Tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen has gained a reputation for being a pretty good football player for Auburn the past three seasons. But that’s mainly been because of his blocking and his red zone production. Now he thinks he’s ready to show even more of his talents thanks to the arrival of new offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler.
Out goes Gus Malzahn’s spread attack and in comes Loeffler’s more traditional, balanced scheme. The senior believes he’ll have more opportunities as a receiver in the Tigers’ new system:
“I haven’t been able to show what I can do in that standpoint over the past three years. I’ve had success in the previous offense, and we won a national championship in it. But selfishly, I’m kind of excited for this season to kind of put together the whole package of what a tight end does and really show what I can do.”
Tight ends coach Jay Boulware told The Opelika-Auburn News that he, too, expects Lutzenkirchen to “be more versatile” in 2012. “This is more of a pro-style offense. Lutz’s role is more along the lines of what most tight ends in the NFL have to do now. They have to be both — he has to be a fullback, he has to be a tight end, he has to be a backside tight end, he has to be a wideout.”
The tight end said that he’s already running deeper routes than he did under Malzahn’s leadership. And to underscore Lutzenkirchen’s point, one only needs to look at his stats from the previous three seasons combined: 44 catches for 489 yards. He has served as a red zone target, though, hauling in 14 touchdowns over that same span.
Key for Lutzenkirchen’s production, however, will be the play of Auburn’s quarterback. As of yet, the Tigers haven’t named a starter and coaches are already limiting the number of throws Clint Moseley makes in practice because of a sore arm. If the Tigers can’t find someone talented, smart, and healthy to run Loeffler’s offense, it might not matter what kind of routes Lutzenkirchen is running.
Update from Auburn: Coach Gene Chizik has named sophomore Kiehl Frazier the starting quarterback.