TD! What's that? TOUCHDOWN!
First let me say that this offense has the potential to be one of the greatest we have seen in AU history. They have the potential to gain more yards and score more points than any other team in the country. Unfortunately potential doesn’t always equal results especially in the SEC. To think that we will be moving the ball more and trying to rack up yards and points instead of our traditional “3 yards and a cloud of dust” is very exciting. Overall I think the offense is an upgrade from last year but I have broken it down by position.
Quarterback – Improved. I have to rely on potential and athleticism here. I think that Cam Newton may be the most athletic looking quarterback with the best stats in the SEC. 6’6”, 250 lbs, and a 4.5 40 means he should scare opposing defenses just by walking onto the field. However the bottom line is that no one knows what to expect. I see improvement because Chris Todd got the job done last year but adding in the ability to run and a cannon for an arm should have Gus Malzahn’s wheels turning. Additionally for the first time since 1995 I am comfortable with the depth at QB.
Running Back – Worse. Losing one of the best running backs in AU history means that we have downgraded at the RB position. The potential is there with Mario Fannin, Onterio McCalleb, and Mike Dyer. However, Mario has not really “Wowed” anyone in 4 years, McCalleb is coming off an ankle injury and despite all the stars, Mike Dyer is still a true freshman. McCalleb is the key here. Last year the offense clicked for 5 games with him in the game. He gets injured and then the offense sputters and loses to KY. Just sayin’.
Wide Receiver – Improved. WOW!! Amazing athletes, potential, and great coaching has me excited about AU receivers for the first time in a long time. Add in a QB who supposedly has a cannon and we may be poised to rack up the yards through the air. Adams is solid and Zachery has the touch on the end around. Trovon Reed is just a freshman but this guy could be a game changer. The comparisons to Percy Harvin have me real excited about Reed and the opportunity for this guy to play any receiver position as well as the “wildcat” spot must have Malzahn smiling at night.
Tight End – Improved. Can spell his last name but Phillip Lutz is a solid player. Probably the best hands on the team. He has also added size and improved with his blocking. Overall I think we are definitely improved here. Look for Malzahn to put him in situations where he can definitely be utilized in the passing game.
Offensive line – Improved. This is where our true strength may lie. 4 seniors and about a million starts means we have experience on the line. No substitute for experience. If Ziemba plays up to his potential and we reduce the penalties Cam Newton will have plenty of time to find open receivers. You can’t win in the SEC without a strong offensive and defensive line and if this group plays up to potential we definitely have the opportunity to be special.
Overall this offense has potential. I want to see what Cam Newton can do before we get too crazy with predictions for the year. Additionally, we must stay healthy at running back and Mario Fannin needs to step up and fill in for Ben Tate. If we get lucky and have very few injuries, we have some real potential on offense if Cam Newton is the playmaker we think he can be. If everything clicks then I think this offense will be the most potent since 2004.