November 1st, 2010 09:50 AM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Auburn
Tags: Cameron Newton, Gus Malzahn, Tim Tebow, Urban Meyer
Jon Solomon of The Birmingham News — one of our favorite SEC scribes — believes that one of Gene Chizik’s best acts as coach was hiring Gus Malzahn “and leaving him alone.”
The Tiger offense is on a record-setting pace. They average 40 points per game. They are averaging 300+ yards rushing per game. They are dominant.
But is it really offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn that deserves the credit?
Look, I’m not going to take shots at Malzahn. He’s done a great job this year. He’s found the right plays for Cameron Newton to run. And his offense — along with Oregon’s — will no doubt usher in the next big thing in college football: the uber-hurry-up, fastbreak tempo.
But take Newton out of Malzahn’s offense and just how frightening would that offense be? And if you don’t think that’s a legitimate question, I ask you to compare Urban Meyer’s offense with Tim Tebow to Urban Meyer’s offense without Tim Tebow.
While Malzahn deserves credit for landing Newton, using Newton and using Newton properly, the key for Auburn is Newton, not the system.
Systems are systems. Put bad players in a good system and the system fails. Has Rich Rodriguez system looked as good at Michigan as it did at West Virginia? Has Steve Spurrier had the offensive success at South Carolina that he did at Florida.
Put good players in a good system and the system thrives. Put great players in a good system and records are set. Examples: Newton at Auburn, Tebow at Florida, LaMichael James at Oregon.
I’ll take this a step further. Let’s put Newton back on Florida’s team, where he began his career. Would Florida have three losses? Would Auburn be undefeated?
And what if he had signed with Mississippi State as he himself had wanted? MSU would likely be undefeated, but would Auburn be averaging 40 points per game with Neil Caudle or Barrett Trotter running the show?
I think you get my gist.
Malzahn deserves praise for dialing up quarterback draws and zone-read plays for Newton. But it’s Newton that can’t be tackled (or now covered).
Auburn’s system is just a system. Newton is the once in a generation player who’s making it special.
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