September 10, 2009

Burns adds extra dimension to Wildcat

The Wildcat formation has become an essential part of many college offenses over the past few seasons and has even made its way into the NFL.

But the popularity of the Wildcat, a variation of the old single-wing offense, has given defensive coaches ample opportunity to come up with more effective ways to defend it.

"Teams are getting good at defending it, because they know what is coming and that's the down side of it," Auburn head coach Gene Chizik said.

That doesn't mean the death of the Wildcat draws near. It just means offensive coaches such as AU offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, who helped popularize the formation at Arkansas in 2006, will have to come up with new and inventive ways to use it.

Traditionally, the Wildcat quarterback has been a running back like the Razorbacks' Darren McFadden or a receiver like Ole Miss's Dexter McCluster.

But Malzahn has gone in a different direction in his first season at Auburn. Instead of tagging running back Mario Fannin or one of AU's freshmen receivers as the Wildcat quarterback, Malzahn turned to quarterback-turned-receiver Kodi Burns.

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