After 2015 hype, Auburn embraces underdog role
Only days before SEC Media Days last July, Bovada listed Auburn QB Jeremy Johnson with the third-best odds to win the Heisman Trophy.
SB Nation even wrote that Johnson was, “The SEC’s ONLY hope for a Heisman.”
On defense, the Swiss cheese Auburn unit was expected to get an upgrade from new defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, who at the time was the highest paid defensive coordinator in the country, The Montgomery Advertiser reported.
SEC media picked the Tigers to win the SEC championship.
If only any of that came true.
After a lackluster and disappointing 2015, the Tigers are tamping down expectations and recalled previous seasons, such as after the 3-9 season in 2013, that caused them to proclaim 2016 as a year when they “earn it.”
Auburn's team motto for 2016 is even on the meeting room doors pic.twitter.com/hAFS4GdeqR
— Brandon Marcello (@bmarcello) March 5, 2016
“There is no last year,” Montravius Adams told ESPN following Auburn’s first spring practice. “We’re probably not going to be ranked in the Top 25. … We’ve got to earn everything that we want.
“So when we’re in the weight room, we’re earning it. We’re earning our teammates’ respect, our coaches’ respect. We just want to earn it for everybody with everything we do.”
Those picks to win in 2015 have been replaced by high marks on the hot seat charts.
Between departures from last year and early enrollees, there’s a turnover of more than 30 players and five new assistant coaches. And the biggest question is the quarterback competition.
If anything, Auburn is embracing an underdog role after a 7-6 2015.
“You can tell they’ve got a chip on their shoulder from last year, which I think is very healthy,” coach Gus Malzahn said, according to AL.com. “… They are looking forward to getting out there and redeeming themselves.”