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Auburn fan here. I don't have anything personal against Malzahn, I just think he's overrated as a coach. He made his name in high school ball and came up to the college level as part of a package deal with several players that Arkansas wanted. He spent a single season at Arkansas and did mostly well, went to Tulsa for a year, came to Auburn as OC and really earned a lot of undue credit for 2010 (let's be honest, I could have gone undefeated as HC if I had Cam Newton as my QB), and then had a down year and jumped ship to go to Arkansas State for one year. So, this is the longest he's been at any one program in his entire college career. And he's been just average. His offenses are inconsistent and seem wholly reliant on one or two phenomenal players (Cam Newton, Nick Marshall, Tre Mason, Kerryon Johnson, etc). And he's yet to truly develop a quarterback. In fact, the longer a quarterback is coached by Malzahn, the worse he seems to get. I dunno. I think Malzahn needs Auburn a whole lot more than Auburn needs Malzahn. He's never going to coach in the NFL and I don't see him coaching at a "better" Power 5 school. Auburn is his ceiling. If he loses the Auburn job, it's back to a Sunbelt or MAC school. He's overpaid, for sure, especially given the results and the talent that he can bring in. I will give him credit in the recruiting department. Despite competing against Georgia, Bama, LSU, Clemson, Florida, Texas A&M, he still gets some good players to come to Auburn. And he's able to put together a pretty good staff. This season is a make-or-break year. He has two fantastic options in quarterback (Nix or Gatewood), he has a great defense, and plenty of talent on offense. The schedule is rough, so I think a 9-3 is reasonable. 8-4 is shaky depending on who he loses to and how badly. Anything under 8-4 is a failure in my mind. Sorry for the long response, but I think that sums up how Auburn feels about Malzahn. I'd also say Georgia fans probably think more highly of Smart than this list indicates. But ... another year without at least making the playoffs and fans may start to have visions of Mark Richt.
As we've seen throughout the country, freshmen quarterbacks are perfectly fine leading teams. We will be fine at linebacker and wide receiver. The schedule is brutal, no question. But what sort of team will take the field under Malzahn ... that's the real question mark. Sure, Malzahn can utterly destroy Purdue in the bowl game, but how will he coach the team this season? As an Auburn fan, that is my biggest worry.
Why are Georgia fans so mad? This doesn't affect Georgia at all. Oh no, you don't play Auburn in November ... how does that affect Georgia's newfound super-duper powerhouse status?
That wouldn't be a bad season at all, though losing to LSU, Florida, and Bama will hurt. Malzahn is coaching for his job this season, no doubt about it. That could be good or bad. Good in that he is more aggressive on offense. Bad in that the second Gatewood/Nix throws an interception, he yanks him and puts the other guy in. Either quarterback can win games ... with the proper coaching. But no offense will work if there is a revolving door at the QB position. I think we beat Oregon and I think we beat them rather convincingly. That will set up high expectations for the season. That LSU game scares me, but so does A&M. Auburn, in recent history, has not had a problem with Florida, but it's a new team down there. So of those three games, I think Auburn drops at least 1, and I think LSU is most likely to beat Auburn. Of course, Auburn could drop 2 of those 3 and also lose to UGA and Bama ... Ugh, hard to say. 9-3 sounds about right, though, and given the schedule that is pretty respectable. Auburn will have played at least 6 ranked teams, including at least 2 teams ranked in the top ten or even top five. To get through that and come out 9-3, Malzahn absolutely keeps his job. But if he goes 7-5 or worse, he's gone.
