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Hurry Up and Wait

Gus Malzahn will lead Auburn into a new football era.

Tom has Jerry, Batman has the Joker, Charles Barkley has his golf swing, and now Nick Saban has Gus Malzahn. For the first time in many months, Auburn fans had reason to rejoice earlier this week when Gus Malzahn was introduced as Auburn’s new head football coach. The hire does not come without criticism. Some consider Malzahn’s re-introduction as more of the same incompetence that is believed to have established strong roots in the athletic department. However, no matter what side of the fence you occupy on this issue, it’s hard to deny the spark Gus Malzahn gives the program.

Who better to take on the ever-advancing Nick Saban? Gus, quite simply, never slows down. His hurry-up offensive attack creates the perfect counter to Saban’s defensive philosophy. For all intents and purposes, the stage has been set for a potential blockbuster era of Auburn vs. Alabama football. For now though, Malzahn will have to set his sights on putting the program back on track to competitive football and Auburn fans must wait an entire off-season to punch their tickets on the ‘Gus Bus.’

The first challenge: Transforming the mindset/mentality of the team. All of the players have to get on board with the new philosophy of the program and begin pulling in the same direction. Gus has always demanded top-notch work ethic and attention to detail from his offensive units. He must now instill this mindset in the Auburn program.

The shelves are not empty.
Incoming Malzahn staff members will have a substantial amount of talent to work with. It is going to be expected that this talent shows through on the field.

It wasn’t me!
Early on, it is apparent that Malzahn wishes to distance himself from Chizik’s tenure through his staff choices.

More of the same?
Early success will be vital for Malzahn. A slow start to the 2013 season could fuel frustration among the fan-base and lead many to believe that the problems within the program were never dealt with or addressed. If he is able to get Auburn out to a strong start, Malzahn will be rewarded by immense support. The Auburn Family is desperate for something to celebrate, and winning will be a silver bullet for any woes still lingering from the Chizik era.

Boldly Going.
Ellis Johnson was Gus’s first official staff addition, and it is an ironic one. Johnson spoke out in the past against Malzahn’s offense and similar ones. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Right? I guess that is what E.J. had in mind. As Auburn’s defensive coordinator, he must find a way to field the best defense possible while being constantly pressured by Malzahn’s offensive style. Johnson will also need to focus on strengthening the Tigers’ defensive fundamentals.

ALL IN!
Auburn officials are heavily invested in Malzahn. The payoff could be huge, but the risk is a football program being completely broken-down and a fan base being alienated.

Gus Malzahn has now put himself in place to complete one of the greatest journeys a football coach has ever taken. Once a high-school defensive coordinator, he now finds himself at the reigns of an upper-tier SEC football program. Gus will bring an excitement back to the program that it has desperately needed for over a year. The road back to relevancy will be a difficult one, but I have confidence that the ‘Gus Bus’ will find a way. 

71 Comments

  1. wde1988 wde1988 says:

    Before we start saying he has Saban’s number I think its important to see his full staff. And then his plan to prepare for the 2013 campaign. With that in mind, it’s obvious to me that Malzahn has gotten the approval of the administration to restructure the program as he sees fit. That was key if we expected any changes in the outcomes in the fall.

    Can he win? Yes. We know he can.

    Can he recruit? Yes. We know that he can.

    But can he win and compete for the championship? Unclear. Can he do what Gene Chizik and his staff (which Gus was a part) and develop his players? Unclear.

    Reasonable expectations are all that I have. No need to put undue pressure on this program to do the impossible. And unseat the NC for three out of four years… well, that is is about where we are. We need to keep that in mind.

    I was a negative nancy at first… but I am coming around. I will be fully on the gus bus when its obvious that it is gassed up and ready to win. I believe he is moving in the right direction to make that happen. He is saying the right things. And so far, his words and actions match. That is a big improvement from Mean Gene.

    WDE

    • wde1988 wde1988 says:

      And I should point out that I would have the same skepticism regardless of who the hire was… so no need to chastise over me keeping it real over Gus.

      WDE

  2. KungFuPanda9 KungFuPanda9 says:

    Right now, Gus is all about culture change. There will be NO friendly shoulders to cry on once the blood-letting begins during practice.

    If you want to change a culture, the fastest way is to kill all the parents. I was sorry to see Yoxall take the fall for what I think were circumstances beyond his control. And Boulware had our special teams at the top of performance. However, no friendly shoulders.

    For any who doubted Gus has the stones to do what’s necessary, let the head-rolling be a signal of change of the Plain.

    • Derrick Roberts Derrick Roberts says:

      Exactly. That was an encouraging sign to me. We’ll see. He’s (Malzahn) got a big challenge ahead of him.

  3. Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

    In my opinion Malzahn shoulders zero responsibilty for any shortcoming during Chizik’s tenure. Gus is however an unproven commodity as a head coach. We are in the toughest division of the toughest conference in all of college football. I like what I see so far but the work ethic, the vision, the staff hires, etc. must translate into immediate improvement if not wins. I prefer immediate improvement AND wins.

    The bus is warming up.

    WDE

  4. sullivan013 sullivan013 says:

    Anyone know who has the contract for providing coffee and vending machine gum at the Auburn Athletic complex? I’d like to switch my investment portfolio into some high growth companies and that one is at the very top of my list.

    I get the feeling that if we had Rommel as our athletic director he’d be calling Gus to slow down this whole Blitzkrieg thing. Personally, I love it. Coach Malzahn sounds like the type of guy who plays chess by hiding his pieces and taking three moves at a time.

    • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

      …..Back when I was at school, Camco Vending had the whole campus. We used to call their drink machines “one armed bandits,” because you’d lose your money at least 10 percent of the time.

  5. mikeautiger says:

    I am excited by the leadership Gus is showing. Great DC hire, brings in a OC that knows the system as well as he, understands system management by changing out S&C coach. He is attacking recruiting and is as good as TT and is making it understood he is in charge, making good decisions, and setting the plate for success.

  6. KoolBell KoolBell says:

    Phillip Marshall reported around midnight that Kodi Burns will be joining the staff at Auburn. I got chills just typing that.

    • MyAuburn myauburn says:

      Yesssssssssssss!!! I was really waiting for that news. Now if he can lure Rocker back.

    • Derrick Roberts Derrick Roberts says:

      Last night I looked up Malzahn’s wikipedia entry. It stated his next two hires(after E. Johnson) upon arriving at Auburn as head coach were Rhett Lashley and Tracy Rocker. Does someone know something we don’t?

      • wde1988 wde1988 says:

        Wiki is written by people just like us. My opinion… this is still premature.

        WDE

    • AUTigerinBR says:

      YES! Very happy to see that. Was hoping Tracy Rocker would be DC. We have got to get him back to the Plains.

    • james4au says:

      Glad to hear Kodi is returning. He is the ultimate team player and winner.

  7. mikeautiger says:

    Yes! Kodi Burns joining staff! It is great to be an Auburn Tiger!! Now if Rocker will return? Any thoughts out there about who might round out the defensive and offensive staffs? I would like to see Bulware back and Looper for running backs and tight ends, TT only as recruiting coordinator. Gue making good decisions so we might be fine without any old staff. Kodi maybe for receivers.

    Other than Rocker, no clue who might be an option but not Pelton.

    What y’all think

  8. KoolBell KoolBell says:

    @JayGTate: Trooper Taylor will not be retained by new coach Gus Malzahn. http://mobile.rivals.com/board_posts.asp?SID=884&mid=160727269&fid=423&tid=160727269&Team=&TeamId=&SiteId=

    • MyAuburn myauburn says:

      That link shows password protected, is it anywhere else?

      • mikeautiger says:

        Heard it on joxs radio too. Gus and Ellis Johnson are great recruiters. If anyone does not come because TT left then we do not need them anyway. You go to a school because you like the whole package not just one coach.

      • KoolBell KoolBell says:

        I was showing his tweet that announced his post on Rivals. I don’t/won’t pay for news that comes out 30 minutes later anyway.

        It has been confirmed, but I have not found it in print yet. I am trying to pass along as I find out.

        • MyAuburn myauburn says:

          I am eagerly awaiting the Rocker news. Come back Tracy.

    • cmatt90 says:

      Bad decision. TT was our recruiter the past 4 years (remember, we had a few top 5 recruiting classes in there). Shortsighted move. If you’re an 18 year old kid in Alabama, you’re much more responsive to TT than a 60-year old Ellis Johnson. And I’ve never seen Gus rated as a top recruiter, but I have definitely seen TT winning top recruiter awards for the past several years. I understand the need to clean house, but I guarantee you we lost several top recruits right when this was announced.

      • KoolBell KoolBell says:

        And….. 48% of those recruits are no longer with the program. How’d that work out?

        • MyAuburn myauburn says:

          Agreed, getting a top recruit and turning him into an SEC caliber player are two different things.

          • Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

            Also, the minute we start cowtowing the whims of 17 and 18 year olds is the minute that we’ve lost any credibility. How many of those guys said that they were committed to Auburn, then wound up somewhere else on signing day? And those are the guys that we want to keep Troop for?

            I wish Trooper all the luck! And he will find a new home somewhere-but Malzahn is taking control back and you can’t have any holdovers from the previous era to do that effectively.

          • cmatt90 says:

            Agreed that bringing them in and developing them are two different things. But why throw out the baby with the bathwater? Why not keep Trooper, let him bring them in, and let the new coaches develop them? Are we trying to be a better team or prove a point?

            Your argument seems to be that Chizik’s staff did a bad job of developing recruits, so we should fire the guy who brought those recruits in. That’s not very rational KoolBell. Trooper was just the WR coach!

            The same people willing to give Malzahn a complete pass on developing players because he wasn’t head coach are awfully quick to damn Trooper because he didn’t develop players. Sounds like a lot of us are blindly drinking the Kool-Aid we’re served.

      • Ricky Bobby says:

        In 2011, ESPN rated Gus Malzahn as well as Ellis Johnson as some of the best recruiters in the SEC. Additionally, wasn’t it Gus that made the push bring in Cam over Gene’s objections? Just saying…

  9. AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

    At the end of the season, there seem to be a lot of Auburn folk calling for a change in the culture of the football program.
    After Gus was hired some wondered if he was up to it. Well it only took him about 48 hours to answer that question. There’s definitely a new sheriff in town.

    • MyAuburn myauburn says:

      Aub, give me a call.

    • wde1988 wde1988 says:

      Brother, you ain’t whistling dixie that is for sure!

      He is kicking tail and taking names.

      I just hope that unlike Mean Gene, that Gus’s words and deeds always match up. Because the minute they don’t… it opens the door for criticism. Going to happen sooner or later…

      WDE

  10. War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

    I just realized we don’t get to see AU play for another 9 months . . . ouch, wish we were in a bowl, any bowl . . .

  11. mikeautiger says:

    I am going to get out some old discs and watch Malzahn the early days at AU to remind myself of what we have to look forward too! Yee ha! Yes where are the 48% now.

  12. Ricky Bobby says:

    Here’s to hoping for The Rock to come back home! On a side note, I wish we’d make a push to bring Dameyune Craig back home, as well. What an addition he would make to our staff on the recruiting front!

    • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

      Craig would make an outstanding staff member.

      Shake & Bake Brutha

  13. Tigerstripe Tigerstripe says:

    I’m curious to know what is going on in the ticket sales department right now. Are we trending yet?

    • Mike jimithing78 says:

      They just started taking TUF donations 6 days ago. I’d think even in a great year that wouldn’t be enough time to get a trend set.

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

    I am very impressed by Gustav’s decisive staffing changes. We’ve got hope! Can’t wait to see how the rest of the staff rounds out.

    War Eagle!

  15. Col.Angus Col.Angus says:

    Whether you agree with the hire or not, you have to be impressed with the fact that Gus has put past relationships behind him and wiped away all vestiges of the Chizik regime. When you treat cancer, you have to cut out as much of it as possible to return the host to health. It remains to be seen if Malzahn was part of that cancer or not but he certainly he is not going to leave any doubt that future failure…or success…is due to his plan/design and his alone. There will be no scapegoats.

    Another thing that is impressive is Malzahn lightning-like response to building a staff…its almost like he knew he was going to be hired! Either he has otherworldly powers of persuasion or he and Jacobs had this worked out a while ago. Even by bringing in his AK State state should take longer than this, just in terms of working out the details and making sure they didn’t have opportunities to move up at Ak State. Just a thought.

    • Derrick Roberts Derrick Roberts says:

      Most definitely. Slow and easy-going aren’t two words I think of when it comes to Malzahn. I don’t think he takes his time with anything.

    • sparkey sparkey says:

      The search committee was bogus Colonel. It was already planned.

      • Todd92 Todd92 says:

        Your tin foil hat is crooked there Sparkey… Better straighten it before the aliens get a fix on your position.

        • sparkey sparkey says:

          Hey, I wear that hat sideways that’s the way the cool kids do it right? Well at least look at it this way, don’t you think things are going just a little too fast? I know how Gus is, but would it not make a lot of sense if this whole thing was planned? Do you not put something like that past Jay Jacobs? I don’t think those three guys with their integrity think that, but I think that’s exactly what happened. I think as soon as Jacobs was told Chizik had to go, he went and found Malzahn. Maybe I am crazy, but damn if it doesn’t make so much sense to me.

          • Todd92 Todd92 says:

            I don’t think Bo or Pat would be complicit to such a ruse for one thing and as to the quickness I’m sure as soon as Malzahn started being considered for the job he started contacting coaches to gauge interest in joining is staff were he to get a job. Ellis Johnson was almost a no brainer…. He was fired just after Chizik. The only reason Lashlee got the job is Chad Morris didn’t take it…. Hence Malzahns comment about making the offensive play calls… “Maybe, maybe not. I don’t know yet”….

  16. spanky says:

    anyone know the details of Gus’ contract?

  17. TexasAUTiger says:

    Trooper Taylor is gone so now Reuben Foster is as well. Greeeaaaattttt…

  18. MyAuburn myauburn says:

    The first Trooper decomitt, Reuben Foster (the one with the AU tattoo) decomitted after Trooper was fired. Says he will go where ever Trooper goes.
    Oh well, can’t win them all

    • Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

      I say good riddance. Again, this is a young man who is ALREADY been in trouble with the law TWICE. I know that we shouldn’t poo poo talented linebackers, but give me a break. I would like to think that we can land talented players that won’t have problems keeping their extracurricular under wraps.

      Imagine the ego of an 18 year old that wields his commitment like it will actually sway the hiring and firing of coaches at the collegiate level. He might head to a big time school and then find himself doing remediation in juco….hope that I’m wrong about that (for the record).

      If I sound exasperated with these kiddos-I am! Signing Day has become too big and the attention these kids get feed their little egos. Grow up!

      • War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

        Glad he’s gone, if he only respected TT then he never would have panned out. Come to think of it, this type of attitude may have been what retarded the development of the team these past two years. Just hope he has a good plastic surgeon to get that tat off his arm. Is it an NCAA violation to bribe schools to hire you because you have a blue chip recruit tied to you at the hip? Almost sounds like selling pay (TT) for play (Foster). It’s an interesting thought to ponder.

      • mccullars says:

        I was not aware of hime being in trouble with the law. Dee Liner on the other hand…

        • Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

          It is possible that I made a mistake about the law issue….but, nothing personal against this kid, but his attitude stinks.

      • spanky says:

        All true. I don’t really want those types who are already too big for their own pants on the team anyway. Also makes you wonder why he likes TT so much. Just seems odd to me. Maybe thats why TT is no longer here..aka..investigation.

    • mccullars says:

      Keep in mind that we are talking about a teenage boy. Boys can be rather immature in their decision making. It happens. Perhaps our new staff can bring him back into the fold.

    • james4au says:

      And, Foster will have the AU tat where ever he goes.

    • cmatt90 says:

      Trooper is one of the best recruiters in the country. I’m simply amazed by the blind trust in Malzahn. To me it seems like this was a reactionary decisions (like firing Trooper) instead of taking the time to really consider the pros and cons. This is not going to be the last chip to fall, and unless someone else really steps up the recruiting our days of top-5 recruiting classes may be over for a while.

      And his attitude stinks because we’re firing the person he bonded with? I’m just shocked by some of these comments. If you’re an 18 year-old kid with no particular tie to any college, you’re committing to the people who recruit you. You build a relationship with them, and a large part of the decision comes down to who you trust. To say his attitude stinks because he doesn’t want to play for people he’s never met is absolutely ridiculous. And then to insinuate he’s been in trouble with the law? Come on guys, we’re better than that.

      • Todd92 Todd92 says:

        If all the rumors are true about Trooper undermining Yox with discipline issues and not working with Loeffler then the problem exists with him and current players… I’m not saying I know squadoosh… But if this were true he needed to go to allow the coaching staff to instill the much needed discipline. I personally would have liked to have seen TT retained as recruiting coordinator but not at the expense of toughening up the players we have.

  19. TigerintheHass TigerintheHass says:

    If Gus fired TT, he had a good reason, and so be it. I think it’s NCAA related, and if so, good riddance.

    Recruits commit and decommit all the time. Yeah, it sucks, and it hurts to watch TJ Yeldon kill it for Bama, but gotta let them go.

    This Reuben Foster kid has a huge AU tattoo on his arm – hilarious.

  20. DBAU81 says:

    Gus is sending a clear message that he is in charge and, even more importantly, that he will be making his decisions based on what is in the long-term best interest of the program and not on this year’s recruiting class. I am not going to bash a 17 or 18 year old kid who may feel more committed to a particular coach than to AU, especially when you consider that many of these kids lack a strong father figure. At the same time, I am not going to lose a minute’s sleep over any of them who decommit because of the coaching change. That just goes with the territory. Plus, if we’ve learned anything from the last of couple of years, it is that recruiting rankings don’t mean a thing unless you develop the talent after they arrive on campus. In the long run, we will get a lot more out of changing the culture around the program and restoring a solid work ethic than we will a few highly-rated recruits.

  21. BedouinTiger BedouinTiger says:

    I know my first choice was a “big name” hire, but I like this.

    At first, I was sceptical. I think the program needs a HC that will be a clean break from CGC and I was not sure CGM could provide that. Cleaning house of the assistants (many being his former peers) was the absolute right, and necessary thing to do. Will Auburn lose some recruits over it? Of course, but a culture change is a necessity for Auburn to be competitive in the current environment. Dicipline must return to the program. Diciplined 3 star rated players will out play and beat prima donna 5 star rated players.

    Also, the more I read about the 4-2-5 Defense the more I am a fan of it. It is the same D that TCU runs and the coverages are called seperate from the line schemes. On a side note, I really hope Tracy Rocker is the next D-Line coach.

    I absolutely love that Kodi is back on the Plains. His selfless actions over his playing career are a walking enstillment of dicipline and loyalty. Ruben Foster should talk to him.

    (OFF TOPIC: I’d rather be water boarded than read the story comments on AL.com.)

    • PortCouncil PortCouncil says:

      Couldn’t agree more about the AL.com comments.

      We will lose a few commits, yes. However, I think we’ll add a few that we wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. If I’m Derrick Green or O.J. Howard, I’d love to play in Malzahn’s offense.

      If we only had Bates back for another year. He is the ideal hybrid safety/linebacker for this Johnson scheme.

    • mikeautiger says:

      My thoughts exactly. I saw EJ run this over here in SC and it does work well against the spread which has been our Achilles hill lately and with the odd men & four man fronts it stops the run while being flexible enough to cover the pass.

  22. rxadam says:

    Coach Tuberville hired as the new Cincinnati head coach. What do you think of him moving from Texas Tech to Cincy? To me it seems like a lower grade coaching position.

    • SandMountainTiger SandMountainTiger says:

      Easier to get that big gig having good seasons from a known carreer launching pad, than going 7-5 every year. Kind of surprised UT didn’t call. Surprised and glad.

      • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

        Tubs has reached his “Peter Principle” ceiling. The smart people on the Plains knew that after the ’03 cluster f%$#k.

    • Randyc37 Randyc37 says:

      I do agree. I wonder if the sideline incident had anything to do with Tuberville’s departure. Also, Lubbock is really isolated and I am sure that Tuberville’s family was behind his decision to take the Cincy job. I suppose that Petrino may now have to pursue the Arkansas State job. I doubt if many ADs want to deal with the public relations issues that would follow Petrino’s hire.

      • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

        Why would Petrino pursue the Arkansas St job when the T Tech job is open? There’s WAY more $$$ in Lubbock, TX than in Jonesboro, AK. I’m not knocking either place……… I’m just sayin’.

  23. plains74 says:

    I do not have time to ponder Tubberville! I watched the Heisman and 30 30 tonight! Johnny Football deserves it! Next, who is the best all time player for Auburn, Bo or Cam? Which one will represent Auburn the best? Time will tell. Will Gus come up with the next Cam or Bo? I am not worried in the least about decomitted five stars! Where is there comitment to anything?

  24. cmatt90 says:

    Here’s why we should have kept Trooper. I’m afraid the recruiting dominoes will start to fall now: http://insider.espn.go.com/blog/colleges/lsu/post?id=6626

    Absolutely no sense in firing one of the best recruiters in the country. You bring him in, make sure he understands the discipline that’s going to become a part of the program, then you sign him to a contract and tell him to hit the recruiting trail. I understand we want to clean house, but we shouldn’t be dogmatic and rushed about these decisions.

  25. plains74 says:

    With all the great coaches that Gus is bringing in we will not miss Trooper for long. Time for him to move on as there are questions about the way he recruited. In addition it looks like he recurited some of these players to play for him instead of Auburn. The new coaches are also great recruiters and are known to do things the right way! In addition they can coach on the field. We may lose a few recruits but will more than make up for it by Feb. At the speed Gus works, there is plenty of time to shore up a great recruitment class for 2013. I appreciate some of what Trooper did but his services are no longer needed!

    • sparkey sparkey says:

      Actually, yes we will. How are all the new coaches great recruiters? That’s news to me. Ellis Johnson is not really a great recruiter, he is not the one that pulled in Ingram and Clowney. He is a solid X’s and O’s guy, but he is not a great recruiter. That’s pretty much accepted all over the country.

      Lashlee has done well recruiting at places like Samford and Ark. St. However, that doesn’t mean he’ll do great in the SEC competing against schools like T A&M, Bama, LSU, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. That’s six schools that have a better roster for recruiting than Auburn does.

      Now before you even start, I’m not saying you don’t need coaching as well. You need top notch coaching AND top notch athletes. Make no mistake, the other teams in the SEC west will have top rated players at just about every position. Mullen and Freeze are also making the Mississippi schools into formidable opponents.

      The loss of TT hurts and anybody who refuses to see that is forcing themselves to be blind. It will hurt recruiting the question is how much. And by the way, you guys are believing rumors. I thought you better than that. You didn’t buy any of the Cam rumors so why do you buy them now with TT? I think Gus wanted an entire regime change and felt it was necessary. All of this other stuff, you guys think what you want. I find it funny how I’m always called the conspiracy guy, yet when it comes to Trooper Taylor folks in here jump on the opportunity to go after him.