Auburn, Ala.--Putting the pace back in the offense is a major goal for Gus Malzahn as the Auburn Tigers get ready for the 2016 season and one of the ways to make that happen is to create more big plays. There’s nothing like explosive plays to make an offense go, especially a system like the one that Malzahn employs.
Without enough of those big plays a year ago the Tigers sputtered for much of the year, something that they’re looking to turn around this fall.
“I think it was a combination of the execution-part, not being able to get first downs on a consistent basis, and the execution-part of explosive plays,” Malzahn said. “We were at an all-time low and we have always prided ourselves on big plays and coupling that with the pace. I think it was a combination of those three things that all worked together and that’s what we’re committed to getting back to.”
While getting first downs and getting the pace back are things that can be accomplished by being more physical and simply executing the offense, the lack of big plays is something that comes with having explosive players on the offensive side of the ball.
There is no question that Cam Newton played a role in Onterio McCalebb’s 8.5 yards per carry in 2010, but the speedster finished his career with 2,016 rushing yards and had five touchdown runs of over 48 yards for his career. His impact on Malzahn’s early offensive teams and raw speed is something the Tigers have missed out of that position since his departure, but that could be changing this fall.
Entering Auburn after being rated a the No.1 running back in Texas last season, Kameron Martin is a player who could be a key for the Tigers. Getting to Auburn after originally signing with Baylor before getting his release following the firing of Art Briles, Martin is someone the Tigers were already familiar with and Malzahn said he should be a great addition to the offense.
Kameron Martin will be a freshman running back for the Tigers this season.
“He's a guy that we actually recruited beforehand and he decided to go to Baylor,” Malzahn said. “We have similar offenses and similar offensive philosophies so when he decided to open it back up, and we had Roc Thomas leave so there was a spot available, that was a good fit. He fits our offense really well. He's a guy that can really run. We're excited to have him.”
Getting to Auburn in June, Martin will have just over a month to get a head start on learning the Auburn offense before the Tigers open camp on August 3. Despite the limited time in the playbook and being a true freshman, Martin is a player that Malzahn said may be able to help the Tigers early because of the position he plays
“I think so,” Malzahn said. "You look at the past, we've had success with true freshmen on the field playing the running back position. It's a natural instinct position. Kameron is a smart young man too and I think he'll help us this year.”