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I wish him nothing but the best. For all my criticisms of him, he did run a clean program (from what I know) and he was a classy guy. He coached some of Auburn's most memorable games and he was an occasional thorn in Nick Saban's side. Best of luck, Gus.
Could you list the "good things" he did for Auburn? Malzahn had exactly 2 good seasons (2013 and 2017). Here are his records: 2014: 8-5 2015: 7-6 2016: 8-5 2017: 10-4 2018: 8-5 2019: 9-4 2020: 6-5 Notice a pattern? Keep in mind that most of those losses were against good teams and at least half of those wins were against cupcakes or subpar P5 teams. Malzahn could scrounge up a flash in the pan every once in a while, but he was consistently average. And he was paid the 7th high salary in the country. He was robbing Auburn based on the return he was giving.
Malzahn has never understood his own offense as well as other defenses have.
UCF going to the playoffs and even making it to the National Championship are about as realistic as George Washington winning the White House in 2024. If ever there was a chance for a G5 school to crack the playoffs, it was this past year. they put Notre Dame in ... Notre Dame, who had just gotten blown out by Clemson instead of a G5 program. It ain't gonna happen.
Headed to the basement, eh? Okay, we'll see. Who are the powers that be that decide which teams are good?
Saban's been at Alabama for almost 15 years. Most teams in the country have changed coaches in that time. Guys like Frank Beamer are the exception, not the rule. The buyout was done by a previous AD and a previous president. Nobody outside of Malzahn, Jimmy Sexton, and the sports writers here at SDS thought that was a good idea. Even fans who were elated at the 2017 season thought it was absurd.
This past year, his class was projected to be in the 40s because recruits saw the writing on the wall with Malzahn. It didn't matter that there was a revolving door at the OC position--the result was always the same. What quarterback wants to come to a place where his talent will be wasted? And yeah, he totally neglected the offensive line in favor of "flashy" skill positions. And he paid for it dearly.
@CharacterCounts No he won't. He'll have a great first season and then once other teams get a handle on his predictable playcalling, he'll average 4 losses.
Hahaha, "blue-chippers like Byron Cowart, Joey Gatewood and Nate Craig-Myers all left the Sunshine State for Malzahn’s program." Yes, you remember those guys, right? They set the SEC on fire with their ... oh ... wait ... none of them did anything at Auburn because Malzahn either mismanaged them (Craig-Myers, Gatewood) or they were busts (Cowart). "mainly failing to live up to the ridiculously high bar he set with a national runner-up season in Year 1" That wasn't why he was fired. He was fired because he had at least 4 losses every season since 2013, because he had yet to develop in-house talent on the offense, because he won exactly 2 bowl games (Memphis and Purdue) because he had losing records against UGA, LSU, Bama, and since 2017 had a LOSING record against the SEC as a whole. Add to that the fact that recruiting under him was faltering--even as late as December, Auburn's 2021 recruiting class was ranked in the 40s. No, the boosters saw the writing on the wall and rather than watch Auburn collapse under Malzahn, they made the move to replace him. "Didn't get it done, didn't execute" was his most common phrase when describing a loss. Get used to that UCF!
There were some rumors (I don't know how credible they were) that Nix was looking to transfer after last season. He wants to play in the NFL and he wasn't getting the sort of development he thought he would be getting under Malzahn and Morris. But Nix has to show some fundamental improvement in his mechanics this season or his dreams of playing in the NFL may be limited to the scout team.
That's coach-speak, ya'll. You really think he's looking at this class and saying "yes, we nailed it! This is all I ever have to do!" No, of course not. but he's only been on the job for 6 weeks. And Auburn's recruiting had taken a nosedive under Gus after it was clear he is incapable of developing offensive talent this past year. Seriously ... go look at the projecting recruiting ranks from last fall. Malzahn was losing recruits, and that's one of the reasons they decided to pull the plug ... to stop the bleeding. Will a team of 3-star players be competitive in the SEC? No, of course not. And Auburn's probably going to go 6-6 this coming season. That's to be expected. Given Harsin some time to get a full recruiting cycle together before you declare him a bust.
"Most new coaches are given a grace period of a year. But Auburn isn’t most places, and Harsin didn’t take over a program with the cupboards bare." Nobody is expecting Harsin to go out and win the SEC in year 1 or even in year 2 or 3. We wanted Malzahn gone because he was stuck in mediocrity and his offenses were atrocious (and he was an offensive guy). Harsin has a long grace period and he actually is coming in with a sort of bare cupboard, given how bad Malzahn had recruited this past year, and with all the departures. Auburn will likely go 6-6 next year.
