Gus Malzahn determined to fix Auburn’s deficiencies


Coaches have an intimate knowledge of their teams’ strengths and their teams’ deficiencies, and Auburn and Malzahn are the perfect example. Auburn has two main areas that need work before the start of 2014, and there’s ample time to correct them, via Yahoo Sports Radio.

“We had some deficiencies in some areas we were trying to cover up,” Gus Malzahn said. “It all starts with recruiting and now that we’ve had our defensive staff that has been intact for a year, they can specifically recruit to those areas.”

First, the passing game needs to develop. It doesn’t have to be great, because the running game will be, but it has to develop in an effort for the Tigers’ offense to create better balance. Auburn led the country with nearly 330 rushing yards per game, but they finished 108th in passing offense. It’s not so much where they finished, but Nick Marshall’s reads and progressions need to improve.

Related: Ranking the SEC’s top O-linemen from 2013

Isn’t it a great feeling knowing the offense was so one-dimensional and that there’s so much upside to a young and growing quarterback, and they still had so much success? It should be. Marshall’s got game, and, remember, he only had a few weeks to get ready for the season and create a rapport with his receivers in fall camp. With an added offseason and furthered development, the offense has a chance to be even better by creating better balance.

Malzahn spoke about Marshall on Yahoo! radio:

“He’s got a big-time arm, and we didn’t throw it a lot, but we really feel like he’s going to be able to do that, be very effective. We’re excited about him.”

Marshall does have a big arm, but the easy throws caused him the most trouble. The short and intermediate passing game should improve as Marshall’s touch improves. That will help create more opportunities on 20-plus yard throws, too.

Related: Ranking the SEC’s 10 best QBs in 2013

The second area that must be addressed is the secondary, which ranked 100th in pass defense in Ellis Johnson’s first season. Losing safeties Josh Holsey and Justin Garrett were major blows to a growing team.

Granted, Auburn’s defense was the ultimate bend-but-don’t-break. They gave up a serious amount of total yards, but they played particularly well in the red zone and finished second in the SEC in red zone defense. If you want to be great in one area, it’s in the money zone. That’s a credit to the players and coaches. Another area the defense excelled in was on third downs. Auburn held opponents to convert 66 third downs on 200 attempts (33 percent), the best in the SEC.

An area that will help the secondary will be the pass rush. Yes, Auburn loses pass-rushing specialist Dee Ford, but rising sophomores Carl Lawson, Elijah Daniel and Montravius Adams should be monsters. The secondary has to improve in coverage, but the pass rush will help that.

The biggest turnaround team in college football isn’t going anywhere, and it should be exciting knowing they have an offseason under Malzahn and his staff to correct some obvious issues and improve.

Photo Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports



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  • Excited about the future!

  • Is this headline a joke? If there are only a half dozen teams in the NCAA that can stay in the game with you, you are not very deficient anywhere. The problem with staying on top is you don’t know what other programs are developing, vs. fixing a big problem you had in half a dozen positions/squads. Go right a head and tweak all you want, it’s loss of personnel and what other teams are doing that everyone has to prepare for.

    • You post just shows how ignorant you are about college football…..You gotta be a Bammer!!

      • Lmfao. It’s funny how you don’t understand his post, yet call HIM ignorant. If my memory serves correct he is not an Alabama fan. His second sentence is also a compliment to the season that Auburn had. Stay in school kids, this could be you.

  • Wolfman..We lost 3 players…We are going to be the team to beat this year and even if you don’t like Auburn..You can’t deny that..That’s why we won the SEC Championship and will do it this coming up season.Our offense is loaded and with all our defensive backs..We are going to run the table again and win the NC…HATE ON HATER…WDE!!!

  • Auburn has the #1 Safety,LB,DT,OT,WR,RB and Center in the nation and have 4. 4 star cornerbacks .We only have to replace Robinson,Mason and Ford….We have everyone including the 1st QB ever that Gus has had for a 2nd year.Marshall didn’t get to practice but 1 month before he started playing and look what he did…I’m extremely excited where we are and what we got this coming up year…WAR EAGLE!!!

    • Auburn barely pulled out at least 3 last second wins against Bama, Miss St, and The Gift wrapped win against Ga. And Ga was full of injuries and not that impressive. A win is a win and it ended up being a great season but it was hardly a Dominant performance overall. And btw, you don’t have the number one rb unless Todd Gurley transferred lol

      • Must really suck to be a mutt. We take your best in state recruits then take your best recruiting coach. Favorite mutt saying: “Wait until next year.” lol.

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