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Gus Malzahn speaks about covering up Auburn’s deficiencies

AP Photo/The Orange County Register, Bill Alkofer AP

Auburn may have turned in one of the wildest rides to the SEC championship and BCS title shot in the 2013 season, but Bear Bryant Award winner Gus Malzahn knows there is still plenty of work to be done before being able to take the next step in 2014.

“We had some deficiencies in some areas we were trying to cover up,” Malzahn said Wednesday on Yahoo! Sports Radio. “It all starts with recruiting and now that we’ve had our defensive staff that has been intact for a year, they can specifically recruit to those areas.”

Auburn should see a nice momentum swing in recruiting leading up to National Signing Day. The Tigers picked up steam in recruiting the last time they won the SEC championship, and that should once again be the case with Malzahn gaining more national respect and showing just what his program is capable of doing moving forward.

Auburn’s strength came in the running game. Tre Mason rushed his way to record-setting performances and was named a Heisman Trophy finalist. He now takes his game to the NFL as one of the many early entrants to the NFL Draft this season. Even without Mason in 2014 the Tigers are going to be expected to run the ball well. The question is whether or not they can develop a complimentary passing game for the times when they will be forced to make some plays through the air. This may seem silly to say given how it was a passing play that made much of the storied season at Auburn possible, but Malzahn knows his team caught some breaks last season and does not want to have to rely on those miraculous moments too often. Malzahn seems optimistic in his quarterback, Nick Marshall.

“He’s got a big-time arm, and we didn’t throw it a lot, but we really feel like he’s going to be able to do that, be very effective,” Malzahn said. “We’re excited about him.”

Auburn should certainly be one of the top teams to reckon with in 2014. Playing in a division with Alabama, LSU and Texas A&M can throw some hurdles in the way, but all three will be breaking in new starting quarterbacks, shuffling coaching staff or replacing a number of other key players around the field as well. With four playoff spots available to compete for a national title next season, Auburn looks to have a good shot lined up if they can handle their schedule in the fall.

Helmet sticker to AL.com.

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7 Responses to “Gus Malzahn speaks about covering up Auburn’s deficiencies”
  1. whydoupost says: Jan 16, 2014 5:59 PM

    Gonna have to play with less gimmicks and be more physical over time. Defenses will catch up with their style!

  2. afrancis55 says: Jan 16, 2014 7:04 PM

    Just how more physical do you want them to be? Obviously you didn’t watch Auburn that much. I’d say the top rushing offense in the nation is pretty physical play by the offensive line and WR to block that well for the running back/QB. As for ‘defenses catching up’ critics have been saying that same crap since 2009, yet Malzahn still has success year in and year out calling his ‘gimmicky’ plays.

  3. rolltide510 says: Jan 16, 2014 7:14 PM

    Being good on both sides of the line isn’t a gimmick. Their success in 2014 will rely on line play just like it did in 2013 and 2010.

    I’d pump the breaks on the whole bit about Nick Marshall passing more though.

  4. lbijake says: Jan 16, 2014 8:35 PM

    Be interesting to see this team after three good years of recruiting his type player.

  5. overratedgators says: Jan 16, 2014 10:51 PM

    I saw “Auburn” and “cover up” in the headline and just assumed it had something to do with Cam Newton.

  6. stopthemadness101 says: Jan 17, 2014 10:47 AM

    If only they could steal opponent’s play calls every week their defense would be top notch…

  7. chrisanderson2013 says: Jan 17, 2014 12:04 PM

    Totally agree whydoupost. They are somewhat gimmicky and utilized quite a bit of misdirection. When you have a qb and a rb with over a thousand yards it’s easy to think they played smash-mouth but that wasn’t the case. Their offense was a bit of a work in progress and I’m interested to see how it evolves this coming season.

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