Offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn’s attack is known for its frenetic pace.
If he has his way, he’ll step on the gas even harder next year.
“It’ll get faster, there’s no doubt,” Malzahn said earlier this week. “We’re not happy with our pace right now.”
Auburn finished its first year in Malzahn’s offense ranked 39th in the nation in offensive snaps.
For Malzahn, who likes to run 70-plus plays per game, that isn’t nearly good enough.
The bulk of the problem came from inconsistency and depth issues on both sides of the ball.
Auburn often didn’t get into its fast-paced offense until earning its initial first down. That created a sometimes slower offense.
“Our tempos change a little bit,” Auburn coach Gene Chizik said. “It’s not always fast paced. Just from a philosophical standpoint, we try to do it at the right times because every time is not the right time for us individually.”
Once Auburn gets the players it needs in the program, though, watch for Malzahn to drastically increase the offensive tempo throughout games.
That’s something to think about considering the Tigers drew a penalty during the Kentucky game for moving too quickly – something that still angers Malzahn. The coordinator has never publicly admonished the call, but said earlier this week that it wouldn’t happen again.
FINISHING TOUCHES: Auburn held its final practice Wednesday during a warm, sunny morning.
Chizik said he was pleased with the team’s workout.
“Just a great day today,” he said. “Today was really our final preparation for the bowl. I really thought focus was sharp and they were focused and tuned in, so I think it was a great way to end practice –really our last practice of the year.”
Chizik also said the team would have a walk-through at Raymond James Stadium, site of the Outback Bowl, on Thursday.
MIDSEASON TURNAROUND: Since Auburn’s blowout loss to Arkansas, defensive coordinator Ted Roof thinks his group has shown improvement.
“I think we got better, we got more physical. At the first of the year, we were doing some good things and then throughout the course of the season there were some things that happened that we had to play through,” Roof said. “I did see a lot of improvement and I was pleased with how we became more physical as a defense. We started getting some guys healthy, getting some guys back and creating as much competition as we had considering the situation.”
At one point this season, Auburn starters Antoine Carter, Antonio Coleman, Walt McFadden, Zac Etheridge and Eltoro Freeman endured injuries that either sidelined them or nagged them for lengths of time.
All but Etheridge is healthy now and the Tigers should field a defense as close to full strength as it has been all season.