By Jeff Shearer
AUBURN, Ala. - Gus Malzahn had three boxes to check in his search for Auburn's offensive coordinator.
He sought someone who could develop and evaluate quarterbacks, someone to whom Malzahn felt comfortable handing over the keys to Auburn's offense, and someone who fit Malzahn's no-huddle, run, play-action philosophy.
"Chip Lindsey fit all three," Malzahn said Saturday, introducing Auburn's new play-caller and quarterbacks coach. "I've actively seen him develop quarterbacks. He's very good at that. He's very good at evaluating quarterbacks. I feel very comfortable with Chip. I've got a lot of trust in him that he can do it, and he fits within my philosophy."
"Just extremely excited to get going," said Lindsey, an offensive analyst on Auburn's 2013 SEC Championship team.
"Being from here (Alabama), and the experience I had here before, it really was a dream come true for me," Lindsey said. "An easy decision."
Lindsey, accompanied by his wife, Cecily, and their children, Claire, Caroline, Cooper and Conner, spoke with reporters at Auburn Arena after arriving from Arizona, where Lindsey served as Arizona State's offensive coordinator in 2016.
"He has his own offense that he's been very successful with," Malzahn said. "He was with me a year. He understands the core philosophy. I'm very excited about him coming in and spicing up our offense. I've got a lot of confidence in him."
"Everybody's got their own spin on offense," Lindsey said. "We all have our own personality that comes out when you design an offense. The bottom line has never changed. The most important thing is find ways to get the ball to your best players. It's really that simple. That'll be our goal every day."
Lindsey will work with six quarterbacks during Auburn's spring practice: returning starter Sean White, John Franklin III, redshirt freshman Woody Barrett, Tyler Queen, Devin Adams and transfer Jarrett Stidham.
"I think the most important thing is to give those guys a plan," Lindsey said. "Give them a plan every play where they know where to go with the ball. You've got to get the ball out of your hand. You've got to understand protection.
"Their footwork, and all of the things that go along with fundamentally playing the position are extremely important. And those are things I plan on making sure that those guys are really good at."
Lindsey stressed that Auburn will continue to rely on a strong rushing attack.
"You've got to be able to run the football to win," Lindsey said. "We were really successful two years ago (at Southern Miss) doing that, and it just opened up our entire offense. I know what Auburn's made of. Auburn's made of hard work, blue collar kind of football, and that's what we're going to continue to do, with maybe some wrinkles and little twists in our passing game."
"Last year we led our league in rushing," Malzahn said. "We need to be more balanced. We need to throw the ball more effectively. Chip will bring that. I'm excited about our passing game. He's got a great offensive mind. I think it will complement our run game."
Malzahn reiterated that his play-calling days are in the past, a decision he made during the 2016 season.
"Chip's going to call the plays," Malzahn said. "This is going to be Chip's offense, and it's going to be his responsibility. I've got a lot of trust in him. He's going to do a great job.'
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @jeff_shearer