What Happens to the Auburn Offense if Gus Malzhan Moves Up?

Kevin McGradySenior Writer IJuly 26, 2010

AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 19:  The Auburn Tigers mascot War Eagle looks on against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 19, 2005 in Auburn, Alabama. Auburn defeated Alabama 28-18.   (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images


In the SEC Gus Malzhan of Auburn is starting to be recognized as the evil genius of offense by the competition. Every new coaching opportunity that opens up has opponent fans on the edge of their seats hoping he will move along. There is no better compliment for a coach than these types of actions.

Coach Malzhan has helped awaken an Auburn fan base that was put to sleep by an ineffective offense for far too long. The mention of his name associated with any job other than the one he is currently holding brings immediate panic in some Auburn circles.

What would happen if Gus Malzhan did get that career offer he could not turn down? No one can know for sure, but there are some facts to be looked at that might indicate how such a move would affect Auburn.

This is the second year the Auburn offense has benefited from the coaching of Coach Malzhan. Auburn has safeguards in effect to keep the momentum going should Coach Malzhan choose to take another job.

The Auburn offense would likely remain the same if this should happen. The question remains, will it be the same? Can the offense be as effective if this were to happen?

There is an example for us to look at and see. Tulsa was in a rebuilding year in 2009 and they were still running the Malzhan offense. A quick comparison should give some insight into the possibility of continuity for the system.

2009 Offensive Comparison Auburn and Tulsa

Statistic In Yards









Total Offense



Scoring Offense Points



Net Punting



Punt Returns



Kick Returns



Turnover Margin



Sacks Allowed




This would seem to indicate that the Malzhan system is transferable and sustainable. Tulsa was in a rebuilding mode in 2009 and was still able to put up similar numbers to Auburn, who was also in a rebuilding mode.

While there are certainly no guarantees, Auburn fans should take note of this and wish Coach Malzhan the best of success should he decide to take the next step. It would seem he has brought an innovative and sustainable offensive system to Auburn that will pay dividends for years to come.

If anyone is wondering, Auburn ran 914 plays in 13 games in 2009. Tulsa ran 869 plays in 12 games. That is about two offensive plays difference per game—another indicator that the Malzhan offense is adaptable to circumstances on the team.  


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