This list is kind of silly. How is Alabama under pressure to win a championship this year? The 5 championships in the last 10 years aren't doing it for Bama fans? I know some Bama fans are delusional, but most aren't. This isn't a "make or break" year for Saban. Even if Saban didn't win the SEC West, I don't think Saban would find his seat any hotter than it is after winning a championship. He's built enough trust at Alabama to last a while. Ohio State is breaking in a new headcoach. There is a grace period, even at high expectation programs. LSU? Probably not, but maybe. Oklahoma? That fanbase didn't ditch Bob Stoops after laying an egg for so many years ... they aren't going to suddenly change with Lincoln Riley. Those fans are probably content dominating the Big-12. Nah, I think the teams most in need of making the Playoffs (at least from the SEC) are Georgia and Auburn. Getting embarrassed by Texas after all their fans were whining about being left out of the playoffs ... well, that can't happen again for UGA. Smart can recruit. He can win the East. But you gotta admit, he's won the east while most of the east has been a trainwreck. As Florida rebuilds ... as Tennessee (might) rebuild, we'll see what Smart's actually made of. He still has to go through Bama ... and no former assistant of Saban's has ever beaten him... Auburn? With Malzahn's ridiculous contract after 2017, the heat is on for him to produce. Going all out against Purdue was nice ... but the fans need something more than a blowout in a minor bowlgame against a lower-tier big ten team. (Malzahn is 2-4 in post-season games, with wins against Memphis and Purdue). This season is tough as Auburn faces: Oregon, LSU, Florida, Mississippi State, Georgia, and Alabama ... all of which should be ranked teams this year, and all but MSU will likely be top-ten teams at some point or another. Auburn NEEDS to win at least 9 games in order for Malzahn to keep his job and one of those wins needs to be against UGA or Bama.
I think Auburn beats Oregon. Auburn's defense will do enough to keep Oregon's offense from getting in a rhythm and the offense will have the skill players to reach the end zone (or red zone) so that they win by 10. I do think SC wins against UNC. It's likely Memphis does win, but I think the SEC has a dominant opening weekend.
Well, I credit you with sticking to your guns on Malik Willis. You're about the only person who thinks he'll start against Oregon. Nothing against Willis, but it sure seems like Gatewood is the smart choice to start. Let Bo Nix play in a couple of games and then redshirt him and have Willis act as the true backup to Gatewood.
Nah, I thought he would at least be in the 2 deep rotation with Nix. Gatewood needs to be more than a running QB and until this spring that's all we had seen from him. I do think the wise choice is to start Gatewood, use Nix as a back up until SEC play starts and then red shirt Nix unless Gatewood collapsed. Gatewood is much more likely to transfer than Nix. I think Willis will transfer.
I agree. The QB can't/shouldn't be decided in late August. If there isn't a frontrunner at the end of spring camp, it means none of our options are as good as advertised. I feel like it's a lot of pressure to put on Bo Nix, but hey, if he can handle it, by all means.
I think talk of expanding the playoff is inflated. It's a relatively small group of people making a lot of noise. Plus, it gives the media something to fill air time with.
We have a rough schedule next year. We could enter November at 3-5 and ultimately finish 5-7. That would surely get Gus fired. Of course, with our luck, he'll pull off some amazing victories and we'll be stuck with him as the idiots in charge give him yet another extension while Derick Mason ends up going to another program and does very well.
That's why we are doom and gloom: Auburn under Gus has been tepid on player development. The only long-term improvement to the team under Malzahn has been on the defensive side of the ball, but credit goes to Muschamp and Steele.
Now that's a great idea. If he is capable of doing what's he done at Vandy, imagine what he could do at Auburn.
Why is he foolish? Sure, he could go to Georgia ... but like all Georgia teams, he would never win anything.
SDS would be wise to think twice about relying on John Moon as a reliable source. Nothing he has "reported" on has been corroborated by other sources and none of his bombshell reports have panned out. Bob Stoops never was and is not in talks to be the head coach, boosters did not prevent Malzahn from hiring anybody (that was probably the University itself putting the kibosh on hiring a pariah as OC), and there was no change to Malzahn's contract. Obviously, there are problems down on the Plains, but Moon doesn't know what they are.
At this point, I do not trust Malzahn to successfully develop in-house quarterback talent. His best quarterbacks have transferred in (Cam Newton, Nick Marshall, Year one Jarett Stidham). The longer a quarterback stays under Malzahn, the worse he seems to get or at least he doesn't develop further (Nick Marshall year 2, Jeremy Johnson, Sean White, Woody Barrett, John Franklin III, Jarett Stidham year 2) etc. I really do hope that Willis or Gatewood or Nix have enough natural talent that they can play well in spite of Malzahn's tutelage, but I just don't have that amount of faith.
