arrow-circle arrow-long-stroke arrow-stroke arrow-thick arrow-thin arrow-triangle icon 2 baseballCreated with Sketch. basketball calendar category check-circle check-square check comment facebook-circle facebook-icon facebook-rounded facebook-square facebook-stroke football instagram-circle instagram-icon instagram-square long-arrow-right rss-circle rss-rounded rss-square rss-stroke rss twitter-circle twitter-icon twitter-rounded twitter-square twitter-stroke user-group user

Malzahn Doubles Down on Recruiting

By on February 13th, 2017 in Football, News 13 Comments »

Larry-PorterWe may never know why assistant coach Scott Fountain was shown the door by Gus Malzahn. Coming off one of the best recruiting jobs of his career, Fountain was ceremonially dumped last week to make room for former Memphis coach Larry Porter.

Porter is regarded as one of the top recruiters in the country and is expected to help Malzahn close the gap with other SEC programs. Despite ranking ninth in this year’s 247 Sports recruiting list, Auburn was fourth overall in the SEC. Clearly, Malzahn is looking to move higher.

Despite five-straight top 10 recruiting finishes, the results have not translated to the field. Porter will be coaching tight ends, a position that’s somewhat foreign to him. He’s spent the past several years at North Carolina coaching running backs and special teams, a job that will continue to be run by Tim Horton.

The move begs the question: Does Malzahn put more of an emphasis on recruiting than coaching? There’s no arguing he has been among the nation’s best when bringing in talent. But recent on-field performance leaves a lot to be desired.

In few cases have the recruiting stars lived up to on-field performance for Malzahn. No one is suggesting Porter can’t coach. The question is, can he coach tight ends, something he’s only done sporadically over the years? Similar questions have been raised about Kodi Burns and his relative youth and experience coaching wide receivers.

Player development will be something closely watched this year, considering all the talent on Auburn’s campus. The move is clearly a gamble on Malzahn’s part. He now has his players and his coaches on staff. There’s no more wiggle room. Talent can’t win alone.

Gus has shown he can bring them in. Now it’s time to find out if he can coach them and win. Porter coaching a new position in the SEC is cause for concern.


  1. Zach Taylor Zach Taylor says:

    There is no doubt, none, that Malzahn is a better recruiter than coach and that he emphasizes it.

    I don’t have the numbers crunched, but under Malzahn, Auburn has had one of the WORST translations/relationships between recruiting to on-field success. I don’t even think it’s close.

    I am well prepared for the comments about how recruiting doesn’t equal anything and stars don’t matter and “you’re a negative nancy.” Still, at some point, there has to be some sort of relationship between recruiting and wins. Show me another team that has finished in the top ten every year but has found itself barely over .500 for three straight years.

    • WoodrowAU95 says:

      I think you are spot on! Eventually, your recruiting HAS to show up on the field. Gus has shown he and his staff CAN and DO recruit well even with mediocre field success. Talent will get you some wins, but coaching seems to get you over the top as far as success is concerned. That success can be measured in wins over your rivals or better teams. I hate to do it, but look at Turdtown. Sure, you and I could get 7-8 wins with their talent. Yet, Saban is just good enough of a coach (along with staff) to get them in a position to succeed.

      Talent get you far, but coaching gets you to the top.

  2. digger4au digger4au says:

    Malzahn has struggled as a head coach at Auburn every year except the first. May be because he has tried to do to much ie head coach and play caller. I am not sure if that is the problem or he is learning on the job or just does not have it as head coach. I really would like to see him succeed but it is time to show he can.

  3. sparkey sparkey says:

    He is always trying to do too much. His job is too much for him. He is too paranoid to function anymore in society let alone such a major job like he has.

  4. AUglenn says:

    I’m pulling for Gus but reported Porter was ranked 137th for 2017 and Scott Fountain was ranked the nation’s No. 22 recruiter so why is everyone saying that Porter is an upgrade in recruiting? i don’t get it.

    • Tiger Tiger says:

      Yeah, I saw those numbers too, AUglenn. Not sure what to make of it.

      Also not sure about a RB coach working with TE’s…guess we’ll know later this year if it was a good move.

    • dyingculture dyingculture says:

      He was recruiter of the year twice when he was with LSU. The 137th ranking was while he was trying to convince blue chip recruits to come to play for the North Carolina Tar Heels. Basically every top recruit in the area would consider Clemson, Tennesee, South Carolina, or Virginia Tech first. I wouldn’t read too much into it.

  5. GBAU83 says:

    I am Gus fan (I like the man), but as a realist, I am becoming more of a Gus needs to show some proof. When he was hired (OC I think) I remember comments about him being able to get the best out of what he has (i.e., uses player ability/talent and works with that to get the best bang for the buck). I do believe we have to recruit great talent to compete against our major rivals and thus a need to emphasize recruiting.
    I like Kodi and what he provided as a team leader when he played. But my question would be if you wanted to upgrade recruiting, wouldn’t you keep Fountain over Burns and replace Burns with Porter? (I am not trying to start a get rid of Kodi move, but would think Porter could do more with WR than he can with TE) Don’t know, I just pay to watch…

  6. neonbets says:

    Unnecessary griping.

    It’s February. Malzahn hired an exceptional recruiter. It’s good news, and a good move. There’s nothing else to say on it.

    Again…it’s February. He can’t actually coach right now! At this moment in time, Malzahn took the best path toward improving the team.

    From the tone of the post and comments, many of you sound like you’d be happier if Gus stood pat, and instead put on mad ‘coach-face’ spouting a bunch of stupid ‘coach-speak’.

    All of which reminds me of Bobby Knight on this very subject:

  7. […] has been a lot of talk the last few days about recruiting. Yesterday Auburn moved to shore up their running backs corps with an offer to […]

  8. […] Monday, February 13,, Track ‘Em Tigers’ Jay Coulter published an article: Malzahn Doubles Down on Recruiting. Jay outlined the mystifying dismissal of long-time Auburn staff member Scott Fountain, who worked […]