Auburn's recruiting class was already pretty bad well before Malzahn was fired. It wasn't like we were in the top ten and then a bunch of players suddenly changed their minds the week before the deadline. No, Malzahn's inability to develop quarterbacks and to renovate his tired offensive system were scaring recruits away. I like the selections Harsin has made for his coaching staff. He's got a good mix of guys he knows from Boise State and elsewhere, and guys who know the Southeast. Recruiting will be his biggest priority going forward. Year 1 under Harsin will be a wash ... I wouldn't expect to win more than 6 games with all the changes to personnel.
I gotta know, what makes Georgia and elite program that Auburn is not. I'm not saying the two programs are exactly equal, but the differences are minimal. Both programs have played for a National Championship this decade. Both programs have a single SEC championship victory. Neither program has had a Heisman winner this decade, but Auburn has had 3 whereas Georgia has had 2. Some Georgia fans are a bit delusional about where their program sits. When it comes to elite programs, I don't include Georgia (I also don't include Auburn). Currently, there's only one elite program in the SEC, and that's Alabama, unfortunately. Then you have the second tier teams (these are programs that have the potential to compete for the SEC title) and they are Georgia, Florida, LSU, and Auburn. Obviously that will change. Next year we may add Texas A&M and remove Auburn or whatever. You get the point. Long story short, Georgia and Auburn aren't that far apart.
@UGAGrad417 Yeah, Mississippi State tried to pay him, but failed. That's when a single booster from MSU (with Mullen's encouragement) went to the media with a one-sided story. The NCAA investigated Auburn and found Auburn had done nothing wrong. And before you say "well, Auburn paid them off too!" I need to ask you for proof. The true story is that Newton was already leaning towards Auburn because he would get to play at a more promising program, and he didn't exactly leave Florida on the best of terms with the coaching staff at the time ... you wanna guess who the OC was at Florida when Newton left? Dan Mullen. All that aside, explain how an MSU booster trying to bribe Cecil Newton somehow negates Auburn's 2010 season? It doesn't. Auburn won those games plain and simple.
"After not being paid to play college football" Okay, you wanna pay them? Fine. Dissolve scholarships. Make them pay their own way for everything from room and board to medical insurance, to tuition. Make them pay for their own tutors, make them pay for use of the athletic facilities, etc. And you can't expect to pay some players more than others ... this is about equality and stuff, right? So, the 3rd string bench warmer gets paid the same as the highly skilled wide receiver. You will soon find that all that money you think college football programs are withholding isn't all that much. These kids demanding to be paid will regret it. Or, these self-absorbed narcissists can understand what being part of a team means. It would also help if the NFL stopped using college football as a minor league system.
I'm willing to bet that people are confusing StoptheSteal with StopSteele ... I doubt that many Auburn fans are upset about this that they're posting on Twitter in such numbers that it is trending... Anyway, here are the options, Auburn fans: Hire an outsider for head coach: fine, but who? Cristobol isn't coming. Neither is Freeze. Meyer won't go to Auburn. So ... who? -PJ Fleck? He's never coached college ball south of the Ohio River. -Brett Venables? He ain't leaving Clemson for Auburn. -Bill Clark or Billy Napier? The former has never coached at a Power 5 program while the former has bounced around from program to program (like Malzahn a decade ago). -Steve Sarkisian? You really think he's gonna flip from Alabama? -Lane Kiffin? Ha! He's part of the reason Tennessee is still in turmoil. Or, you hold on to Steele. Yeah, he's not a flashy pick, but he's a stable pick. You keep him, you keep your defensive staff intact. All you need now is to hire an offensive coordinator, which is easier to do than a head coach. Listen, Auburn has the parts to be a good team ... but the offense, man oh man, the offense needs work. And the lack of smart recruiting on that side of the ball (look at the offensive line) has been a major problem I've had with Malzahn. That's all Auburn needs ... actual changes to the offense. You see, with the coming and going of various OCs under Malzahn, there was never any change, because Malzahn was still calling the shots. He was a one-trick pony. Get in some fresh ideas, some smart ideas, and Auburn will be fine. I say give Steele the job.
Look at the defensive players who have committed to Auburn over the last 4 years. Steele is responsible for that ... not for the mess that Gus made of the offense. Our defense is fine, our offense is not.
