Gus Malzahn is well known for his controlling management style when it comes to running the offense down at Auburn. That very characteristic was called into question last fall following Auburn’s blown 20-0 lead in Death Valley to LSU.

Malzahn faced serious criticism following that loss but managed to fight off any heat he may have been feeling on The Plains after his team went on a five-game winning streak, which of course included wins over two No. 1-ranked teams. It would appear the run coincided with a loosing of the reins of the offense by Malzahn to offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey and starting quarterback Jarrett Stidham.

According to Malzahn, that’s something he plans to continue to provide to Lindsey and Stidham heading into the 2018 season, as the results speak for themselves.

Here’s what the Auburn coach recently had to say regarding the program’s offense heading into the season, according to James Crepea of

“From a coaches’ standpoint you have checks. The more confidence you have and the more comfortable (quarterbacks) are, you give them more freedom to do with those checks and not have to look to the sideline and everything that goes with that. With that being said, the second half of the year, Jarrett did some of that on his own anyway. Just the fact that he understands the offense better, he understands (Chip) Lindsey better, he’s been through this league a year, he’s a smart guy and he’s ready for it.

“That’s what I mean by more flexibility and he’ll have more opportunities to change plays or get us in good plays.”

Considering the Tigers open the season in Atlanta against a likely preseason top 10 opponent in Washington and face LSU in Week 3 of the season, it will be fascinating to see how long of a leash Malzahn gives the offense if the unit struggles early in the season.

Malzahn is saying all the right things now but nothing turns up the heat on a coach’s seat in the SEC quite like an early season loss or two.