Gus Malzahn takes veiled shot at Alabama

A growing trend in college football is teams using an up-tempo offense and putting a lot of points on the board in short amounts of time. One coach that embraces this system is Auburn Tigers leader Gus Malzahn, whose teams have ranked seventh and 17th in total offense during his tenure.

Speaking to Michael Casagrande of AL.com, Malzahn spoke about how many teams in the SEC appear to be embracing tempo offense, and even took a shot at Auburn’s in-state rival, the Alabama Crimson Tide, in the process.

Gus Malzahn says everyone in the SEC is running tempo offense, "even the ones that used to gripe about it."

— Michael Casagrande (@ByCasagrande) July 13, 2015

First off, points to Malzahn for being so subtle in his shot at Nick Saban, who last year compared up-tempo offenses to smoking cigarettes, as was reported by CBS Sports’ Tom Fornelli as well as ESPN.

“I don’t care about getting blamed for this. That’s part of it,” Saban said. “But I do think that somebody needs to look at this very closely.

“The fastball guys (up-tempo coaches) say there’s no data out there, and I guess you have to use some logic. What’s the logic? If you smoke one cigarette, do you have the same chances of getting cancer if you smoke 20? I guess there’s no study that specifically says that. But logically, we would say, ‘Yeah, there probably is.'”

Now, granted, many SEC teams besides Auburn are embracing fast-paced offenses, like Bret Bielema-led Arkansas and Todd Gurley’s Georgia Bulldogs, while Saban has consistently run a pro-style offense and had hard-hitting defenses since taking over the Tide in 2007, winning three national championships along the way. Based on his quote, it just appears that Saban is bummed out that conservative offenses are being abandoned in favor of tempo offense, with defense taking a back seat along the way.

But that doesn’t take away from the fact that what Malzahn says is true, and that Saban has found himself on the losing end against teams that run faster offenses each of the past two bowl seasons, having fallen to the Urban Meyer-led Ohio State Buckeyes last season and Oklahoma the year before that.

Perhaps this season, Saban will finally find a way to counter the attack that his defenses just can’t seem to solve.

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*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports