“I’ve been extremely impressed with them,” he went on. “Now, we’ve got a long way to go — don’t get me wrong here. But these guys have done a great job of understanding what we’re asking them to do.”
The tight ends and running backs have been the talk of bubble practices this preseason on the offensive side. Players have raved about what Morris is doing with the offense. In Auburn’s first scrimmage in August, Malzahn reported that tight ends caught more passes than the Tigers’ starting tight end caught all last season. In the second scrimmage, speedster running back Shaun Shivers made the highlight play scoring from 80 yards on a pass from out of the backfield. Morris said Thursday that using tight ends in different ways is probably the biggest way his offense has evolved over the last 10 years or so at the college level, and that the running backs getting involved in the passing game comes right along with that.
Malzahn attacks differently. His offenses have been lethal in their simplicity in the past. Auburn raced to an SEC Championship in 2013 with an ages-old read option at the center of the team’s offense.
But Morris brings something different with the way he meticulously creates mismatches, and Malzahn is the first person on staff to say he believes Morris will be a big help for Auburn.
“(The tight end) alone creates an opportunity to play at a faster pace or increase mismatches,” Morris explained Thursday. “How do people want to play you? Are they going to play him as a wide receiver? If they are, they’re going to bring a nickel on the field. If they do that … you’re able to run the football well. Then it’s ‘OK, no, we’re going to play him as a true tight end.’ Well, great. Then I’ve got the opportunity to get (a linebacker) mismatched in space, whether it’s on option routes, rail routes or crossing routes.