

    It’s our time. AU has to come out of the gate hot! Which is something we never do. I hope AU Family, that we are in for a pleasant surprise. Let’s get after it Big Blue! Bring that trophy home!

    WDE

  5. Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

    Shots fired. I love it.