Auburn Team News

Offensive genius? Gus Malzahn adds another dud to growing list

Gus Malzahn
Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports

Here I am again writing about another dreadful Auburn offensive performance. This has become a Gus Malzahn era tradition.

I did the same a year ago after that season’s Clemson loss. I did so after last season’s loss to Georgia – the Malzahn offensive stink-bomb which still most sticks in my craw. I did so after the loss to Oklahoma and before he chose Chip Lindsey as his new offensive coordinator.

Writing about Auburn’s offensive failures under Gus Malzahn has become tiring. Not nearly as tiring, however, as it has become for Auburn fans to watch.

Gus Malzahn is (was) touted as an offensive genius. His track record shows anything, but.

Auburn scored six points against Clemson. That’s roughly one point for every million dollars Auburn pays Malzahn to dazzle us with his offensive brilliance.

For a DEEP dive on the gruesome offensive numbers from the Clemson game, click here.

Six points against Clemson. Nineteen against Oklahoma. Twelve against Alabama. Seven against Georgia. Twenty-three against Vanderbilt. Eighteen against LSU – all field goals. Sixteen against Texas A&M. And 13 last year against Clemson.

Auburn’s last 15 football games have seen the Tigers score fewer than 20 points seven times – and just 23 against Vanderbilt. It is not an opinion to write that Gus Malzahn’s offense against Top – what – 30 teams seems to have a ceiling of 20 points. That has become a fact.

What is also a fact is that those offensive performances have squandered exceptional defensive performances in three games, both times against Clemson and Georgia last year. Average offensive showings in all three of those games bring home “W’s” and imagine what the mood would be like in the Auburn Family if those games went to the good guys instead of the other way?

But they didn’t.

And they didn’t because what Gus Malzahn is expected to excel at, he’s failed at.

Quarterbacks have changed. Wide receivers have changed. Offensive linemen have changed. Now the offensive coordinator has changed, yet the results for Auburn remain the same; when facing upper-echelon defenses, the Tigers’ offense collapses.

And what casts more doubt upon Malzahn’s ability is that his teams usually jump out to early leads. Malzahn offenses typically look good in the first quarter or even first half of games, but as the other team’s defensive coordinator becomes more comfortable with what the Tigers are doing, Auburn is gradually neutralized over the course of the game, being rendered utterly ineffective – and borderline hopeless and pathetic – by the fourth quarter. That was the case against Clemson Saturday, Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl and Georgia last November.

Malzahn throws an effective first punch, but he has no counter-punch. If what works to start the game isn’t still working to end the game – and it’s usually not as elite college defensive coordinators are typically able to make adjustments to take away what you come into a game wanting to do, Mercer can’t do that because it doesn’t have the talent, but Clemson, Alabama and Georgia can – Malzahn is lost. Malzahn has proven to be utterly ineffective as an in-game tactician and I’m beginning to doubt him as a pre-game strategist.

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