This is becoming an old hat for Gus Malzhan.
Stop me if you've heard this one: Auburn comes right out of the gate a drives down and scores on their first drive. The rest of the game nothing works. Nothing changes. No adjustments are made.
Clemson has seen this before. Unfortunately so have LSU, Georgia, and Alabama, all teams with good enough defenses to completely bottle up Gus Malzahn’s offense.
I think back to 2009, when Auburn’s offensive coordinator took a dead armed quarterback and set passing records. Was that offense just the same as what we saw Saturday? It sure didn't look like it. Maybe it was different back then because it was new. At this point I'm just as perplexed as anyone.
But there are differences, because there is no hurry up in the hurry up no huddle. Passes were thrown to backs, and tight ends. None of that happens now. There is no new Lutzenkirchen or Uzomah being targeted. There are lots of potential ones. Sal Canella played well in game 1. How many times was he targeted Saturday?
Chris “one armed zombie” Todd used to constantly find Eric Smith out of the backfield. There were reverses to Terrell Zachary. There were out routes that morphed into pump fakes then passes for touchdowns.
We saw none of that Saturday. It was a first down run, and 2nd and 3rd down “run for your life Jarrett Stidham” pass plays. Rinse and repeat.
If someone had told me Auburn would hold Clemson to two touchdown drives I’d have told you Auburn would've won that game going away. Instead it was the most frustrating game I’ve watched since 2016 Georgia.
I wonder what happens now as Sean White returns from suspension. If things aren’t going well does he turn to White against Missouri or State? Nothing like a quarterback controversy to throw a little gasoline on your dumpster fire of an offense.
Since 2014, when Auburn had an amazing athlete in Nick Marshall adlibbing and making plays, Auburn has been stagnant. We blamed Jeremy Johnson in 2015 for being a bust. I'm beginning to wonder how much of that was Jeremy, and how much was Gus not putting his QB in good situations.
As I said in my title, I’ve seen this movie before, and it doesn’t have a happy ending. Not for Jarrett Stidham, not for the best Auburn defense since the Tuberville era, not for the fans who deserve better, and if nothing changes, not for Gus Malzahn.
Because 8-4 in 2017 is just not going to cut it.
Adapt or die, Gus. Adapt or die.