Aubserver Mailbag 80: What does Auburn football need to show on offense in 2022?
This week: Bryan Harsin, NFL Draft production, a perfect football schedule, great press conference moments, Chance Westry, soundtracks and the CFB Champions League
QB Robby Ashford (Todd Van Emst/Auburn Athletics)
I keep saying this pretty much every week, but I remain blown away by how detailed and thorough your offseason questions have been for this mailbag. And when they’re not lengthy ones, they’re very direct and open up a world of interesting answers — like the first couple in this week’s mailbag.
Basically, y’all continue to make this offseason both quick and enjoyable. I can’t thank the Inner Circle enough for that.
This is going to go down as one of the longest mailbags I’ve ever written, so I won’t waste any more space here. You asked a ton about Auburn’s offense in 2022, the narrative around Bryan Harsin, NFL Draft production, a perfect football schedule, great press conference moments, Chance Westry, soundtracks and the CFB Champions League.
How many passing ypg does Auburn need to have to have a respectable offense? Find a line. Do your thing.
Longtime readers will know that I hate yards per game statistics, because it strips pace and playing style away from the numbers. For example, we all know that Mike Leach’s Air Raid teams are going to be among the leaders in passing yards per game each season. We also know that those passing attacks aren’t the best, and yards per attempt measurements are usually better metrics.
However, to Pablo’s question, yards per game can be a good benchmark for studying a single team’s success. Since we know the pace and the system of the Auburn offense, finding a per-game number can be pretty useful.
Looking at SEC and national numbers from last season, plus recent Auburn history, I think a good barometer for a passing attack is somewhere around 225 to 250 passing yards per game. The Tigers could go lower than that if they have a really effective run-first offense — the 2013 and 2014 teams are the most extreme examples — but that’s a solid range.
Auburn averaged 35 passing attempts per game and 34 rushing attempts per game last season. If Auburn is going to have a run-first attack, you could expect those numbers to adjust to somewhere between 25-30 passing attempts and 35-40 rushing attempts per game. In that case, we’re looking at the Tigers averaging 7.5 to 9-ish yards per attempt. That’s a number they haven’t hit since the Jarrett Stidham days, and it would make them a top-half passing attack in both the SEC and the FBS.
Your definition of “respectable” may vary, but I think if Auburn is averaging north of 200 passing yards per game while committing more to the rushing attack, it would be in a fine spot for an offense that takes a step forward and earns a solid winning record in 2022.