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Did We Make the Right Choice?

By on December 10th, 2012 in Member Post 13 Comments »

Now that it has been several days after the hiring of Gus Malzahn, I thought it would be interesting to second guess our decision.  Heck, if things go south we are going to do it anyway. We might as well get a head start.  Let’s look at who was on our list of “targets”, talk about where they went and what we can expect as a result of our decision:

Here is the list that AU was considering:

  • Willie Taggart – When his name was mentioned most folks scoffed. They didn’t think Taggart had the tools necessary to lead Auburn. I am not sure if he was ever interviewed… and more than likely he wasn’t. Still, someone knew quality when they saw it. Willie eventually took the job at University of Southern Florida and replaced Skip Holtz. It was a much better fit for him considering he is from there anyway. I think he beats Tommy T regularly at Cinci. But that is just me
  • James Franklin- Coach Franklin came in his second year and once again proved that he could compete in the SEC at a school like Vandy.  I am not sure he was interviewed either. He was a worthy look, but evidently decided to stay at Vandy with a contract extension and a raise. Enjoy that while it lasts.
  • Kirby Smart – Stayed at Alabama as the defensive coordinator. Some said he was too cocky for his own good. I am not sure how he acted during his interview. But I know he was interviewed. I think he would have done fine at AU. But ultimately he wants to be at UGA so this was probably for the best that it didn’t work out. Unfortunately for Kirby, I think that job is still a ways off. Sorry Kirby. For now, you will be like Bud Foster at Virginia Tech. Just remember, if you stay too long, that can backfire on you too if you aren’t careful
  • Bobby Petrino – Still unemployed.  And he got his 15 minute phone call that was an “interview”. My opinion:  it was a one way conversation with him being the listener. Still, his brother got hired by Idaho so the Petrino name is still ok. Regardless, Bobby is still looking. Last I heard he was considering ASU.  Of course, that is after Kentucky, Auburn and Tennessee all got filled by other people.  Who says it’s ok to cheat on your spouse and give your lover a part time job? Some things matter in the South. I am not saying he will stay this way for long… but right now Petrino is still damaged goods. When you say his name, most folks remember the neck brace and scratched up face…
  • Bo Pelini – Bo stayed at Nebraska. I am not sure if he was even interviewed. I am not sure what is going on with this angry man. He obviously isn’t happy at Nebraska. But I do think he could be a great coach one day. Still, if he isn’t careful, the villagers are going to see through the curtain. Best advice… don’t pull a Tommy Tuberville.  Stay committed to your school and don’t seem interested in others until you are ready to move.  Folks eventually get tired of hearing that you’re not happy.  
  • Gary Patterson – Stayed at TCU. I think he was interviewed, but I don’t think he was actually offered the job. Still, considering his age, I wonder if ego played a role in his decision and ultimate outcome. Maybe he doesn’t want to risk damaging his reputation if he can help it. No sense in competing against the likes of Saban and Miles if you don’t have too…. just ask Urban Meyer.
  • Jimbo Fisher – Stayed at FSU. I am not sure he was even interviewed.  I’m thinking a pay raise was the reason he was on the list.  But maybe it was ego too. We wish Jimbo best of luck.
  • Mike Gundy – Stayed at OK ST. I don’t think he was even open to a change.  Enjoy what’s left of the big twelve Mik
  • Chris Peterson – Stayed at Boise State. This is the second time he has shown no interest in the SEC. I think he needs to stay at Boise. He seems happy there.
  • Charlie Strong – Stayed at Louisville. This one was funny though. He threw a fit about AU when asked if he had been interviewed. And I do think that happened.  Still, AU never offered him the job.   And later, he eventually turned down UT. Have fun in the ACC Charlie. I think you stay there for awhile.

Looking at the schools in the SEC that had openings other than Auburn:

  • University of Kentucky: At first, this school was being “considered” by Bobby Petrino.  Eventually it settled on Mark Stoops.  Stoops has a prominent family name in college football and is considered current royalty considering his older brother Bob is head coach at Oklahoma. Still haven’t heard who he picked for his staff. Do you think UK did ok
  • University of Arkansas: Names were being floated everywhere. I even heard dare I say it, Tommy Tuberville’s name mentioned for this position.  But yet Arkansas picked someone that nobody else considered. Brett Bielema from Wisconsin.  Still don’t know who is on his staff.  But do you think he can pull off this huge change in environment – coming from Big Ten land to the SEC
  • University of Tennessee: Hired Butch Jones from the University of Cincinnati. He has the resume but can he pull off the impossible?  Do you know what it is going to cost UT to buy out Derrick Dooley? I have read where Dooley ‘s contract was $5M through 2017.  Add to that Jones had a buy out from Cinci of nearly $1.4M. Now, who is he getting for his staff? Can UT even afford them? Do you remember who was “offered” this job? Gruden, Gundy, & Strong and still no one took it. This is the definition of a shotgun wedding if I ever heard one. Holy crap it was expensive.   I know there are folks who think that UT’s program is a profitable one… after looking at the financials… I am not so sure. What do you think? 

