In 2010, when Gus Malzahn was the offensive coordinator for the Auburn Tigers, the Auburn offense ran smoothly and efficiently. It seemed that from day one, quarterback Cam Newton was a natural fit for Malzahn’s offense, and with the support of a strong running game, the Auburn offense did plenty en route to a BCS National Championship.
Fast forward to 2013, and Malzahn is now the head coach at Auburn. And, once again, he has gone to the junior college ranks to get a quarterback who has made a huge difference for the Tigers. That’s not saying that Nick Marshall is Cam Newton, because he’s not. Newton was the best player in college football and won the Heisman Trophy in 2010. Marshall is not even the best player in his own backfield (that would be running back Tre Mason).
However, after a slow start, Marshall has become extremely efficient in Malzhan’s offense. Marshall is not asked to do a lot with his arm, but he does connect on 60.4 percent of his passes. He has thrown for 12 touchdowns on the season, but has also accounted for five interceptions.
Marshall is also a gifted runner, and he has proven that time and again this year. He has rushed for 1,023 yards, second on the team and eighth in the Southeastern Conference, so far in 2013. He has also scored 11 touchdowns on the ground.
If Auburn is to take down the Florida State Seminoles in the BCS National Championship Game, the Tigers must be able to score against a potent FSU defense. It all starts with Marshall and his call in the read option offense. When that offense was last seen, it was putting up 59 points on a Missouri Tigers team that came into the game as one of the nation’s best units.
Auburn’s offense is fun to watch, and Marshall is the man that makes them go.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.