Paul Finebaum says he's not sure he recognizes this version of Gus Malzahn
One of the main storylines of the preseason was Auburn coach Gus Malzahn taking back the play-calling duties after he relinquished them in recent years with some turnover among his offensive coordinators. That move has already paid huge dividends for the No. 7 Tigers as they’re off to a 5-0 start with a game this week at No. 10 Florida.
After the SEC Network’s “SEC Nation” was at Auburn last week, host Paul Finebaum said he’s noticed a very different demeanor from Malzahn.
“I’m not even sure that’s Gus Malzahn,” Finebaum said on his regular weekly appearance on Birmingham-based WJOX, 94.5 FM program “The Roundtable.” “This is a guy that’s happy-go-lucky, friendly, outgoing, having the time of his life. Maybe the fact that he’s now in charge and I know that sounds crazy to people outside of Alabama, but the fact that some power brokers a couple years ago walked in and said you’re no longer calling the plays, and he had to back away from that even though he was the head coach and now that he’s in charge, he seems like he’s gone through some sort of intervention. He’s cool, he’s calm, he’s having fun and calling brilliant plays.”
The Tigers are in the top five of several offensive categories in the SEC, most notably rushing offense where they are averaging 251 yards per game. Freshman QB Bo Nix is also coming off his best performance to date with 355 passing yards against Mississippi State on 16-of-21 passing with two touchdowns. Nix especially improved his deep-ball accuracy from the week before. Auburn’s 42 first-half points in the 56-23 victory were the most in an SEC half since the Tigers had the same number against Vanderbilt in 1990.
The Auburn-Florida game will kick off at 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS from Gainesville.