I don't want Freeze either. He might be a good coach, but I think his system is more applicable to G-5 teams than the SEC, much like Malzahn. The answer is obvious: promote Steele. Let Steele run the team while still putting his efforts into the defense. Then, hire a good offensive coordinator (which is a lot easier to do than a head coach). Doing this minimizes the instability for the program, creates continuity, and keeps one of the better DCs from jumping ship. Whether we do this or not, who knows. Auburn is the same place that hired Malzahn in the first place ... after hiring 5-19 Gene Chizik ...
Auburn learned its lesson with Jetgate and Jetgate II: never go behind a sitting coach again...
This isn't about his record against Alabama ... in fact, it is those 3 wins against Alabama that's kept him at Auburn for so long. Consider the fact that Malzahn has a losing record against the SEC since 2017. Consider the fact that Auburn's offense has been atrocious for years now ... which is pretty bad when you consider that Malzahn is supposed to be an offensive guru. Consider the fact that Malzahn has exactly 2 post-season wins to his name (Memphis and Purdue) or that he has losing records against UGA, LSU, and Bama, or that Auburn's current recruiting class sits somewhere in the 40s (and the reason is lack of player development, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Auburn didn't mess up. Auburn had to stop something that was getting bad from becoming really bad.
So ... Pat Dye was in the heart of a scandal that involved numerous recruiting violations. That scandal forced him to step down as Athletic Director and then as Coach. Auburn was put on probation for what occurred under his watch. Terry Bowden resigned after a 1-5 start to his final season. He also oversaw a period of a lot of mismanagement off the field. Tuberville was probably the only guy on the list who got a raw deal. He and some super-boosters were mortal enemies. Jetgate and Jetgate II were the epitome of unnecessary meddling. Chizik ... let's remember he came from Iowa State with a 5-19 record. That's 5-19 ... And anyone with a brain realizes that the 2010 season was due solely to Cam Newton--a type of athlete who is once in a lifetime. Without Cam in 2010, I doubt Auburn would have done better than 7-5. You can count on one hand the total number of players drafted from that 2010 team over the next 2 years. So, Auburn wasn't exactly doing great. As for Malzahn. He had a losing record against the big 3 rivals (Bama, LSU, UGA). He had a losing record in bowl games (posting 2 wins against Memphis and Purdue). And he never ever developed a great quarterback. Nick Marshall did fine as a zone-read guy in year 1 ... but after that? Johnson, White, Stidham, and now Nix ... they're all undeveloped. That's not to mention the number of quality quarterbacks who have left the program due to bad coaching decisions. Keep in mind that Mac Jones of Alabama was a 3-star player, but I'd take him over any of the 4 and 5 star quarterbacks that Malzahn has had. Auburn's offense has been stagnant for a number of years and it has shown no promise of ever improving because Malzahn doesn't know anything else. His "system" is one of stubbornness. And then there's the future under Malzahn, or potential future. The high number of high-caliber recruits who have departed the program recently has been of concern. And recruiting has really ground to a halt because I think word is out that if you have any ounce of talent, you don't go to Auburn ... you go somewhere else. There were some rumors that Nix and his Dad were exploring their options in regards to the portal. He's a sophomore ... does he stay at Auburn where he descends into mediocracy, or does he go to another program where he'll be properly coached? Personally, I hope they give Kevin Steele the job and allow him to keep whichever assistants he wants. Steele has done a solid job building the defense over the past 5 years. He's a good recruiter and having him stay on would lessen the instability to the program that always follows a program with a coaching change. The problem is with the offense. Allow Steele to get a competent offensive coordinator and I think Auburn does better. It is easier to hire a coordinator than a head coach. But, Auburn is the same place that hired 5-19 Chizik. It's the same place that hired Smoke and Mirrors Malzahn. It's the place that gave Malzahn an absurd extension for simply having a single good season. So I don't really expect them to be smart about this.
I get so tired of hearing Malzahn's excuses, but what is even worse is hearing how bright the future is. We've been hearing that for 6 years, Gus ... it's always "we're real excited about next game ... next season ... we're gonna be great next time ... tomorrow ... blah blah blah." And yet nothing changes. Auburn and Malzahn need to go their separate ways. "But but but who could Auburn get?" I dunno ... there are a dozen or so coaches who might do better than Malzahn. But here's a better question: where could Malzahn go that is better than Auburn? There isn't anywhere he could go. Auburn is Malzahn's ceiling. He won't be going to a prominent P5 program as head coach. He might land something like ... I don't know, Arizona or Illinois ... but he won't be leading them to anything other than mediocrity. More likely, Malzahn will end up in the Sun Belt.