I think he has the raw talent. What he was missing was the development that one would normally get at the college level. Malzahn has never developed a successful quarterback in his college career. His best quarterbacks have been transfers.
Maybe Jalen Hurts goes to Auburn, maybe he doesn't. I doubt it. Rather, it's more likely that Malik Willis or Bo Nix will be taking the snaps next September.
"these two blue bloods have not met since the 1984 Cotton Bowl" Is Georgia really a blue blood? What qualifies a team as blue blood??
Dabo's worst seasons were his first few seasons. Malzahn's worst seasons have been scattered throughout his tenure.
It wasn't his fault. The defense did a pretty good job considering. But when the Auburn offense consistently failed to move the ball, the defense got worn down. Blame Malzahn and his stupid offense. All he had was trick plays. The problem all year--and all of Malzahn's tenure--has been an inability to develop a good offense that doesn't rely on one player (Marshall, Mason, Johnson) or trick plays. His offense has never been tough. You can't rely on trick plays to win big games. And until/unless that offensive philosophy changes. Stidham can and should play better and he has when he's given a chance to do what he does best, which is sling it to his receivers. Instead, we rely on screens and trick plays.
The Texas Bowl has a bigger payout than the Music City or Belk Bowl, so I'm not sure what you're complaining about. Don't just look at the date of the bowl--there are a lot of lower tier bowls played on or around New Years.
None of these are bold. It would be bold to say something like: Bama puts 70 up on Auburn. Auburn won't get 50 yards of rushing. Auburn won't score a touchdown. or even more bold: Gus Malzahn makes halftime adjustments Auburn's offensive line finally comes together. Stidham throws for 3 touchdowns. etc.
We have no run game, our head coach doesn't know how to use his quarterback, and our defensive secondary is shaky. The game is going to be out of reach by about midway through the second quarter. Tua will be able to rest for 2 1/2 quarters (no sense him getting injured). And the best part? We get to do everything exactly the same next year because Malzahn isn't going anywhere and he's a one-trick pony who does not change. Yay!
Hey, just wait for the next highly touted quarterback to start playing. His name is Jeremy Johnson ... I mean John Franklin ... I mean Tyler Queen ... I mean Woody Barret ... I mean Jarrett Stidham ... I mean Joey Gatewood ... I mean Malik Willis ... I mean Cord Sandberg ... I mean Bo Nix. Just around the corner, I tell ya!
Yep, the Belk Bowl sounds about right for us. Given our record against power-5 opponents though, Auburn's gonna lose to NC State.
As an Auburn fan, I only see us winning one more game this year (Liberty). So how do we end up in the Outback Bowl?? We'll be playing a Sun Belt team in the Birmingham Bowl or the Belk Bowl or something...
You're not wrong, but that is the problem ... he has to have the exact personnel on the field for his "system" to even have a chance. His system is a bunch of trick plays and "tempo" and an over-reliance on one or two outstanding players (Cam Newton, Michael Dyer, Nick Marshall, Tre Mason, Kerryon Johnson). A good coach should be able to adapt his system to the players he has. And for what he's getting paid, losing at least 4 games a season (other than 2013) is insane. Now, Auburn hasn't had a coach leave the program of his own free will since before Pat Dye (that's a lot of fired coaches). The problem is the University President pushed for the extension last year because Malzahn's agent (Jimmy Sexton) convinced him that Arkansas was going to steal Malzahn away. The right thing to do there was call the bluff, but they didn't.
There's a difference between being part of the magic and simply being along for the ride. Cam Newton was like winning the lottery. Without him that year, Auburn was at best an 8-4 team. We had an opportunity in 2012 to get a better coach, one with more experience at developing talent (not one who hopped around schools like Malzahn did). But the decision makers wrongly assumed Malzahn was the reason Auburn went undefeated in was Cam.