Auburn's Gus Malzahn: When Stars Align, He Shines

Bleacher ReportCorrespondent IJanuary 19, 2011

I couldn't find a picture of Gus throughout Getty Images!
I couldn't find a picture of Gus throughout Getty Images!Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

I was recently looking at some chat boards and a few Auburn fans were explaining the great coaches of their team.

They were claiming how they didn't worry too much about the 2011 season because of coaching chemistry.

Well, for the third straight year, the Auburn coaching staff will stay in tact. And, therefore, what most fans have said all year long is this was not a team of one.

Newton wasn't the only player, Gus wasn't the only coach and Nick Fairley wasn't the only defensive player.

And because of this, they expect great things out of the team next season. A great coaching staff can only make a great team.

Before we go any further, I'm not saying that Gus is not an excellent offensive coordinator. He is an excellent offensive coordinator when he has the right players for his scheme. What coordinator isn't?

Steve Addazio!

Back to the chat board. Auburn fan "A" stated that Gus took a 110th ranked offense in 2008 and made them a 20th ranked offense in 2009. Actually, he was wrong: Gus took a 104th ranked offense and turned them into a 16th ranked squad.

Give credit where credit is due...hmmm.

Auburn fan "A's" view was that what Gus did was incredible and a 16th ranked offense was good enough to contend for a national championship, but of course, with the help of a solid defense.

He reminded people of how well that system did without Cam.

Auburn fan "B" chimed in and thus explained how they got yards on everybody in the '09 season, but couldn't stop anybody when it mattered.

Auburn fan "C" then proceeded to expound upon the offense that Chris Todd was inconsistent at the quarterback play and Malzahn's system needs consistent quarterback play. Who doesn't? That coupled with defense was why they lost all those games.


The truth is Malzahn's system needs an incredible dual threat quarterback.

A Cam Newton; a Michael Vick; a Vince Young; a big motor to put in this Auburn SUV.

Without one of these prototype players, the system is not broken, but it has a flat tire.

Basically, it becomes a car that can run fast—however, if it hits a rough defensive pothole, it comes crashing to a halt.

Fan A doesn't realize that it takes a huge motor to run a perfect Malzahn system. If it didn't then the Auburn Tigers would have been in the BCSNC in 2009 by his accounts, even with their defense because they only jumped up eight spots from 68th to 60th in total defense from 2009 to 2010.

Fan C needed to remember the fact Chris Todd, for passing yards gained and not having the ability to run, was about as consistent as he could be. He was 60 percent for 2,612 yards with six INTs over a thirteen game period.

Cam Newton, with the legs, was 66 percent for 2,854 yards with seven INTs over a 14 game period.

Take off that last game and Newton is 67 percent for 2,589 yards with six INTs. A seven percent difference at the quarterback play is good and Cam is great.

But Todd was not as inconsistent as you may think. He just couldn't run the ball. 

Fan B forgot that the defense doesn't play on the offensive side of the ball nor remembered whose responsibility it is to score. Games that come to mind are Kentucky, Georgia and Alabama.

The 2009 defense allowed 44 touch downs. The 2010 defense allowed 41 touch downs; the 2009 offense scored 49 touchdowns. The 2010 offense scored 72 touchdowns.

Of course, Cam was not the whole Auburn team. There were other offensive players such as Michael Dyer, McCalebb, along with Terrell Zachery and Darvin Adams. However, Cam Newton accounted for 62 percent of the offensive yards and 50 of 72 touchdowns.

He accounted for one more touchdown than the whole offensive team combined in 2009.

How many times did Newton put that team on his back and march down the field to win the game? One, two, three? More?

This ties into the aforementioned 16th ranked 2009 offense should be national title contenders, but they weren't.

It was not because of defense. It was because they didn't have Cam.

You see, it wasn't about making the stops so much as it was about outscoring the opponent. The Auburn defense couldn't make the stops in several games this past year. But no opposing team could make the stop of Cam Newton.

We all know the player losses that are going on down on the plains. Newton, Fairley, the offensive line, Wes Byrum, Coggans, Adams, Bynes, Ethridge and others are gone.

In a nutshell: Auburn returns four starters on both sides of the ball.

Not to worry, the Auburn Tigers return their starting coaches and that is all you need to make a run at the national championship. 

To be frank, the level headed Auburn fan is expecting a tough 2011 season with a lot of rebuilding. But after that, they are expecting reloading with a lot of winning, especially with Gus at the driver's wheel of the offensive motor.

The only question is if the motor is a HEMI or Hyundai? Look out the window of the SUV, do you see stars?