They aren't going to fire him this year. The buyout is too steep. Plus, with everything going on, it just makes sense to suck up another disappointing season. However, mediocrity will eventually erode all the "good" things Malzahn has done. This is going to pan out in recruiting and seeing committed players de-committing. And they're not going to decommit because they're worried Malzahn might be leaving, they're decommitting because they don't want their talents squandered in a team that averages 4 losses a season.
When fans call for Gus to be fired they aren't being trolls. That's not what a troll is. Our O-line has been a weak spot for years and that goes back to recruiting. Gus spends all his time chasing 5-star receivers and other skill players while neglecting the guys upfront. Then there's QB development ... which has been horrible. Let me remind you of one thing: Bo Nix was a 4 or 5 star recruit. Mac Jones was a 3 star recruit. Who has shown more growth, Jones or Nix? You're insane if you say Nix. Same with Stidham, same with Sean White, same with Jeremy Johnson, same with Nick Marshall. Gus Malzahn made his name by being an "offensive guru." And yet, the offense has only gotten worse under his leadership. We're 7 years into his tenure ... and there is absolutely no reason to believe things will ever get better. As for your excuses ... NO team had spring practice. Everyone came into this season with exactly the same amount of preparation time. There is no new playbook for them to learn--because you're naive if you think Chad Morris (a guy who was fired after going winless at Arkansas and had no prospects) is actually in charge of the offense. It's Malzahn's show no matter what he says in the press conferences. Auburn is as high as Malzahn will ever go. He's not going off to the NFL, he's not going to a bigger P-5 program. Once he's done at Auburn, you'll see him as a coordinator somewhere, or at best, as a coach of a G-5 program. That's not being a troll, that's being factual.
The problem at Auburn continues to be the offense's inability to consistently perform. And that problem isn't due to a lack of good receivers or running backs or even quarterbacks ... it is the line. Look at the offensive line this year: it's a collection of walk-ons, graduate transfers from smaller programs, or 2 or 3 star players. The O-line has been a source for weakness for a long time now ... and that falls on bad recruiting. Yes, it is fun to reel in a 5-star receiver (only to see that guy leave the program a year or two later), but until Auburn starts taking the 0-line seriously, our offense is going to suck.
Now now everyone, he's looking for a pat on the back (and hoping a feminist will go on a dat with him now).
Malzahn isn't getting it done at Auburn. It's a shame Auburn is stuck with him or has to pay an exorbitant buyout. "But but but, who will Auburn get??" A better question is: where would Malzahn go after Auburn. Who would hire him? Not the NFL. Not a big name P5 school. Auburn is his peak. After Auburn, he'll likely be coaching at a low-tier P5 school or some G5 program.
Remember when there were those rumors about Gus going to Malzahn? If only that had happened instead of Morris coming to Auburn. This is turning out to be the worst Auburn offense since 2012.
1. The sports media seems oblivious to the fact that Malzahn is all smoke and mirrors. He isn't an offensive guru. He's got one playbook that involves a lot of misdirection and movement ... but once you see the gametape, you pretty much know what to expect. 2. Usually when a new offensive coordinator comes in, you see something different, something that changes from the previous year. In the 7 years Malzahn has been head coach, the offense is exactly the same. That's 7 years and 3 offensive coordinators ... absolutely the same. That's because the OC is just a puppet, and I don't care what they say in the press conferences. Malzahn runs the offense. He has to because ... see the point above. He still thinks he's a master offensive mind, and he's too stubborn to change his ways. 3. Malzahn has neglected the trenches. He focuses on flashy players who can make "explosive plays" assuming the guys up front will push just enough to make it happen. You aren't going to have very many explosive plays with a line made up of 2 and 3 star recruits ... or walkons, which is what we have now. 4. Nix probably would do well under better tutelage. Unfortunately, for him, he came to Auburn. Chad Morris isn't the QB whisperer and any QB who stays under Malzahn for too long regresses. 5. Auburn is as high as Mazlahn will ever go. He won't go off to the NFL ... they ain't calling. He won't go off to a "bigger" P5 program. They ain't calling. So when Auburn and Malzahn part ways, you can expect to see him go to a G5 program or a very low P5 program (think something like Wake Forest or Kansas or Illinois).