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Gus Malzahn, the Right Choice to be Auburn’s Head Coach

By on December 5th, 2012 in Football 111 Comments »

                New Auburn Coach Gus Malzahn greets Auburn fans at Auburn Airport

“It’s a new day,” said new Auburn Football Coach Gus Malzahn. “My goal is to get Auburn back to a championship level. Two years ago we won a championship. The expectation at Auburn is to win championships. We are going to do everything in our power to get that done.”

It was that attitude probably more than any thing else that convinced the Auburn Search Committee to unanimously recommend Arthur Gusatvius Malzah III as the 26th Head Football Coach for Auburn University.

Committee member Bo Jackson said it was, “The passion with which he answered questions The gleam in his eye. The tenacity, and the way he explained the things he wanted to do here.”

“In some way, to come into a hornet’s nest like this, and say, hey, my job is to rebuild this program, to get these kids back to the winning ways Auburn fans are used to, that says a lot,” Jackson said.

Nevertheless, there are some fans disappointed this morning. That’s understandable. Many had wanted a bigger name coach. The committee reached out to several of those types but the overtures were not reciprocated and so, of the coaches that were interested, Malzahn was the overwhelming favorite of the committee. 

He may not have been the committee’s first choice but in the end he may have been the right choice. He is noted for being a stickler for details, a hard worker, a great recruiter, and an offensive guru.

Still there were many Auburn fans that had Gus as their first choice. Malzahn was the favorite in  separate polls done by Track ‘Em Tigers and the Opelika Auburn News.

For those who felt under whelmed, this coach comes to Auburn in an entirely different manner than the last one did.

Gene Chizik was the exclusive hire of Athletic Director, Jay Jacobs, whereas this coach was recommended by a committee of three men besides Jacobs.

Although Chizik had an impressive resume as a top assistant, his head coaching experience was a dismal; 5-19 at Iowa State.  Contrast that with the record of Gus” Malzahn who has been a winner at every stop in his career:

* He was a nationally recognized

Arkansas high school coaching legend that took  three different schools to the state championships.

* Then he was hired in 2005 as the Offensive Coordinator at Arkansas where he helped the Razorbacks win the SEC Western Division Championship and was named the National Offensive Coordinator of the Year by

* In  2007 he became the OC at the University of Tulsa. The school had the nation’s No.1 offense and became the first team in NCAA history to have a 5,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard rusher and three 1,000-yard receivers in the same season.

* In 2008, The Golden Hurricane were ranked 2nd in the nation in scoring and finished with the 2nd highest scoring offense in the history of college football. His Tulsa offense was also the nation’s most balanced attack, ranking 5th in the nation in rushing and 9th in passing.

* After taking the OC job at Auburn, Malzahn  improved  Auburn’s 110th place national ranking in scoring the previous season to 17th in 2009 and the Tigers finished 16th in the nation in total offense.

* His first Auburn season broke the Auburn total offense for a season record previously set by the undefeated 2004 team. And the running game finished the season ranked 13th in the nation with 212 yards per game

* He took a Senior quarterback with a bum arm (Chris Todd) and set a single-season touchdown record at Auburn. Todd finished the season with a passer rating of 145.73, ranking him 18th in the nation.

* Of course every one knows what he did in 2010 when he took a juco QB named Cam Newton  and led the Tigers in rolling up the best scoring offense in the SEC, best in total offense, rushing offense, pass efficiency, first downs, and first down conversions on their way to an undefeated season and the school’s first National Championship in 53 years.

* As a result, Gus was awarded the 2010 Broyles Award, recognizing him as the top assistant coach in the nation.

* In 2011, even though the Tigers were in a rebuilding year and had to deal with QB injuries, Auburn still won eight games in a season that was capped off by a 43-21 victory over Virginia in the Chick-fil-a Bowl.

* In 2012, Gus became the Head Coach for  Arkansas State and led his team to the SunBelt Conference Championship and the Go Bowl game.

That brings us to his being hired as Auburn’s new head coach. Auburn found it self in a fix at the end of 2012 . The Tigers were in desperate need of someone who could come in and breathe new life back in a program that had hit record lows.

Someone who knows the players. Someone who has the recruiting connections. Someone  that believes in hard work and discipline. Someone with a proven track record that is not intimidated by any foe – including the one on the other side of the state.

That man is Gus Malzahn. He’s not frightened by the demands of the task. If you saw him at his introductory press conference you got a sense that he is energized by the challenge.

You got to like his up front bold statement that his, “Goal is to get Auburn back to a championship level … to win championships. We are going to do everything in our power to get that done.”

Yes Gus Malzahn  may not have been everyone’s choice. And he may not have been the committee’s first choice but in the end he may prove to have been the right choice.


  1. jwill256 says:

    This should be quite an interesting ride. I do not think Gus will ever be labeled the best HC in the country. I do not think Gus will ever be labeled the worst HC in the country. But the vast majority of that in between good and bad seems possible here. My prediction? I have no idea, none. I doubt it will be boring.

  2. Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing who Gus picks for his staff.

  3. KungFuPanda9 KungFuPanda9 says:

    Gus is creative. He is less wedded to running a “system” and more willing to work with the guys he has. Of all the possible candidates, none of them were as creative as Gus in that regard. His track record speaks for itself.

  4. sullivan013 sullivan013 says:

    I’ll make a prediction.

    You won’t find him doing anything else but driving hard to improve the team. No strip club jaunts with Destiny, no motorcycle rides with assistants, no illicit liaisons with his secretary.

    You wanted a counterweight to the robotic miniature martinet on the other side of the state? You’ve got him – a hard charging, high energy workaholic who only hobby is football and developing young talent in his offensive scheme, either players or assistants.

    Best of all, his schemes seem to work in a variety of venues with all sorts of talent on both his and the opponent’s side of the ball. Say what you like about his offense, but I’ll bet there will be few times when Auburn will lose because they couldn’t move the ball AT ALL in the forth quarter.

  5. Derrick Roberts Derrick Roberts says:

    Great stuff, Aub! I understand why some aren’t thrilled by this hire, but it is what it is. If it weren’t for Chizik’s meddling during the 2011 season, Malzahn’s offense wouldn’t have ever really disappointed while he was in AU and a lot more people would be excited about him coming back,

    I’ve always thought that if any coach in the country could run the HUNH in the SEC and make a living with it, it’s Gus. He’s a verifiable offensive genius. That said, his defensive staff is a very important aspect to this. Gus needs to hire a top-notch DC along with similar guys coaching positions on defense. I fully trust that he will put together an offense that gives us a chance to win every Saturday and then some, but in the SEC you can’t compete without a defense.

    I don’t like be the “prediction guy” but I will say that if Gus can assemble an elite defensive coaching staff Auburn will be hard to beat.

  6. wde1988 wde1988 says:

    I’m not sure if you have seen the videos for the hire with Jacobs… but I was a bit sick at my stomach. You would have thought AU was playing in the National Championship game.

    After the Chizik experiment I remain cautiously optimistic. I am completely underwhelmed at the hire.

    If we are lucky – he can break the funk that has fallen on Auburn. He can get us to be a physical football team again. He can bring in an offensive and defensive staff that can bring AU back to relevance. Hopefully – AU will once again embrace the off season work out mentality that allows us to compete with the big boys of the conference.

    In his three years at AU… the only way AU was able to win was with Cam. Hopefully we have a Cam tree growing somewhere on the plains. Because without it we are going to be mediocre. We will never win a championship.

    I watched the Oregon – ASU game this season for some reason. It wasn’t even a competitive game. Nebraska dominated them too. His only conference loss was WKU (a mediocre subpar team in the conference).

    The question is… will this happen to AU in the fall of 2013?

    You guys dream big for sure… buy your tickets… get your RV space but most importantly spend your money. My only request is to keep your expectations realistic. For those thinking AU will be 12-0 next season… think again.

    As fans, we need to take it one event at a time. First big obstacle is who is on his staff? If it is the same old staff Chizik used… holy crap! Second obstacle is how does he do at recruiting? Don’t expect any change in our mediocrity if we keep doing the same thing…. why? That is the definition of insanity.


    • wde1988 wde1988 says:

      Incidentally, cautiously optimistic = a positive pessimist.



    • mccullars says:

      No one is expecting a 12-0 season, not even an 8-4 season. We’re looking for improvement and the development of a program that allows for future success.

    • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

      I expect 7-8 wins next season. I expect at least a .500 record in SEC play. These are not unreasonable expectations. Just average. Malzahn has succeeded everywhere he has been. I think he will succeed at Auburn. There will be growing pains but I bet we see improvement rather than Chizikesque regression.

      • wde1988 wde1988 says:

        That is reasonable. For sure.

        It might be a stupid question – but – you don’t feel cheated any?


        • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

          I don’t feel cheated at all. Two years ago teams were tripping over each other to sign Malzahn. He hasn’t changed and his offense is as potent as ever.

          I think people questioning the hire thought that Petersen, Patterson, Fisher, or Strong would come in and perform miracles. Sorry to disappoint but it doesn’t work that way. Malzahn is light years ahead those guys because he knows the players, knows the next recruiting class and has relationships with area high school coaches. Petersen and Patterson would have to start from scratch. Fisher is underachieving at FSU and what has Strong really done?

    • Derrick Roberts Derrick Roberts says:

      I think you’re concerns are mostly valid, but you are grossly overstating the confidence of the fanbase at present time. Anyone who thinks we’ll go 12-0 next season or, really, the next is off-base. I am cautiously optimistic, but admit that there are many potential pitfalls.

      And Malzahn’s offense was good without Cam. I don’t know if you were referring to Chizik or Gus only being able to win with Cam, but Malzahn’s offensive prowess cannot be questioned. He’s succeeded at every stop of his career. His offensive was even marginally effective in 2011 with Chizik playing puppeteer.

      With Chizik gone and leaks from the program making statements about how he altered and put his fingerprints on every aspect of it, it’s hard for me to think that he didn’t micro-manage the program into the ground mostly on his own. Sure, other coaches were involved, but what were they to do? Challenge him head-on and lose their jobs?

      Also one detail that stands out to me about the differences of integrity/respect/etc. between Malzahn and Chizik is that one of Auburn’s greatest leaders EVER, Kodi Burns, chose to leave Auburn and follow Malzahn rather than stay in Auburn and continue to contribute to this program.

      As always WDE1988, you bring an interesting perspective to the discussion. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and being frequenting TET. WDE!!!

    • sullivan013 sullivan013 says:

      Then think of it this way: Even if your misgivings are correct, we’ve lost nothing with this hire. If Coach Malzahn fails to deliver or improve, it’s not like we’ve staked a huge salary or extended contract on the man. He’s not likely to have as large a salary as Gene did, nor as big a buyout that a higher profile coach would have demanded prior to stepping off the plane. I suspect he will have huge incentives rather than a boatload of money up front, much like Chizik’s contract early on.

      True, another coaching change would be painful, but how much more painful would it be if AU had payed out a ton of cash to lure someone higher profile and they failed to deliver? The cost of failure in that scenario would be excruciating.

      So are you willing to give him two seasons? I am, even if he shows only moderate improvement next year, I’d still like to see what he can do with the team by 2014.

    • Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

      DUDE! You can NOT recruit the same caliber of players to Arkansas St as you can to Oregon and Nebraska. Nobody at the Oregon schedules ASU imagining a clash of the titans. If you are going to freak out about something, at least make a legitimate argument……

      • wde1988 wde1988 says:

        Just pointing out a fact Totm. No reason to get overly excited.


        • Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

          DUDE! Your expectations are completely out of whack with the reality of the situation, and yet, you still hold it against CGM. While you presented ‘facts’, your analysis of these facts are just ludicrous.

          Dear Magic 8 ball, is Wde 1988 a complete whackaloon? A: ‘Very doubtful’…….lucky for you…..

    • Pine Mt Tiger Pine Mt Tiger says:

      WDE88, I usually appreciate your arguments but to say that Gus only won with Cam is way off base. Auburn surprised everyone in 2009, when Malzahn took a washed up QB that Tuberville had given up on to lead his offense to coming within a few seconds of beating eventual NC Bama, won 8 games and played in a New Year’s Day Bowl game.I grant you 2011’s 8 wins season was not as impressive but by that time Chizik had made him slow down his offense to help the defense.

      • wde1988 wde1988 says:

        Ok, how about this?

        Losses to AUBURN in 2009:

        Arkansas (23-44)
        Kentucky (14-21)
        LSU (10-31)
        UGA (24-31)
        bama (21-26)

        In each loss AU was at least competitve with the exception of Arkansas and LSU.

        Losses to AUBURN in 2011:

        Clemson (24-38)
        Arkansas (14-38)
        LSU (10-48)
        UGA (7-45)
        bama (14-42)

        AU wasn’t competitive in any of the games.

        So explain this to me. He was here. Exactly where am I wrong? Cam is the PRIMARY reason AU won out in 2010. He is the only element that wasn’t here in 2009 and 2011.

        Still, I guess the good news is that we will at least be considered middle teir SEC. We can beat the likes (maybe) of Ole Miss and MSU.

        Don’t worry Pine, you can use your arguement next season too… AU won’t have a QB then either… and the funny thing is that the only one that we do have that is decent is the one that Malzahn didn’t recruit (Wallace).

        God help Malzahn hire excellent coordinators and assistant coaches.


        • Derrick Roberts Derrick Roberts says:

          Simply examining the final scores of our losses in 2011 is not fair in criticizing Malzahn’s offense. By that point, Chizik was elbows deep in the offense trying to slow it down to keep the struggling defense off the field. A defense in which he also highly influenced.

          • wde1988 wde1988 says:

            So by your count, it was all Chizik’s fault.

            I provided TWO years of data… and showed scores. And your answer was he can’t be held accountable for 2011?



  7. wde1988 wde1988 says:

    One last comment that is indirectly related:

    How humiliating is this for Gene Chizik? Hiring the guy that most see as being responsible for AU’s NC? Personally, I can’t imagine the pain that is rampant in the Chizik household. I hope I never have too.

    From a professional standpoint if Malzahn comes in and wins… Chizik is done as a headcoach in football. With the PR coverage he is getting from the likes of Finebaum and Scarbinski… it has to sting a bit. The good news for him and his family is he will be taken care of… thanks to the generosity of Auburn’s blind melon-jellon AD and President.


  8. tigertracker says:

    Someone with time on their hands needs to see how ASU ranked nationally in a few defensive categories last year. I’ll be shocked if Rhett Lashlee isn’t our OC due to his knowledge of playbook. However knowing the book and being good at calling plays to keep your opponent off balance are two different things. I hope he is good at the latter. Does kodi burns come in and take troopers spot at WR coach (currently one year as a GA) or does gus go after some more experience or keep troop?? I think some of the current staff stays, but not all (just my opinion). It wasn’t a sexy splashy hire, but two years ago everyone in the nation was screaming for AU to fire chiz and hire gus. Well now it has happened. Rally time family! Let’s get behind them and get this truck out of the ditch.

  9. domaucan1 domaucan1 says:

    Take note of what Bo said and everyone knows that “Bo knows!” Get on the bus with Gus !!!

    It’s great to be an Auburn Tiger !!!

    WAR EAGLE !!!

    GO BIG BLUE !!!

  10. Col.Angus Col.Angus says:

    Well I vented my spleen last night so I will start today off in full support of CGM.

    That being said it is very dissappointing that we didn’t take more time to look at other candidates. From what I can tell, Malzahn wasn’t on the radar anywhere else so it wasn’t like time was of the essence in hiring him.

    I’m still troubled by the fact that he was a part of the collapse of this team and yet we hire him back as if nothing happened. It still troubles me that when Chizik asked him to adapt his offense to help the team hide some of its weakeness, he either wouldn’t or couldn’t. It still troubles me that aside from 2010, Malzahns offense wasn’t able to beat Arky, LSU, UGA or Bama. I’m still troubled by the fact that he runs a gimmick offense that asks the defense to spend 60% of the game on the field and requires a QB with exceptional playmaking skills to defeat a top ranked defense which we will encounter every other week in the SEC.
    I’m still troubled…but I’m supportive. Go Coach Malzahn….and good luck, you are going to need it.

  11. War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

    Any thoughts on D-Coordinator? Personally I’m hoping for Ellis Johnson.

  12. TigerintheHass TigerintheHass says:

    I’m interested in this part of the post, “Many had wanted a bigger name coach. The committee reached out to several of those types but the overtures were not reciprocated”.

    Is this true? If so, I am NOT surprised. This is a tough job, folks, and I’ve been wondering all along why the “big name” coaches people wanted (Stoops, Fishers (Jeff and Jimbo), Petersen, Patterson, etc.) would want to step into the “hornet’s nest” as Bo calls it, when they obviously already have great jobs. You can’t fault the search committee for not hiring people who apparently wouldn’t even take our calls. They chose the best guy from the bunch that showed interest and I think he is our best shot at a turnaround, and soon.

    I am RELIEVED we did not hire Petrino. While I would have gotten on board with that, the phrase “when you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty” comes to mind. It’s clear the search committee wanted someone to be a positive ambassador for Auburn and I commend them for that. At the end of the day, UK, UT (probably) and Auburn will have passed on Petrino, which says a lot about him.

    One thing I can say is that Gus’s return tells me not to worry too much about the NCAA investigation. If there was something really sinister brewing, as a coach here less than a year ago, he would know.

  13. KoolBell KoolBell says:

    I absolutely loved your post ATM. I mean that!
    Time now for the healing, and support of our players.

    One last thing on this hire. Most of the arguments we heard for Petrino were what was stated about Malzahn. Workaholic, intense at details and what they entail, genius offensive strategy, driven and successful. If you really were in the Bobby Petrino camp, you should be ecstatic about this hire. Malzahn has a much better personality, and thus far, a much better character reference than BP.


  14. Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

    I can’t wait to see who he hires! I’m looking forward to this next adventure in Auburn football! Let’s go!! War Eagle!

  15. MyAuburn myauburn says:

    After an overnight to let this sink in I am actually excited about the Gus Bus parking at JH again. No one, not even Bammer, stops the spread when run correctly. They might slow it down but they don’t stop it. We have the athletes to make it work and now we have the catalyst to drive it.
    I am VERY optimistic about next year. The only question that remains is recruiting and staff hirings. After those I will either be giddy or cautious about my expectations..

  16. Jumpn Jack Flash says:

    Count me among those that are really happy with the hire. I think he was probably the best fit in terms of the players we’ve recruited on offense and for a quick turn around from last season. While he does have the potential to be a bust (but really so does anyone), his ceiling is pretty high. Who knows, he could end up being our version of Spurrier.

  17. SandMountainTiger SandMountainTiger says:

    Ok, I took a night to sleep on the decision before I posted (not that my comments are so well thought out and in any way essential reading), and I’m warming up to the idea of getting back on the Gus Bus. I tend to look at the overall picture, and I can’t really complain about any head coach that AU has had since I was a wee lad. Pat Dye came from Wyoming, and a lot of people said “huh?” The field is now named after him. Terry Bowden came in, and people said “Huh?” He ended up coaching 2 of my favorite teams. Tommy came in to a mixed reaction, and gave us a Decade of dominance over UAT and 6 straight years of getting to laugh at negative Bammer comments. CGC took over and gave us something I’ve been waiting for my whole life. I’ve enjoyed Auburn football for over 30 years. We’ve had ups and downs, and I wouldn’t change a thing (coaches had nothing to do with the voting in 83, 93, and 04).

    The term “Legendary Coach” gets thrown around too liberally in my opinion. We are Auburn, we expect big things, but big things can come from unexpected people. Some of the guys I have mentioned are now “big name coaches,” or referred to as “legendary” in some circles, but they weren’t always. I’m willing to reserve judgement until after a couple of seasons.

    Lets get on the Bus and give him our support. Screaming and crying about how Gus isn’t a big name does nothing but give you something to link years from now if the worst happens and say “I TOLD YOU SO!!!”

    No one will care.

    I will say this (as I have time and time again): The success of our team ebbs and flows from the QB position. After all the speculation over coordinators is over, I think that is where we should concentrate. Is the next big thing already on campus? Or is he somewhere in a high school, waiting for a ticket on the Gus Bus?


  18. mccullars says:

    I was worried that there might have been some bad blood between Gus and Auburn and thus never considered Gus as a possibility. Now that he’s been hired I’m thrilled. I think he will work out well for the team and the Auburn Family. Can’t wait for the Spring game to show my support!!! And then for the 2013 season!!!

    War Eagle!!!

  19. Col.Angus Col.Angus says:

    Auburn becomes the Southern Oregon. Chip Kelly had a similar, although much smaller, mountain to climb, and with the help of Phil Knight, made them a top 10 team.

    Maybe we can get similar support from Under Armor, or Auburn alum and Apple CEO Tim Cook. Maybe, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, we need to get progressive with the uniform and the image of Auburn, make it the ANTI- ALABAMA. the ANTI-Old South. I LOVE Auburn and its traditions but sometimes you need to see that things aint working the way they are and the only way to change is to REALLY Change.

    In the SEC we are just another team trying to compete with Bama, LSU, UGA and Florida. Nothing differentiates us from them. Why would a 5* player go to Auburn over those schools?
    Gus is going to run this program differently. We have chosen to abandon the past. If so, we need to REALLY embrace the future and that means a makover, and an identity change. Its time for a new strategy, new uni’s, and a new culture. Look at what Oregon used to be and what it is now. Night and day. Old >>>New. Stale>>>>Fresh. Boring >>>>Cool.
    Don’t get me wrong, I think Oregon’s uni’s are tacky, gaudy and ugly but everything about Oregon is cutting edge and the kids get that. They are the anti- USC. We need to be the Anti- Bama.

    • Tiger95 says:

      Col., you may just be right. Since it seems we have opted to not win by defense, but by an ultra fast, precision, quick strike offense. You are also right about the unis. Every time my 14 year old son sees Oregon, his eyes light up and I hear, “Aw kewl”! As much as I like all of our traditions, maybe we do need to embrace a few new things to make us different from the rest.

      I am very nervous about what our defense will look like. Although, it has been all but dead the last few years, you have to be able to play some semblance of defense. From his comments, it sounds as if Gus wants to attack on defense, too. I do believe that of all the available coaches, Gus has the most potential to bring the team around quickly because of his familiarity with the players and the lay of the land. I have no doubt we will be able to score and win games, but can he get us to the promised land? We shall see.

      • Tigerstripe Tigerstripe says:

        I agree with an overhaul. My UGA friends picked on me when we did the throw back unis and the only difference was the face mask were orange… “Tone it down Auburn, that’s too sexy”, they said. So let’s go through an image change like my uncle did when he got divorced during his mid-life crisis. Here are some suggestions:
        – One Direction singing the national anthem
        – An occasional orange home jersey
        – Hookah bar outside the stadium
        – Change the “Tiger Prowl” bus to the “Gus Bus” and blare Double Dutch over the speakers
        – Build Aubie a customized chopper and add a zip line so he can enter the stadium with Nova
        – Somehow get Lee Corso on payroll
        – Change helmets and embrace our rival’s ignorance between a mascot and a war cry by putting tiger stripes on one side and eagle wings on the other. (Imagine Cincinnati Bengals and Philadelphia Eagles)
        – Take ‘War Eagle’ of the player’s arses and do not replace with ‘All In’… that might send the wrong message.

    • BigDaddyAU says:

      I like everything you mention EXCEPT the uniform. Auburn has the classiest, sharpest uniforms in football. The color pallette JUMPS out. Auburn is about tradition….you don’t mess with tradition.

      • Col.Angus Col.Angus says:

        I agree with you. I LOOOVE Auburn uni’s. They are CLASSIC.

        That being said, we’ve made our choice to go with Gus, and if that is what we are going to do, I think you have to go full Gus and ride the Crazy train. Its going to have to be ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK, on offense and defense. We are going to need all the skill position players we can get, and skill position players want to look good, they want to style and profile, they want the glamour of being the hottest guy in the coolest place. Guess what Auburn isn’t.

        Trust me, I BLEEEED Orange and Navy, but since we aren’t going to out-Saban, Saban. We need to out flank him and cut the talent off from him and we can’t do that by being the sleepy old southern “Auburn Family”.

        You want to win? You want to beat Saban? Its time to dump tradition and EMBRACE 2012 and run headlong into the unknown!!

        • BigDaddyAU says:

          Everything is fine with all that..cept the uni’s. Don’t “F” with the Uniforms…it’s tacky to me..and stinks of commercialism and desperation.

        • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

          I love our unis too. They are THE best looking uniforms in college football, but I don’t see anything wrong with mixing things up. Under Armor could come up with a good looking alternative uni of some sort. You want something else to attract top recruits? Add some flashy uniforms to the gameday mix.

    • cmatt90 says:

      We don’t need to be the anti-Bama. We need to do the right things and rebuild our program. Over the 20 years before Chizik, we were very comparable with Alabama: it’s just another college down the road. Don’t buy into their hype. We don’t need to be reactionary. I’m afraid that part of the reason we didn’t go with Smart was because he’d be coming from Alabama. That kind of reasoning is old school in the worst ways. Let’s run this program like adults and hire the best people for the job. Oh, and let’s please not get ridiculous uniforms. That’s for schools that have only been playing football for 10 years.

      • Col.Angus Col.Angus says:

        The problem is we weren’t competing against Saban for the last 30 years. Saban is better than Bryant because Saban wins within the rules. He doesn’t have to stockpile 200 kids on scholarship to give himself and unfair advantage.
        At the end of the day we were reactionary, but its done. We aren’t going to play big boy football but we can still win if we get the right players and choke off Sabans talent stream. He’s going to get his no matter what we do but we may be able to get the RIGHT players that can make Malzahn a juggernaut. His system can work but we will have to overwhelm the power of Bama, LSU and UGA with speed and skill. Tuscaloosa aint sexy and Auburn is even less so. If you want to get those skill position players to make a difference, you have change what Auburn means to the kids that are being recruited today.

        It will make anyone over 30 throw up….myself included, but its a change that must be made.

        • BigDaddyAU says:

          I can see them possibly tweaking the uni’s….but I highly doubt that they go all Maryland/Oregon and do all the splashy/fancy crap. Same reason some folks criticize the hiring of Malzahn, the good ole boys still got a finger in the pool and they won’t do that with Uni’s….

          I liked the classic look a few years ago with all whites at home and the white helmet..but that was a throwback uni..not an “all new” deal. Those are fine..but not a complete overhaul.

          And for the record my kids hate all the Oregon uniforms…they say it’s a huge distraction..ala the blue turf at Boise State.

          • Col.Angus Col.Angus says:

            Ooooh, thats a thought. Burnt orange or navy turf!!

            And by the way, I do think we are desperate.

  20. KevinATL KevinATL says:

    I always hope for the best, and I see a lot of this in these postings. Lets, for one moment, be honest. This was a medicore hire. Bascially, we have what we had for the last four years. Yay? One of those years we did win a NC, and Gus was way more of a factor than Cam. BUT…

    I cannot be convinced that AU wanted Smart more, and that Gus was not our first choice. The media reports all but back this up. According to Scarb’s article today, Smart was very serious about coming. He has two championships at Bama, and will have a third in Jan. We play in the SEC, where defense usually rules. Look at the best teams in the SEC, now GA, BAMA, LSU, SC all play mean defense. We could have hired a head coach that was/is part of 3 championship seasons, instead of an OC with one, and one years experience. Plus, after this HORRIBLE season, and our players HORRIBLE fundamentals, we will be keeping several of the same coaches. And we still have the same AD ( who is so horrible at his job, that a committee has to be brought in to make sure he does not screw up).

    So we are left to “support the coach” and be “All In”. I wish for once the AU good ole’ boy network would realize that we will never compete yearly for championships when we look to the past to frame the future.

    Applause to Ark. for their hire. Experienced head coach, proven winner. Same AD that hired him, fired Bobby P. knowing how good of a coach he was losing. That is a great AD. So is Mal Moore.

    We still have Jay Jacobs.

    When I think about my love for AU football, I think of the George Strait song, ” I know she still loves me, but I don’t think she likes me anymore”. Exactly the way I feel about being an Auburn tiger right now. I love my team, and will remain loyal, but I think we are as backwards, small minded, good ole’ boy obsessed program as the rest of the country thinks we are, and we just proved it with this hire.

    • tigrrr tigrrr says:

      The old school is packaging defensive alignments per play, and changing between plays. That is what the teams you list do. That is the Kirby Smart method.

      What beats them is the up tempo no chance to substitute New School method employed by the likes of Texas A & M. That is the Gus Malzahn method.

