Auburn’s Malzhan changing directions after season-opening loss

Auburn’s Malzhan changing directions after season-opening loss

Auburn scraps three-quarterback offense and names sophomore as starter.

At his press conference today in Auburn, head coach Gus Malzahn said the three-quarterback game plan used against number-two ranked Clemson last Saturday didn’t work out the way he had planned, and announced that going forward, sophomore Sean White will be the Tigers’ quarterback, heading into this week’s game against Arkansas State.

Malzahn said going forward White will be the primary quarterback, and the coaches plan to bring junior John Franklin III along as the number two in practice, but don’t be surprised to see Franklin in the game in certain spots.  Malzahn, when asked about last year’s opening game starter, senior Jeremy Johnson, said he would be ready to go if the team needed him.

Most Auburn fans would welcome the decision, based on the performance on Saturday night, especially in the first half, when the offense only managed to record three points on a 53-yd. Daniel Carlson field goal in the second quarter on the way to a 19-13 loss.

Auburn rotated all three quarterbacks in the game, and on some plays, had them all in the game at the same time.  He said the plan was to catch Clemson off guard, and the Tigers’ goal was to be aggressive, but the plan wasn’t as successful as he thought it would be.  Malzahn admitted it affected the game’s tempo more than he thought it would.

Still, despite the loss, Malzahn was optimistic about the remainder of the season.  The South Carolina Tigers averaged nearly 40 points per game last season, finishing up in the National Championship Game against Alabama, as the much-improved Auburn defense held them to just 19 points.  And the Tigers from Auburn had two attempts at passes in the end zone at the end of the game that could have resulted in an upset win.

Malzahn said he thought the defense played well, but after watching the game films, “they played even better than I thought.”

Malzahn added this was the first time this offensive line had played a game together, and while they were a little shaky in the first half, they played much better in the second half and he though they moved the ball well.

He wrapped up by saying, “I think we have a chance to be really good.”  Auburn fans are cautiously optimistic as well.

The Tigers host the Red Wolves on Saturday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium.



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