NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — It’s no secret Gus Malzahn has been uncharacteristically conservative this season.
Not in regard to scoring points or applying the brakes to his hurry-up, no-huddle offense, of course. Instead, it’s the trick plays others grew accustomed to seeing from Auburn’s coach in previous years that have been at a premium this season.
Just don’t call them “trick plays.”
“Well, a lot of people say we run trick plays, but from our players' standpoint we call them special plays because we actually work on them and we have certain situations we like to run them,” Malzahn said Sunday. “And it's just all a matter of putting pressure on the defense and really, (the) bottom line is scoring points, no matter how you do that.”
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Aside from a reverse pass from Jonathan Wallace in the opener against Washington State, Malzahn hasn’t dialed up any trick plays on offense this season.
Otherwise, the gadgetry has been relegated to special teams and the Tigers’ “Batman” formation on two-point conversions. Auburn has used the formation three times this year, with two successful conversions — and Ryan White figuring into all of them. The senior defensive back ran it in against the Cougars and connected with Brandon Fulse versus Mississippi State.
But “Batman” hasn’t surfaced since the Ole Miss game Oct. 5, as White’s pass sailed out of bounds following Auburn’s first touchdown.
Will the Tigers dust off some of their old bag of tricks in Monday night’s BCS championship game?
Malzahn wouldn’t rule anything out
“Each game is very unique. This one also is,” he said. “We'll always carry some things that we feel like will have a high chance of being successful if given the right situation."