      The forward pass at one time was considered radical. Now its mainstream. The spread will be as well, because it cannot be defended. It will not be included whole hog, but parts of it will be.

      As a history student I turn to the English naval victory ofver the Spanish Armada. The Spanish had big heavy highly armed galleons and were massed along the English coast ready to run interference for a Spanish invasion of England. The lighter faster English fleet ran all around them, and in between, and defeated them.

      This is the New School vs. the Old School, and we have the master of the New School, not a remnant of the Old School.

      I am very happy with this hire.

      • cmatt90 says:

        Ole Miss also runs the spread. How’s that working out? The spread works if you have an excellent QB (both talented and intelligent enough to make quick reads). Those don’t come around often, and they’re hard to spot before you get them on to the college field (see Kiehl Frazier experiment). Other than Auburn (playing with possibly the best college QB in history), name the last spread offense that won a national or SEC championship?

        The spread isn’t new, and as Oregon makes clear year after year, the spread simply isn’t consistently effective against top notch defenses.

        • War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

          Texas 2005, Florida during their two runs. The spread can be very effective.

          • cmatt90 says:

            Texas didn’t run a spread. Sure, they had a QB that could run, but they ran a pretty traditional offense. I see absolutely no evidence that the spread offense is the future. Every once in a while a spread team will land a Newton or a Manzeil or a Vince Young and be competitive. But you can’t consistently get guys like that.

          • War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

            I disagree, Texas did run a spread, not the HUNH version but the spread nonetheless.

    • cmatt90 says:

      Preach on Kevin — I agree completely (except that Cam was way more of a factor than Gus in our NC). The top teams in the SEC are built around rock solid defense. They always have been, and always will be. That’s what Kirby Smart knows, coaching what I consider to be the best defense in the country the past few years.

      I hope Malzahn works out, but his record at major programs without Cam Newton is pretty ordinary in my opinion. His big accomplishment at AR State was to win exactly the same number of games that team won the year before. 9-3 is nothing to sneeze at, but let’s not act like he saved a dying team.

      This is a good ole boy short-sighted hire. I hate to say it, because like all Auburn fans I love Bo Jackson, but he has no business being a primary decision-maker for a big time football program. He was a great running back, possibly the best ever. But he’s not a coach or an AD, we shouldn’t be listening to him any more than fat cat boosters. We should have had one thing in mind in this search: Who’s the best football coach available that will take this job. To me, that was Kirby Smart or, to a lesser extent, Strong from Loiusville.

      Here’s a nugget for thought: If Malzahn is so good, wouldn’t SOME other school have been talking to him this year? Did you hear his name come up for the AR job? Tennessee? ANYWHERE else?

      I’m not writing off the hire yet — but Malzahn is just a bilnd roll of the dice. The right first move for Malzahn is to really give some deep thought to who the DC is going to be. A good hire there might give me some more confidence.

      WAR EAGLE!

      • BigDaddyAU says:

        CGM’s record at the college record is 9-3. Any past records belong to the Head Coach that year. I venture to say while he was at Auburn he did not have 100% complete control over offense and defense so to try to inflate or deflate his record is moot.

        I think given what little info I know that Auburn got the best hire it could from the pool of potential candidates that were interested..I say interested because the Patterson’s/Peterson’s etc may not have had reciprocal interest.

        • cmatt90 says:

          Fair point. But AR state was 10-2 the year before Malzahn got there. So again, not sure we should be too excited by one 9-3 season at AR State.

    • Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

      I dislike comparing ourselves to anyone else, but the Bret Bielema hire is particularly curious. Personally, I wouldn’t want him at Auburn.

      Yes, he can make other coaches cry (Minnesota, looking at you), BUT At Wisconsin, he is 0.5 against the heavy hitters in the conference. He wilts in close or overtime games, losing 3 this year in OT. Now he is coming to the toughest conference in the nation and going to one of the tougher places to coach at, and they are expecting success….seems like a tall order to me.

      • War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

        Plus they got whooped by TCU. The Big Ten is fools gold, just look how easily Urban went undefeated in that league with his beleaguered/sanctioned team.

      • wde1988 wde1988 says:

        Well, surprisingly the jury is still out on that… would he have been my first choice? No.

        But he was a better selection that Gus Malzahn. Arkansas hit that hire out of the park in my opinion.

        A coup for the SEC… a death knell for the big ten.

        That said… it’s what he and Malzahn do next that matters most.


  21. WDCivilEng says:

    Keys questions that will determine Gus’ degree of success, IMHO:

    1. Can he provide the necessary stern team discipline that is currently not present?
    2. While maintaining that time-consuming technical involvement in his offensive philosophy, can he hire the correct coordinators (especially a successful DC who will get the job done without any Malzahn hands-on involvement), tell the meddling powers to stay away, and provide overall sound team management.
    3. Can he develop a quaterback who will allow for, at least, two years of continuity at that position?

    War Eagle

  22. MyAuburn myauburn says:

    Has anyone heard whether Gus will set up office now or stay at Arky St through bowl game. Their game is a month away.

    • DothanTiger DothanTiger says:

      Last night he told reporters that he would have to talk with ASU administration about the bowl game but that he was committed to doing all he needs to do to get the program moving at Auburn. So that sounds like he plans on doing double duty for a month.

      • Todd92 Todd92 says:

        If AU let’s him coach ASUs bowl game I’ll be doubly pissed….. That was supposedly one of the major sticking points with Smart, he wanted to coach in the NC Game. Not only that but Malzahn is AU’s HC now and he needs to devote his undivided attention to recruiting and our program.

        I’m on the Gus bus for better or worse now.

  23. rn4au rn4au says:

    I have always wondered what we really could have accomplished if we had had the OLD Auburn defense while Gus was with us… We may be about to find out! WAR EAGLE and I am excited about what is to come! You can sit and analyze the negative all day and it won’t make what is about to happen any better or worse. The truth is, Gus can just as easily by the next big thing in coaching as he is a mediocre hire.
    None of us know what the future will bring and none of us were in the interviews that led to this decision. I am confident that what I am hearing is truth, he was optimistic and motivated in the interview and was excited about his SPECIFIC plan to bring us back to a national championship. Heck look at his full name….Arthur Gusatvious Malzahn III, his name even sounds like a mad offensive scientist! He loves Auburn, I don’t think anyone can argue that point. His morales are above reproach. He is said to have a workaholic mentality and is stern in discipline. And whether you like or dislike the hire, you have to admit that the possibility is there that he could turn us into something great! I for one am excited. I think this is 100% the best decision we could have made. Now…. I just want to see what kind of cast he surrounds himself with. I for one think the first piece of the puzzle is in place.

    • mccullars says:

      I hear that Gus is interviewing Ellis Johnson for defensive coordinator which would be a major improvement.

    • KevinATL KevinATL says:

      He loved Ark. State one week ago. Saban loves Bama cause he has about 5 million reasons to. I hate to be cynical, but someone “loving the school” is not the reality today. Ironically, I do think that Chizik did and does love Auburn, with all his heart. But he sucked. Think Belema ( spelling? ) from Wisconsin likes Ark? Think he has ever even been there?

      AUBURN FAMILY- We are the GOP of college football. We must evolve or get eaten.

  24. KevinATL KevinATL says:

    Apparently Smart was our choice ( according to the Scarb, who famiously is in the know days/weeks after an event occurs). The reason we did not hire him was 1.) Wanted full exposure of the NCAA investigation and possible sanctions facing the program. 2.) complete control of hiring and firing of the head coach. 3.) Wanted to still be able to coach Bama in the NCG.

    Auburn was not willing to give him this. 1.) Any coach should / MUST know of any impeeding NCAA violations. That is huge. 2.) Anyone surprised that AU folks didn’t want to give over total control ( why I knew we would never land a huge hire). 3.) I would not respect anyone who would not coach their team in a bowl game after working so hard with them all year long.

    So basically, we really like/wanted Smart. We didn’t want to wait and let him finish out.

    We had the opportunity to have a radical change of staff, new thought and football philosphy. We chose the easy hire.

    • War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

      Smart might have worked out fine, but he easily could have been our version of Ed Orgeron, or another Chizik (they have VERY similar credentials on the coordinator side). I would have been okay with him, but it’s not like he was guaranteed to be Saban, or even a Chizik for that matter.

      • Todd92 Todd92 says:

        When’s the last time Smart was arrested for DUI or domestic violence? Ok so maybe he wouldn’t be like Orgeron….. And Orgeron was never the next big head coach waiting to be hired. There are certainly risks with hiring anyone for their first HC gig and that can’t be argued but I would more closely associate Smart with Muschamp due to background and career path. I’m on the bus but I would have rather have gotten a bigger name with all the control on them but I’m a tiger for life and I do like Gus and never had a problem with him or his offense except when Chizik put the brakes on it in 2011.

        • War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

          Touche’ on the Orgeron point.

          • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

            ……Jacobs could not afford to have Smart and have to wait for Smart to recruit some Terrence Cody’s for the D-line. Another losing season, and Jacobs will likely be the man to take the fall for it. Jacobs needed someone likely to win immediately.

          • War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

            Even Saban has to recruit WORLD WIDE (see Jesse Williams: Australia) to find decent nose tackles. I’m not sure we as a fan base could have handled tracking that many flight tail numbers . . .

    • tigertracker says:

      Do you think they should have shared #1 with smart? That’s a chicken/egg scenario. I mean you’d have to REALLY and I mean REALLY think that smart would take the job to share that…otherwise you just handed your chief rival some really juicy info for the recruiting trail. By the same token I absolutely understand him wanting to know EXACTLY what he might be walking into. Smart may be a stand up guy, but because he works at tuscaloosa he cannot be trusted to keep his mouth shut in the event he didn’t want the job afterward or they just couldn’t come to terms. Maybe in another time and another place, but for now we ride the Gus Bus.

  25. rn4au rn4au says:

    We will know soon enough if Smart would have been a good choice or not. He will not be at Bama much longer if he wants a HC position. I for one will be interested to see how this develops, just because you are a great assistant does not mean you will be a great head coach. I’m not knocking Smart I think he is an up and coming coach, just that I can’t really say that I blame Auburn for not wanting to hand over details regarding what is happening at our school to the enemy camp. Plus I heard he was cocky as hell in the interview, (have no idea if this is true or not), all the same I would rather let Bama corner the market on cocky. If we wanted an Ass we could have just settled for Petrino.

  26. autigerintn69 says:

    Time will tell but personally, this move makes me very happy! Gus Malzahn has a proven record everywhere he has been and his time previously at Auburn was fantastic. I hear some people are underwhelmed – but who would you have preferred? Smart would not have been a smart move. He coached at LSU (under Saban), he coached at Miami (under Saban), he coached at Alabama (under Saban). Is he calling the shots or is Saban. Not to mention no head coaching experience at all.

    Gus is the Man! War Eagle!

  27. Frank Drackman says:

    BCS Champs 2013!!!!!!!!!!
    OK, probably 2014 is more realistic.
    For Jehovah’s sake though, get someone who can teach tacklin’
    and blocking..
    and bein a good citizen, although I don’t mind a few Nick Fairley’s,
    Nome Sane????
    and as long as chop blocks are Legal, chop away,

    Frank “Just Win Baby” Drackman

  28. War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

    FYI, AuburnUndercover is reporting that AU has indeed offered Ellis Johnson the D-Coordinator position. I think he’d do well, hope he accepts (if the story is true).

