From the various interviews after the first session of fall practice, it appears Auburn offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler has elected to install more of his NFL-style West Coast offense before the season begins. This bit of information tells a very different tale than what some expected.
After spring practice, it appeared that Auburn would enter the season with a hybrid offense that included many similar plays to the old offense, combined with much of the passing elements of Loeffler’s offense. Now it appears a successful season of captain’s practices has put the team in a position to install more of the complex nuances of the NFL offense Loeffler has in mind.
While these professional football nuances are extremely difficult to grasp, they certainly give a huge advantage to the play-caller on Saturdays. Originally it was thought that the receivers would be the ones adapting their skill set to more professional approach. Now it appears both the receivers and running backs will be seeing what is asked of them expand significantly.
It appears the receivers and running backs will be making the complex reads and adjusting their actions based upon the activity of the defense. While it has not been confirmed, this could also be the case with the tight ends in Loeffler’s offense.
This advancement in the teaching curve allows offensive players to have a much better chance of presenting the quarterback with an open option to utilize on each passing attempt. It also makes a much more complex read progression for the quarterback. It is very doubtful Loeffler would attempt this if he did not have full confidence he has a signal-caller capable of executing under these conditions.
Confidence does not appear to be in short supply for the quarterbacks at Auburn. According to Joel Erickson in his War Eagle Extra Blog, Jonathan Wallace has become the clear leader of the freshman class.
According to Ryan Wood of Opelika-Auburn News, VanGorder warned the players of an increase in intensity before the first practice. The players found out what it is like for NFL players in preseason camp shortly afterward. The entire team was put on notice that failure simply isn’t an option.
Time management is of critical importance over the next weeks. The Auburn staff will not waste time on areas they do not know will progress positively and increase the chances of success in the coming season.
They also will not waste a lot of time on individual coaching for players who fail to put in the work to grasp the team goals before kickoff. If a player wants to see the field, he will have to take responsibility for his own progression or be left behind.
Both new coordinators are much more demanding on the proper execution of technique. It is a stark contrast from previous seasons on both offense and defense. It is what one would expect to be occurring at NFL camps across the nation.
With pads going on in a week, this preliminary period of installation and teaching is of utmost importance. Players must be drilled until perfection is achieved. Once pads go on, the focus will change to execution when facing opposition.
Every minute of practice time allowed by the NCAA must be utilized to perfection for this Auburn team to be at their best for game one in a few weeks. If day one is any indication, that goal is well in hand.