Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Auburn loses more offensive firepower
By Chris Low
With the announcement Monday that Auburn junior receiver Darvin Adams had also decided to turn pro, the question only intensified on the Plains: Who's going to make the plays on offense next season?
Cam Newton was clearly that guy this season, accounting for 51 touchdowns and passing and running his way to the Heisman Trophy. But after one season, he's gone. So, too, are his top two receivers in Terrell Zachery and Adams.
Offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn will certainly have his work cut out next season, but it's not like the Tigers are without talent at the offensive skill positions. Running backs Mike Dyer and Onterio McCalebb return as one of the best one-two punches in the league. And don't forget about receiver Trovon Reed, who was going to be a big part of the offense this season as a freshman, but was slowed by a knee injury and redshirted.
Emory Blake, who will be a junior, showed what he could do this season with eight touchdown catches, including a 30-yarder in the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game. Perhaps next season is when we see the highly touted DeAngelo Benton finally make his mark.
Barrett Trotter, who will be a junior, is probably the guy to beat at quarterback. But as we've seen in the past, Malzahn is not adverse to opening up that position to genuine competition in the spring.
Over and above the skill players the Tigers are losing on offense, the real concern is up front. Auburn loses four senior starters on the offensive line. Those guys played every meaningful snap this season and were a big reason Auburn was so consistent offensively.
Offensive line coach Jeff Grimes, who's returning after talking to Texas about its offensive line job, will have to rebuild that offensive line in the spring.