Looking back, all in all, I think AU had plenty to choose from. I remember the last time with Chizik’s hire… I was left with thinking that AU settled for Chizik. And we probably did. However,  Chizik’s winning the National Championship changed the way coaches looked at Auburn I believe.  AU proves that you can win against the likes of bama and LSU and UGAs and UFs. We fans already knew this… but 2010 season proved it once and for all.

Did we pick the right guy?  Did AU make the right move with Coach Malzahn?  We are still watching him fill out his staff.  He’s not done yet.  But so far, his words and actions seem to be synchronized.  And he has hit the ground running on recruiting.  I think things are on the rise at AU…. What say you?

Looking at the other competition in the SEC that needed coaches, how did AU do in comparison?  I would love to get your views. Besides, I think it is healthy to get these things out for discussion.

If you think AU made a mistake, or if you think our other bretheren schools made a mistake, tell me who do you think would have made the best fit.




  1. Malakai Malakai says:

    Well, firstly we can judge him on recruiting. It’s a long time till September so that’s really the only thing we can go on.

    • Malakai Malakai says:

      Oh, and I think we got the best coach for the personnel we have at Auburn. It may turn out that Gus doesn’t have what it takes, or that AU as a team has gone in the wrong direction philosophically on recruiting and offense, but as many others have said Malzahn probably gives Auburn the best chance for a faster turn around. Now if it’s a turn towards mediocrity or a turn towards a championship level, THAT is the question.

      Interested to watch Arky next year to see what Bielema does.

  2. Col.Angus Col.Angus says:

    Too early to tell mostly because Malzahn has too much of Chiziks stench on him to be objective. We will know about 6 games in whether Malzahn was right for us or not. We will have had 5 home games, including Wash St. Arky State, and the Mississippi schools, an open date and one roadie to Death Valley. If we are 2-4 or worse, we definitely made the wrong hire.
    The offense is essentially full of his recruits and we will win or lose based on what they do. I’ve given up hope that we will ever play REAL defense again. For us to be a championship program again, Malzahn will need to be the offensive version of Nick Saban, which he may well be….but that also means I will need to see SERIOUS discipline instituted though. Every game should be “60 minutes of Hell”, attacking for 58:30 on both sides of the ball, until we go into victory formation. I don’t care if we give up 59 points a game as long as we score 60.

    • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

      I think we are going to like the product that Johnson and Harbison will put on the field next fall.

  3. Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

    I honestly think we got the best person for the job. Every move he has made so far leads me to believe that he will be successful. Are any of the other “candidates” you listed better coaches? I doubt better, but more experienced, yes. At the end of the day however, Gus Malzahn appears to relish the challenge that the SEC West presents. The only real question I had about Malzahn was “Will he put a decent defense on the field?” Preliminary indications are… YES. I have no doubt that under his watch Auburn will score lots of points. Will Gus turn out to be a good head coach? He’s off to a good start but we really won’t know until about a football season and a half from now.

  4. wde1988 wde1988 says:

    Incidentally, it’s being reported that Bobby Petrino is no longer unemployed.

    He is now employed by… Western Ketucky Hilltoppers. He is replacing Willie Taggart.

    Oh, how far we have fallen Bobby.


  5. AUwaterboy AUwaterboy says:

    List missing Clemson’s Chad Morris? Didn’t he actually get an interview?

  6. DBAU81 says:

    Time will tell about Gus. This coming year, I will be looking more at the attitude of the team and how it plays than at the won-loss record. If we can see signs of a real culture change within the program – namely, that Gus and his staff have instilled the values of hard work, discipline, and accountability – then we will have reason to be optimistic. As an example, I was in school during the Barfield era. Those teams had some talent, especially on offense, but there was always something lacking. Then I attended Coach Dye’s first game against TCU in 1981 and it was obvious right away that Auburn was playing with an entirely different mindset. That team won only five games but everyone paying attention could see that good things were on the horizon. I hope we get the same kind of feeling from watching the 2013 Auburn Tigers regardless of how many games we win or lose.

    • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

      I remember Ron Oneal running over a loudmouth TCU linebacker during that game

      • DBAU81 says:

        I remember that too. O’Neal looked like a star in the making that first game but never really panned out. Then some new guy came in the next year and stole the limelight…I think his name was Bo something or other…..???

  7. soxpatch says:

    I feel really good about Gus. He has hit the ground running and doing the things necessary to get the program started in the right direction. Being optimistic I am thinking of a 6-7 win season next year and we may even do a little better. I think Johnson was a good hire as was the Clemson asst. It’s good to see Russell and the “new” GA back in Auburn also. Gus is doing his best to keep a good recruiting class together and he’s also bringing in some additional talent…Overall I would give him an A+.

  8. Malakai Malakai says:

    He’s talked to Foster, and Foster seems open to coming back. Dee Liner’s interview yesterday said he hadn’t talked to Gus and really wanted to stay off the topic. February signing day will be interesting. If we can’t get some line backers we will NEED an incredible offense to have a hope of winning next year.