December 18, 2013

Developing strength


AUBURN | The Tigers were an average running team last season, viewed widely as the confluence of an excellent running back, a below-average offensive line and a system that simply didn't make sense.

How about now?

Tre Mason became a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. Gus Malzahn and offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee once again bestowed their Midas touch and turned Auburn into an epicenter of forward-thinking strategy. On a national and perhaps even a regional level, those are the reasons why Auburn has become a winner once again.

Yet Malzahn believes changes along the offensive front, which returned this season in much the same form it existed a year ago, paved the way for almost everything good thing that has occurred.

"We knew going into the season that the offensive line was going to be one of our strengths," the Tigers' head coach said. "The unique thing is -- we are fairly deep. Any time you have depth, that creates competition. Any time you can run the football and people know you are going to run the football, against the defenses we have (faced), the offensive line deserves a lot of credit."

So what changed?

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