If you thought Auburn’s social media message last week was cryptic and foreshadowed exactly what Gus Malzahn was thinking, you were right.
— Auburn Football (@FootballAU) March 11, 2014
The Tigers open spring practice tomorrow with an agenda that should make them a real contender for the coming College Football Playoff in 2014. And with Malzahn as the architect, the sky is the limit for the Tigers.
Malzahn held his pre-spring practice press conference with subtle message of ‘we’re going to get faster’. He didn’t say it, but he did say he believes with a returning quarterback – the first one of Malzahn’s collegiate coaching career – the offense should get faster, via AuburnUndercover.com.
“We think we can be quite a bit faster,” Malzahn said. “There’s times last year, like I said, we had a lot of new people out there, a lot of moving parts, and as you get more comfortable the faster you can get.
“And when you think about pace, now defensively there are so many pace offense, we have to get better on the defensive side too with our communication, our alignment and everything that goes with that.”
With another year under Malzahn – and the first offseason for Nick Marshall to get more comfortable – Auburn’s offense should be faster, more effective, and more potent.
Marshall only enrolled at Auburn last fall and had to win the quarterback job immediately, and his progress and development were obvious throughout 2013. The one area where Marshall can make a nice jump and add to his game will be in the short to intermediate passing routes, 10 yards and in. He completed less than 60 percent of his passes last season, and with a better feel and more reps and touch, Marshall’s game will improve.
“Nick’s a very talented player, not just running, he can really throw it,” Malzahn said. “I know I said that a lot during the fall, but now that he’s got a spring he’ll be more comfortable, more reactive and we feel very good about him throwing the football.”
Now, will Auburn come out looking like a balanced attack? Probably not, and the strength of the team will remain on the ground. But a more balanced offense and a bigger threat in the passing game will help the unit become even more dangerous in 2014. That comfort and that feel starts this spring. It’s crucial for Auburn in defending their SEC Championship.
Auburn averaged 73.8 plays per game, good for fifth in the SEC and 61st nationally.
Other presser notes:
- Receiver Trovon Reed moved to corner to help with depth.
- Johnathan Ford has moved to safety. Ford split time at corner and running back last season.
- 2014 signee Kalvaraz Bessent will enroll at Auburn and will be under ‘probationary status’.
- Derrick Moncrief will start out at boundary safety.
You can watch Gus Malzahn’s entire press conference here.
Photo Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports