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Here Comes the BOOM! Ready Or Not!

Gus Bus Ticket

And the beat goes on. For all intents and purposes, Auburn should have been largely out of the spotlight on National Signing Day 2013. Two consecutive disappointing seasons, a new coaching staff, and battling the most formidable in-state rival of any college football program were all reason enough individually for the Tigers to sign a less than stellar 2013 class. Enter Gus Malzahn.

Ole Miss shared ‘media-darling’ duties with Alabama for much of ESPN’s signing day coverage, and the Rebels did have a fantastic haul. Despite that, it is Ole Miss’ first class in a long time of any great significance to the balance of power in the SEC West. Texas A&M also brought in an impressive group of players thanks in large part to their outstanding inaugural season in the SEC that featured an upset-win over Alabama in Tuscaloosa. LSU and Alabama both continued their recruiting success with Alabama again grabbing the nation’s number one class. Only one other school in the SEC West can make the case for having kept up in recruiting with LSU and Alabama, and that school is Auburn.

Getting defensive. Long time commit Carl Lawson, along with signing day surprises Montravius Adams and Elijah Daniel, round out an exceptional defensive linemen class that also includes 4-star defensive-tackle Ben Bradley. This group has a chance to be very special. Competition is always a good thing and these guys will provide a serious spark to the current group of defensive linemen.

Quarterbacks Everywhere! Jonathan Wallace, Jeremy Johnson, Nick Marshall, and Kiehl Frazier. The annual Auburn quarterback controversy starts early this year. The competition should be fierce among this group.

These guys are good too. While the class lacked a little defensive punch to me (minus the d-line signees) I think Gus did a great job of addressing team needs and snagging some playmaking talent. Look for Tony Stevens, Peyton Barber, and Marcus Davis to possibly have early impacts on offense. Overall I think the coaches did a great job considering the time-frame and competition they were up against.

In all fairness, Auburn’s recruiting classes of years past combined with this one do not warrant a direct comparison to the likes of LSU and Alabama at present time, but to pretend or conveniently forget that Auburn has a wealth of talent on its roster is a mistake. It is undeniable that most of the players brought in under Gene Chizik were under-developed, but their athletic ability didn’t leave town with the previous coaching regime. Buying in to Malzahn’s new program will be a difficult sell for many of them, but the rewards could be substantial. As it stands right now, Auburn is getting what it deserves in the perception department. Respect and recognition are earned on the field and extenuating circumstances rarely matter.

Despite all of that, the Auburn Tigers have the best chance to be the breakout team in 2013. Not Ole Miss, not Mississippi St. (as they have been promised to be every year under Mullen), and not Arkansas. Gus Malzahn certainly has his hands full, but he’s proven to be more than capable thus far. I believe that come September, Auburn’s opponents will have their hands full as well. 

21 Comments

  1. mikeautiger says:

    Like the positive tone of this article. We did get some respect nationally for a change. We will be back and with this recruiting win I think it will be more sooner than later.

  2. KoolBell KoolBell says:

    Among the QB’s you left out Jason Smith. At 6’1″ and 187 lbs. with sub 4.5 speed, he is the perfect storm at QB for this offense. My pick as the favorite going into the spring is Jonathan Wallace because of the experience, and maturity he has shown while on campus. He will not be out worked at this position. If he does not win the job, then whoever does is really something special.

    Gus and company getting 2 LB’s and 4 DB’s are enough to help these two areas. Remember that only two true LB’s will play at a time in Coach Johnson’s “D” and 5 DB’s.

    Really enjoyed the post, and truly love the bus ticket. Mine is already punched for the full trip!

    WAR EAGLE!

  3. Tigerstripe Tigerstripe says:

    Punched my ticket for A-Day this year. Apparently, it will be the last chance to roll our beloved trees.

  4. War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

    Here’s to a quick 3-0 start next sesson (Wash. St., Ark. St., and MSST), upon getting that momentum the only thing rolling in this state will be the Gus Bus. War Eagle!!

  5. War Eagle Girl War Eagle Girl says:

    I am now not referring to the Gus Bus anymore. I am now punching my ticket on the High Speed Train called Gus. Buses are too slow compared to the “Bullet” train although I don’t want to use that word after all we’ve been through. I am so impressed with this guy’s work ethic. And he seems like a nice guy too! Well, I’ve seen that story and I hope this one ends differently…… ;)

    • sullivan013 sullivan013 says:

      The only Gus who moved faster than Malzahn had the last name of Grissom. All in all, it looks like Coach Malzahn has ‘The Right Stuff’.

      On to the moon. The War Damn Eagle has landed!

    • War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

      AirGus A380.

  6. domaucan1 domaucan1 says:

    We’re trying to plan a Louisiana contingent trip to the Lovliest Village for A Day. We’ll leave it up to you guys to set up a Track ‘Em Tigers group meeting. We are on with Gus for a thrilling ride to the top!

    IT’S GREAT TO BE AN AUBURN TIGER!!!

    WAR EAGLE !!!

    GO BIG BLUE !!!

  7. tigertracker says:

    Great article, but one thing to consider…
    “Buying in to Malzahn’s new program will be a difficult sell for many of them, but the rewards could be substantial.”
    Every offensive player on the roster with the exception of last years class was recruited to run the Gus Bus as he was our OC when they were recruited. Should not be a difficult sell as they have seen first hand how productive his offense can be and some were even part of a scoreboard and recordbook shattering 2010 CAMpaign. Couple that with the misery they experienced on O last year and I’d argue that the Gus Bus sells itself.

    Keep up the good work! Time for some research on cameron artis-payne, jonathan ford, and peyton barber. Who will be the next warhammer for RBU. Mason should rightfully receive the lions share of the touches as the lone bright spot on a historically bad offense and corey grant is still an unknown commodity at this point. OMAC and Blakely are gone leaving the #2 and #3 spots on the depth chart wide open.

  8. wde1988 wde1988 says:

    You make some great points. Honestly I think things are changing all the way around for Auburn.

    It’s funny. Some folks assume things. Some folks don’t. Some want to understand the ‘why’s’ and the ‘hows’. Those folks are the innovaters. The thinkers.

    Gus may yet prove to be an innovater. If that is the case – look out!

    Regardless if it is a bus or a train or a concorde jet…. we have to catch up to the rest of the competition first. While I would love to beat my chest and say “next year”… I feel to be fair its important to note it may take longer than that. Expectations are important.

    Who knows. Chizik got lucky and did it in two. If Malzahn is who I think he is… we may be able be consistently the best in the SEC. Wouldn’t that be nice for a change??!! :)

    WDE

  9. Col.Angus Col.Angus says:

    Ok, now that recruiting season and the rainbow lollipop dreams of freshman 4*s running roughshod over the SEC is over….now comes the hard part. Get them graduated, get them in school, get them training….HARD…., get them committed to contributing on AND OFF the field and finally KEEP THEM OUT OF TROUBLE AND IN SCHOOL!!!
    Playing on Saturdays will seem easy once all the above is accomplished. I love this class, but then again I’ve loved every class we’ve had since Tubby left and we started COMPETING for top level recruits. Alas most of the recruits from the Chizik era have been duds…thus far. Like Derek said though, they didn’t lose their talent when they came to Auburn, it just wasn’t developed. I do have high hopes that these kids would like to finish out their career successfully and I think that Gus has the assts. to whip them into shape. That being said, this team has A LOT of soul searching to do, as most of them quit and got steam rolled in every game that mattered for the last year and a half. There isn’t a single upperclassman, save Tre Mason, that can stand up and say they led by example last year. So not only does the staff have something to prove to the players but so do the “leaders” on the team. Some folks are going to have to step up and FIGHT to earn that honor. If we devleop some on field leaders quickly, we have a chance to start the season well, otherwise, I don’t like our chances. For that reason, I wouldn’t say we have the ability to have a breakout season and challenge LSU and Bama. Its possible, but not likely. I think our locker room dysfunction hangover, is too big a hurdle to overcome. I hope I’m wrong, but from what I’m hearing about the Trooper Taylor antics that were pulled during the recruiting process (he actively recruited “his” recruits to go elsewhere), its pretty clear that the team is made up of TROOPER guys and everybody else. The Trooper guys are who are holding this team back. They want special treatment, and don’t want to put in the effort in the weight room or the film room. Thats the kind of attitude that will have us holding up the bottom of the SEC. I think the emphasis on bringing in a lot of WR talent is evidence of that.
    The good news is that Gus is bringing in some high character guys in Johnson and Lawson, who can be leaders for this class if not the team itself. The other good news is that Gus is bringing in some high quality JUCO’s who will push to take starting positions right away. Just like sun being the best disinfectant, the best combatant of a poor work ethic, or attitude, is competition. Tre Mason is the only guy on this team that is secure in his position next year, and even he will likely have to compete to be the workhorse out of the backfield. Thats good news. Getting guys used to fighting and competing will pay dividends when Wash. St. comes to call. Overall I like what I see from the young men we recruited, and from the effort of our coaching staff, hopefully we will see similar results on the football field this year.
    WAR EAGLE!!

    • Derrick Roberts Derrick Roberts says:

      Well said.

    • Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

      Yeah, what the Col. said.

    • KoolBell KoolBell says:

      The stuff about Trooper’s recruiting players to go elsewhere have proven to be false. It may well have been another former coach, but it was not Troop.

      I agree that Tre Mason was a bright spot on offense, but I would argue that Jonathan Wallace was too, and he got all his numbers against the best of our competition, save the final quarter vs, Texas A&M

      That locker room problem you speak of, it is already being addressed. Several players have mentioned that they can not go out at night when they have workouts the next day like they have been previously. That says more than anything else to me. They can’t howl all night with the Owls if they plan to soar with the Eagles!

  10. War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

    7 months till kickoff . . . . sigh . . .

  11. MyAuburn MyAuburn says:

    At least for me, I can kill the pain of no football with golf. One…maybe two more quail hunts and then the sticks come out of hibernation.
    I will continue to keep those of you who need an AU fix with the reports of the Tiger golfers on tour. The Duf has a good chance to add a major championship to his resume this year. It will be ausome to hear a “War Eagle” echoing through the pines at Augusta National.

    • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

      Duf just needs to get a few more putts to fall. I hope I can make it to Augusta this year and watch him in person.

  12. Todd92 Todd92 says:

    I agree with you on most points except for the comment about auburn lacking talent on its roster…. Even with the attrition that has taken place Auburns roster is full of top talent….. The question is not “is it there?”, it’s “can it be developed?”. Chizik strung together 3 top 10 recruiting classes and Malzahn has capped those with another…. Now it’s up to the new coaching staff and the S&C program to get it right. No excuses.

    • Derrick Roberts Derrick Roberts says:

      I totally meant the opposite of that statement and I worded that sentence backwards. I’m glad you caught that. I meant to say, “To forget Auburn has a wealth of talent is a mistake.” Sometimes I don’t know where my head is at.