Is There A Gus Malzahn Without A Cam Newton?



This coming Saturday, there will be a new head coach roaming “The Plains” in Auburn, Al. Gus Malzahn and his revered spread offense will be back in action for the first time in Auburn since the 2011 season. Gus Malzahn spent his first stent at Auburn as offensive coordinator for previous head coach Gene Chizik, where he won a national title following the 2010 regular season. After he made a name for himself with the Tigers (he won the Broyles Award in 2010, which goes to the nation’s top assistant coach), he started getting considered for head coaching positions around the country. Malzahn was a hot commodity and took the head coaching position at Arkansas State in 2012. Malzahn went 9-3 during his only season at Arkansas State. After Chizik was fired from Auburn, Malzahn decided to return to The Plains and try to revive Auburn’s football program. He’s back to where he won a national title with arguably one of the best college football players of all time: Cam Newton. With Newton, Malzahn was a general surgeon, cutting up opposing defenses with the best offense in the nation. This is where people become critical though. Can Gus Malzahn succeed without the help of Cam Newton?

Malzahn is a good coach, no doubt. Malzahn has risen from the high school ranks to SEC head coach in just eight years. That hardly ever happens. This is largely in part due to how great his spread offense has worked. He runs an up-tempo offense that catches opposing defenses off guard and lights up the score board. It differs tremendously from traditional offenses (pro style offenses) like Alabama and LSU because it doesn’t wear the opponent down. It’s extremely fast-paced and thrives on explosive plays. It is centered on having a mobile quarterback and speed at the playmaking positions.With a quick-strike offense, defenses can be caught off guard and exploited.

Malzahn’s most successful season offensively was with Cam Newton. Cam Newtons don’t grow on trees. They’re rare athletes that completely dominate the game when they enter it. So how do you run your offense without a juggernaut? That’s precisely what Gus Malzahn has to tackle as he breaks in a juco-transfer at quarterback, Nick Marshall. Marshall did well against the community college competiton he faced, but entering the SEC is a whole different ball game. He will be facing the Jadeveon Clowneys of the league, and getting chased down by the scariest defensive linemen around. Malzahn will have to learn how to use his new quarterback and his entire offense wisely if he wants to put points on the board. The SEC is a league that prides itself on stellar defense, and every defense will be out to show it can stifle Malzahn’s spread attack. This will be a tremendous challenge for Malzahn, but if there is a man for the job, it is indeed him. Malzahn thinks his Tigers are ready, regardless that there is no Cam Newton this time. He believes that the tempo they are running will be efficient for moving the ball against SEC defenses. Malzahn is ready to show people again that his offense, like Cam Newton, is not a fluke and that he can repeat his offense’s success in SEC play.


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