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Developer of quarterbacks

The hand-wringing and questioning of Auburn’s quarterbacks will go on, I suppose, until we see what happens on the field in the 2011 season.

Senior Editor Phillip Marshall

How many pundits have said of offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn: “Let’s see what he does without Cam Newton?”

Other than from Newton himself, Malzahn gets little credit for his part in developing a quarterback who had never started a college football game into one of the best ever to play the game.

Anyway, the truth is, we know what history says Malzahn will do without Cam Newton. Whether the next Auburn quarterback is Barrett Trotter, Clint Moseley or even freshman Kiehl Frazier, he will pile up passing yards, touchdowns and points.

In five seasons as an offensive coordinator at three different schools, Malzahn has had six different starting quarterbacks.

It really isn’t fair to count Malzahn’s first season. He was the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach at Arkansas, but in a move even he must silently question, coach Houston Nutt quickly stopped him from running the offense he was hired to run.

When Malzahn left for Tulsa after the 2006 season, Mustain left for USC, where he was a career backup. Other than Newton, the first player chosen in the NFL draft, Malzahn has made productive, even record-breaking quarterbacks out of guys who were much more likely to be selling insurance after college than playing pro football.

The truth is in black and white. Here it is:

ARKANSAS 2006

PPG: 28.9

Mitch Mustain 69-132-9, 894 yards, 10 TD

Casey Dick 65-132-6, 991 yards, 9 TD

TULSA 2007

PPG: 39.5

Paul Smith 300-499-19, 4753 yards, 42 TD; 96 rushes, 218 yards, 12 TD

TULSA 2008

PPG: 29.2

G.J. Kinne 210-345-10, 2732 yards, 22 TD; 151 rushes, 393 yards (5 TD).

AUBURN 2009

PPG: 33.3

Chris Todd 198-328-6, 2612 yards, 22 TD

AUBURN 2010

PPG: 41.2

Cam Newton 185-280-7, 2854 yards, 30 TD; 264 rushes, 1473 yards, 20 TD

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