In 2016 it was Rhett Lashlee, 2017 it was Chip Lindsey, 2018 Gus Malzahn took over play-calling duties again after Kenny Dillingham was hired, now, it’s Malzahn’s friend and former Arkansas coach, Chad Morris calling the plays.
While they have similar offensive styles, a Morris-led offense will most likely look a little different for Auburn fans.
One of the most significant changes comes in the utilization of tight ends.
In 2019, John Samuel Shenker had three receptions for 21 yards and a touchdown. Over at Arkansas in 2019, tight ends combined for 45 receptions, 476 yards and five touchdowns.
On the roster, Auburn carries five different tight ends: Shenker, Luke Deal, Tyler Fromm, J.J. Pegues and Brandon Frazier.
Even with fall practices just starting, fifth-year wide receiver Eli Stove has noticed the increase in tight end usage.
“Coach Morris always uses tight ends, so they’ve been used a lot,” Stove said Thursday. “They’ve been going for deep balls, blocking, more versatile tight ends. Really, all the tight ends have been getting in, so they’ve been doing well.”
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Following the first scrimmage last Saturday, Malzahn said tight ends accumulated four receptions.
Along with involving tight ends more, Stove thinks that Morris will have sophomore quarterback Bo Nix passing the ball more.
“I would say his plays just get people open a lot more,” Stove said. “We’re going to have more explosive plays down the field, of course. We’re going to be throwing the ball a little bit more. I think everybody does like the offense. We’re doing well in practice. We’re learning.”
Along with Stove, Nix will have familiar faces in Seth Williams, Anthony Schwartz and Shedrick Jackson back at wide receiver for his second year leading the Auburn offense.
He’ll also have four new freshmen receivers in Kobe Hudson, Ze’ Vian Capers, J.J. Evans and Elijah Canion on the field, all of whom Stove thinks will play this year.
The new-look Auburn offense has also quickly caught the defense’s eyes as they’ve begun to see new looks and plays.
“I would say, man, salute to Chad Morris,” Owen Pappoe said. “We talk about it almost every day in the linebacker room. I can’t really say too much about it, but y’all are going to see it this season. It’s going to look like a whole new Auburn offense, man. All the stuff they’ve brought in, it’s ridiculous.”
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