StatTiger: Assessing Malzahn's Auburn Tenure

Stuart Carter writes about Gus Malzahn's three seasons directing the Auburn football team's offense.

When Gus Malzahn came to Auburn in 2009 to join Coach Gene Chizik's new staff he arrived with only three years of collegiate experience, but the offensive coordinator was confident in his system and his ability to teach it.

Malzahn brought with him a brand offense of offense never seen before at Auburn that would break numerous school records during his three-year tenure on the Plains.

He now moves on to Arkansas State as the new head coach of the Red Wolves for his first opportunity to operate his own college program. Though he will take his explosive offense with him, he leaves the Auburn faithful with a national championship and countless memories.

During his three-year run as Auburn's offensive coordinator coach of the quarterback, the Tigers finished with the No. 1 running game in the Southeastern Conference during those seasons. That includes the most yards per game and the best average per carry over the past three seasons.

Under Malzahn's guidance Auburn's passing offense was the third most efficient and No. 2 in total offense for SEC teams. Auburn was also No. 2 in touchdown ratio and No. 3 in points per game.

Malzahn's offense was the focal point of Auburn's 2010 BCS Championship and a major why the Tigers posted a 30-10 record with Malzahn on the staff.

During those three seasons Auburn fielded four 1,000-yard rushers and had two quarterbacks who finished in the Top 20 in pass efficiency in the nation.

His offenses will be remembered for big-play ability having generated a total of 351 plays of 15 yards or more over the past three seasons. During the three seasons before he arrived the offense had a total of 230 impact plays. During the three-year period under Al Borges, Auburn totaled 300 impact plays.

Malzahn's offense compiled 58 offensive touchdowns of 25 yards or more. In comparison Auburn had a six-year total from 2003-2008 of 56 touchdowns.

Auburn's run offense (40 games) under Malzahn generated 26 games of 200 yards rushing or better, equaling the same total from 2003-2008 (76 games).

Under Malzahn the Tigers finished with 496 possessions of which Auburn scored 203 times (41 percent). From 2000-2008 the Tigers scored on 33 percent of their offensive possessions.

Auburn's pass offense under Malzahn compiled an efficiency rating of 148.9, blowing the doors off of AU's pass rating of 128.8 from 1992-2008.

His quarterbacks compiled a touchdown/interception ratio of 2.48, nearly doubling the ratio of 1.28 from 1992-2008.

Malzahn's offenses were balanced for the most part, utilizing a variety of skill players to make it difficult to defend. Motion, shifts and misdirection along with the ability to audible on virtually every play became a trademark of his offense.

The 2011 offense struggled dearly as inconsistent line play combined with injuries during the season proved to be a major issue. Compounding Auburn's difficulties this past season was a lack of experience at the quarterback and wide receiver positions, not to mention the fact Auburn faced five Top 10 rated defenses in one season, the most in the modern era of Auburn football.

Though 2011 was Malzahn's worst season as a collegiate coordinator, his last game was the best of the season. Perhaps it was his way of saying goodbye, giving Tiger fans one last reason to cheer on his offense while adding to a successful tenure as the team's offensive coordinator.


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