Tom Luginbill may have just given the kiss of death to Gus Malzahn’s coaching career at Auburn.
For whatever reason, the Tigers seem to consistently overachieve whenever they are doubted heading into a season while they often fail to live up to lofty expectations when momentum appears to be building during the offseason on The Plains. Of course, it’s easy to argue that what happened in the past has no bearing on the future but until Malzahn’s program proves differently, it hasn’t proven to excel with the weight of expectations.
Well, Auburn just got a big compliment from one of the game’s most knowledgeable analysts.
During a Wednesday appearance on Birmingham-based 94.5 FM radio program “The Roundtable,” ESPN college football analyst Tom Luginbill shared his thoughts on Auburn’s personnel looking ahead to the 2019 season. When it comes to the defensive linemen, Luginbill would argue that the Tigers have the best two in the Southern Conference in senior Derrick Brown and junior Nick Coe.
“As far as proven commodities? Absolutely,” Luginbill said. “I happen to think top to bottom as a football team, particularly on the defensive side of the ball — and also offensively with some of the weapons they have got coming back, which is virtually everybody, this may be the best top to bottom team Gus Malzahn has had. The program is, outside of Texas A&M, it might be the most difficult schedule in the entire country.”
Auburn won’t just be relying on those two defensive linemen, either, as senior Marlon Davidson returns along with proven pass rushers T.D. Moultry and Big Kat Bryant.
However, as Luginbill notes, Auburn’s schedule is brutal next season. The opener in Arlington against Oregon won’t be easy before trips to Texas A&M, Florida, Arkansas and LSU must be faced. That enough would make for a tough schedule but Auburn hosts Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Georgia and Alabama in conference play.
Despite that gauntlet, the ESPN analyst believes Malzahn could not have asked for a better roster to tackle the challenges ahead. In fact, Luginbill suggested this Auburn roster is more talent than the one that went on to play in the National Championship Game in 2013.
“I think his 2013 team had a lot of things fall into place when they needed it to fall into place,” Luginbill continued. “This might be the most physically gifted, in terms of maybe not needing the ball to bounce your way, maybe able to create your own luck a little bit off of talent, being a little bit more superior than that team.”
You can listen to the segment featuring Luginbill’s thoughts on Auburn’s 2019 roster courtesy of “The Roundtable” host Jim Dunaway and you can listen to Luginbill’s complete interview with the show here.
Better than the 2013 National Runner-Ups? Listen below to ESPN's @TomLuginbill on the show Wednesday explaining the talent he believes is on the Auburn roster. #WarEagle #JOXCity @JOXRoundtable @AuburnFootball pic.twitter.com/MX4noPCDlG
— Jim Dunaway (@jimdunaway) June 12, 2019