Now that Russell Wilson has chosen the tradition and family atmosphere of Wisconsin over the cult compound of Auburine University, and the Tiggers appear to be hot to “Trot” in 2011, perhaps it’s time to take stock of the offensive wonder boy lurking the sidelines on the Plains.
Just how good is Gus Malzahn?
Well, to find that answer, you have to throw out 2010. $Cam and the six plays he ran were almost unstoppable. But not due to offensive genius.
If you’ve ever seen the movie Billy Madison, you remember the dodgeball scene. Adam Sandler vs. a playground of kindergarten kids. That’s how $Cam looked against most defenses last season.
The only team able to take away his legs was Alabama. A string of freakish luck for the Tigers proved to be the difference in that game, and anyone who thinks otherwise also actually believes Gene Chizik is the best coach in the country.
But otherwise, for thirteen other games, $Cam pretty much had his way. And yet, even with this lightning in a bottle, once-in-a-lifetime quarterback and senior offensive line, Auburn still had to come from behind and count on shoddy officiating, pure luck and home field advantage more times than any team I can recall.
So, was Gus really a genius for designing six plays for a 6’6″ freak?
Remember, this is the same mastermind that thought Arkansas, with Felix Jones and Darren McFadden in the backfield should adopt a passing approach to the Razerback O.
Homer Smith was an offensive genius. He made chicken salad out of chicken, well, you know, with few tools to work with while at Alabama. But give me Kobe Bryant on my high school basketball team and that doesn’t make me a great coach. It just means I won the lucky player lottery. Or maybe in Gus’ case, according to the ongoing NCAA investigation, “purchased” the lucky player from the lottery.
If you want to gauge Gus’ true genius (I almost wrote that without letting out a guffaw), watch him in 2011.
In 2009, Auburn managed 400 yards of offense against only three SEC opponents: Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Tennessee. Two of those three took place in the first part of the season. And Ole Miss is an embarrassment to the conference. Once teams caught on to the dispy-doo, trickeroo offense, the Tiggers had nowhere to go but down, losing five of their last seven.
In fact, in their 5 SEC losses that season, they were held below 350 yards 4 times. And that was with a fifth-year senior at quarterback and a junior laden offensive line who had started together since they were freshmen.
This season, Gus has neither.
Auburine 2011 will be green, and no, this time I’m not talking about their pockets. Auburine fan, if Gus gets you the eight or nine wins I’ve heard some of your poor ignorant brethren blather on about, you’ve got yourself a genius. And if so, I’ll eat my crow like a man and take my hat off to the guru.
But if 2011 turns into the flop 2009 was, as I and others believe, all you’ve got yourself is a four-eyed, high school caliber con-artist.
On a side note, the most hilarious element to the Russell Wilson choosing to be a Badger over a Tigger story is the notion from the Auburine
cult Fambly that “they didn’t really want him anyway.” Auburine would’ve taken Wilson in a New York minute, and reconstructing history to support your view is not only dishonest, it’s pathetic.
Wilson may have given Dyer and McCaleb a fighting chance to show the same flashes of potential they enjoyed in 2010, but Trotter or Mosely will simply leave them exposed to SEC defenses not required to honor the threat of a humongous, mobile, fleet-footed and purchased quarterback.
So with these realities in mind, and with 2011’s season almost here, come on Gus. Let’s see watcha got. Genius. (I just snorted.)