Auburn, Ala.--Known for his productive quarterbacks and throwing the football all around the yard, when Chip Lindsey came to Auburn in 2013 as an analyst he wanted to learn how to be more effective running the football when his time came to be a coordinator.
Now four years later following stops at Southern Miss and Arizona State, Lindsey will get the opportunity to mesh his philosophy with that of Gus Malzahn’s as he takes over the offense heading into the 2017 season. With what Malzahn says is an offense that is in as good of a spot as any since his time on the Plains, Lindsey said he’s ready to get going.
“I came to Auburn in 2013 for the reason to be with Coach Malzahn and see how he did things because my background had been a little different,” Lindsey said. “The time here was amazing, learning how he thought and game-planned and did things, and took a lot of those things with us.
“At the same time, even when I left and went to Southern Miss and now at Arizona State and here, everybody’s got their own spin on offense. We’ve all got our own personality that comes out when you design an offense, but the bottom line has never changed. The most important thing is find ways to get the ball to your best players.
"It’s really that simple. That will be our goal every day. I’m looking forward to getting started.”
One of the biggest question marks surrounding the hire has been Malzahn’s willingness to step away from the position. Saying on Saturday that he’s retiring his clipboard and turning things over to Lindsey full-time, the new offensive coordinator said having the chance to run his own show was really big.
“Extremely important,” Lindsey said. “That's something that he and I talked about at length. I'm very confident that this is going to be a great situation. He has given me every opportunity to be successful and this is my responsibility. He hired me to do a job and I'm looking forward to doing it.”
The first order of business for Lindsey will be to improve the quarterback position at Auburn. While Sean White played well when he wasn’t injured in 2016, overall the position has been a disappointment the last two years. With White back and the addition of five-star Jarrett Stidham along with redshirt freshman Woody Barrett, there is talent there and Lindsey said it’s his job to make them better.
“I think the most important thing is to give those guys a plan, give them a plan every play where they know where to go with the ball,” he said. “You’ve got to get the ball out of your hand and understand protection. Obviously their footwork and everything that goes along fundamentally with playing the position is extremely important and those are things I want to make sure those guys are really good at. Making sure they know where to go with the ball, that’s my job. I’m excited about the opportunity to be here with these guys.”
Putting up huge numbers in the passing game while at Southern Miss, Lindsey’s work with quarterbacks both on the high school and collegiate level is what got him the job at Auburn. Now he knows that he’s got to coordinate a balanced offense for the Tigers moving forward, something he believes in doing.
“At the end of the day we want to be a run, play-action team,” Lindsey said. “That’s what we’ve always done. If you go back to our time at Southern Miss and last year at Arizona State that has been our goal. I think when you commit to that style of offense, trying to get the ball to your playmakers, I think good things are going to happen.
“I think when you get to big-time, even high school football and college football, you’ve got to be able to run the football to win,” he added. “I know that and we were really successful two years ago doing that and it just opened up our entire offense. I know what Auburn is made of. Auburn is made up of hard work, blue collar football and that’s what we’re going to continue to do with maybe some little wrinkles in twists in our passing game.”
In the end the move was one that made sense for Malzahn, but Lindsey said the move made just as much sense for him as well. Returning to his home state and joining a talented team with an opportunity to win right way, Lindsey said this was something he couldn’t pass up.
“This is really a dream come true, growing up in this state, being around this state and college football, and my wife and her family had season tickets for 30 years,” he said. “Auburn’s been a special place to us, and obviously being here in 2013 with coach, getting that opportunity, but just extremely excited to get going. I’m ready to start right now, and as soon as we get done here—we just got in town—we’re going to get started on 2017. Just want to thank Coach for the opportunity, and I’m really looking forward to our time here, getting this thing going and having a lot of fun next year.
“Obviously, Auburn has been good on offense before and done some things that are really good. We’re not going to lose touch with those things, but I think a few new wrinkles and a little different personality on it maybe will lead to a lot of success.”