clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Hindsight is 20/20-Texas A&M

New, 9 comments

Return of the Pirouetting Fullback

Yep, it's a head scratcher all right.
Yep, it's a head scratcher all right.
Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

It happens in sports sometimes.  Golfers call it the yips.  Hitters in baseball call it a slump.  Shooters go cold in basketball.  Kickers miss 5 field goals in a row.

And sometimes, I guess,  it can happen to coaches.  Unfortunately for Auburn, it has happened to Gus Malzahn.

Texas A&M 29-Auburn 16 is just another chapter in this Greek Tragedy that is Auburn football.  A story that is sad but true.  A story that includes a 7 game home losing streak to teams that wouldn't be classified as cupcakes, and a 9-13 overall record since an upset loss to Texas A&M back in 2014.

Was that game the turning point in the offensive dementia that has afflicted Gus Malzahn?  On the surface, it may appear so, but looking back, there are more variables there than just that one game.

You can point to the failures of Jeremy Johnson in early 2015 as a key component of this downfall.  The can't miss prospect out of Montgomery's Carver High missed.  Sean White, who for all of his accolades, is a total misfit in the offense.  He would be better in a pro-style offense.  But he isn't in a pro-style offense.  He is in this one.  Whether poor QB recruiting or poor QB development or both is a big subject of debate right now.  But the offensive brain trust has no confidence in any quarterback on the roster to get it done.

And it's just not working anymore.  Nothing is.  And the reason is simple.  Gus has lost confidence calling plays.  And now they are totally spitballing the offense.  Throw something against the wall and see what sticks.  Case in point:  The pirouetting fullback.

I really like Chandler Cox. He is tough and plays with passion.  But he has no business taking shotgun snaps from a center, much less spinning around and handing the ball off or diving into the rear end of a guard.

The pirouetting fullback is Gus Malzahn's rock bottom.  It is a desperate cry for help.  That's where we are.

For fear of getting sacked or throwing an interception, Gus Malzahn has no confidence in his offense to throw the ball downfield.  Sean White wasn't allowed to challenge the defense vertically.  Too many times he was asked to come back in at 3rd down and 10+ and then throw to a guy running an 8-yard route.  It is just baffling.

Just as baffling as his attempt to block one of the best pass rushers in college football with a pulling guard from the other side of the field not once, but 4 times.  Just as baffling as a fake reverse play action on third and a country mile (multiple times) with our quarterback turning his back to the defense.

I could go on about the offense all day.  But I'll stop there.

Auburn's defense played well enough to keep the team in the game.  They are good enough to keep us in games, but not quite good enough yet to win games.  They need to force turnovers, and lots of them to give Auburn a chance to win ballgames.

My big concern for this defense is not if but when they begin to crack. How long can you play your guts out when the group on the other side of the ball gives you no chance to win?  I guess time will tell.

So here we are, staring 1-3 right in the face.  Leonard Fournette embarrassed the Auburn defense in Baton Rouge last year.  I expect that to change come Saturday.  But until Gus Malzahn shakes the play calling yips and the pirouetting fullback, this season is doomed, and so is Gus's coaching career at Auburn.

War Eagle always...