This year is all over but the bowl season, but the top question for 2014 has already emerged…
How do you stop Gus Malzahn’s Auburn offense?
Missouri’s Gary Pinkel was asked following his beat down Saturday and he give this honest answer:
“Everybody has problems with it,” Pinkel said. “You know what, I’m the wrong person to ask because I’d have stopped it if I could have.”
The first team to try in 2014 – in the last game of the 2013 season, of course, will be the Florida State Seminoles. The ‘Noles defensive coordinator is Jeremy Pruitt who played at Alabama and, before the 2013 season, coached for the Tide. Pruitt is a great recruiter and learned under Nick Saban at ‘Bama, and I’ll bet he’s sending out S.O.S. signals this week trying to figure out how to stop the Gus Bus.
This isn’t the place or the time for me to get into how to stop it, but I will say this. The FSU offense better be well-oiled come the evening of January 6, 2014.
FSU will certainly have the athletes to execute whatever plan Pruitt and Jimbo Fisher cook up, but Auburn has run through (literally) the best the SEC has to offer, so I wouldn’t hang my hat on the ‘Noles fairing any better.
No, what Fisher needs to do is to make sure his offense is firing on all cylinders for the full 60 minutes (again, literally every second of 60 minutes). In most games this season, Auburn has shown an amazing ability to execute their offense for the full game and do so with an amazing amount of efficiency. By that I mean they continue with their offensive plan – run the ball, toss it to ref, repeat – for the full game and they are able to do so with few turnovers and with the same rhythm. In fact, except for the Georgia game – when Gus inexplicably slacked up – the rhythm generally improves with each game.
Fisher and Pruitt don’t know for sure if they can slow the Auburn running game, so they dang sure better be ready to outscore them.