  29. spanky says:

    I’m not buying all the arguments in favor of Smart because he’s a great DC. Once a guy becomes a head coach I think all of their accomplishments as a coordinator go out the door. It’s a different beast. Chizik was a great DC. Got hired and then the defense went to crap. Ellis Johnson good as a dc crap as a HC. I think the important thing to grasp from this is that the determination of a good HC is in who and how they get and manage as their coordinators and staff. Malzahn was a great OC, and it seems that translated as a HC, but that was because he took his protege with him ARK ST to run the offense. As a head coach it’s about policy and management.

    • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

      …..Ellis is one of those “my way or the highway” guys. He wanted to totally change Fedora’s system, and tore everything down at USM. The folks in Hattiesburg don’t suffer 0-12 seasons as a price of progress, and good for them!

      …..And folks… we watched his system give up 91 points to Gus’ offense in 2010, too. First appearance was getting run over while sitting back in cover two. Second time in the spotlight in the Georgia Dome, they tried to spy Cam Newton, and blitz like crazy. Neither time did Johnson show any flexibility or adjust his schemes.

      …..Frankly, I’d worry about him being hired at Auburn.

      • rn4au rn4au says:

        I can understand wanting that kind of mindset though, if we are trying to correct discipline problems we would want a strong personality with a my way or the highway mentality. I am a little concerned about the points he gave up to us…yet his D at SC finished top 15 nationally 3 of his 4 years there and was 4th nationally in 2011. I hope if he is our pick that he can bring back the old Auburn D. I remember days when we were much stronger on D and couldnt get anything going on O! My dream is to finally pair the two together.. wouldnt that be something to see!

      • wde1988 wde1988 says:


        During his term in 2010… did he have Javon Clowny?

        Just curious.


        • rn4au rn4au says:

          Ellis is not only a great coach; he was also one of our best recruiters. He took the lead on the number one prospect in the country, Jadevon Clowney, last year. He was the lead man and we got it done.” – Steve Spurrier…

          So yea, Clowny was there…

          • wde1988 wde1988 says:

            Again, RN4au, I think the point Acid was making and the reason for my post was that in 2010 AU ran and passed all over the gamecocks.

            Jadeveon Clowney is only a sophmore.

            So no… Clowney wasn’t there. That was the point of the post.


          • wde1988 wde1988 says:

            Further… I do not doubt his ability to be a coordinator.

            However I would point out that he went 0-12 at USM as a head coach…

            Still – I think I could get behind his being hired. And from what someone else posted tonight… I think he is our new DC.


      • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

        How did his defenses do against UGA, UF, UT, UAT, etc.? Once Chizik and Malzahn finally turned Cam loose, no defense faired very well vs. AU.

  30. auburnelvis says:

    I was under the impression that Guz is who persuaded Chiz to sign Cam Newton!

  31. Tiger Walker Tiger Walker says:

    I heard to day that Gus has a QB that’s a lot like cam, and manziel that will sign with Auburn on signing day

    • wde1988 wde1988 says:

      Yeah… I heard this one before.

      Is his name Kheil Frazier?



      • rn4au rn4au says:

        There goes that benefit of the doubt thing again 🙂

        • wde1988 wde1988 says:

          No, there goes the punch line of the joke.

          And for your information I think anyone that watched AU football this season noticed the Frazier isn’t what he was made out to be.

          And who recruited him again?

          Still, he might be better now that his mentor is back? Again… I am sure you are correct… it was all Chizik’s fault anyway. Right?



          • rn4au rn4au says:

            Geez Lueez Dude… You are all about arguing the negative aren’t you? Have you ever had ANYTHING nice to say??? What are you a lawyer or something?? You know they make medicine for this kind of thing don’t you? 😉

          • wde1988 wde1988 says:

            Hey, bro… you are the one with the cutting wit.



  32. jstrib jstrib says:

    Reported by Phillip Marshall….Ellis Johnson accepts terms to become AU DC coordinator!!!!! I think this is a great hire by Coach Malzahn. If CEJ can hold our opponents to less than 24 a game then we should be in good shape.

  33. almightytmc1 says:

    On one hand Auburn is loaded with spread type players. That is a bonus. These players know Gus Malzahn and I suppose it gives some continuity to the program. But those are really the only good things I see in the hire.

    1. Other than Chizik being gone, nothing has changed. What’s more, I dont see much changing. I could be wrong but in 2 months we can all look back and see if their have been any significant changes in assistants. Loefler is going to be gone. But I dont see anyone else leaving. If this were a poker game Malzahn will need a new hand. There is no way he can win with the hand that Chizik was holding. But does Malzahn have the authority/ability to reshuffle the deck? My guess is no.
    2. Also (sticking out like a sore thumb), is the significant drop off in offensive production between 2010 and 2011. It was not all in Cam Newton leaving. Lets be real. By 2011 most of the premier programs in the SEC had seen enough of Gus’s trick bag, and figured out ways to exploit it.
    3. too many people pointed at Chizik as being the responsible party. During this last season, why werent the position coaches actually teaching the most fundamental things most players can do? The overall level of confusion and missed assignments, tackles, blocks, reads, catches….etc..etc.. was sickening to watch. A lot of that blame needs to land squarely on the shoulders of the position coaches. I can understand a player being confused by a scheme. What I cant understand are players who stop running the instant the play looks like it is more than 5 yards away. OLs, getting stood up straight at the point of attack. DLs and LBs with no gap discipline. Half hearted blocking and tackling.
    If CGM does not clean house. It will be the same thing all over again.
    As Auburn fans, you guys need to start the process of replacing J. Jacobs now. Because maybe a good A.D. can give Gus the back up he needs to be successful.

    • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

      As of this morning, it looks like Malzahn is not going to retain anyone from the Chizik staff.

  34. almightytmc1 says:

    Evidently he IS really smart. Thats the best move he could have made. Who knows maybe Gus is the guy to bring Auburn back.

    • War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

      Am I on the right site? Almightytmc1 positive?? And they say Bielema to Arky was a shocker . . .