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Ok… After Letting The Initial Media Wave Past… What Do You Really Think?

By on December 6th, 2012 in Football 8 Comments »

                     Auburn and Arkansas will both be heading in a new direction in 2013

Both Auburn and Arkansas walked away from abysmal years in the SEC West. While their respective situations were different, the outcome to the fans was pretty much the same.  Arkansas benefited the most during the season by winning in a lopsided victory over AU at Jordan Hare Stadium.

A couple of months removed from that… now where do these rivals stand?

Auburn fired Gene Chizik and paid an $11 M buy out to get rid of the entire staff. Whether or not they are all gone remains to be seen.  The Tigers hired Coach Gus Malzahn, the Arkansas State Head Coach and former Offensive Coordinator that took Auburn to the National Championship in 2010. Coach Malzahn’s Red Wolves went 9-3 and won the Sub Belt Conference Championship.

The cost of Gus’s contract?? $2.3 Million for five years.

There was a $700K buy out from Arkansas State.

How well did Arkansas do?

Arkansas started the year on a high note but that was all shattered when the headcoach got in a minor accident with his motorcycle. Hog fans had to watch their season get flushed as Arkansas fired Bobby P and then hired John L. The whacky do whacky coach surely had fun during the 2012 season… but was fired shortly after Arkansas’s last game. Still, Arkansas’s AD did hit a grand slam and hired someone away from the big ten conference that was never really predicted or discussed. Arkansas hired Coach  Bret Bielema, formerly coach at the University of Wisconsin… He has won three straight Big Ten Championships. He had a 68-24 record and was 2-4 in bowl games.

The cost of  Brett’s contract?? $3.2 Million for six years.

There was a $1 Million buy out from Wisconsin.

So far the one who has hit the ground running is Auburn’s Gus Malzahn. He has a DC hired… in Ellis Johnson. And we are all waiting to see who he hires next. At this point Bielema is still accepting congratulations. Both are going to engage in recruiting during the bowl season. That will benefit both schools greatly. But AU’s Malzahn has already started talking with highschools and re-establishing the connections with in the State of Alabama.

So far, in my opinion, not only did AU do better with its money, it has a slight edge in recruiting here…  Malzahn is a former HS coach from Arkansas. He knows that state like the back of his hand.  He even recruited from there in a college coach capacity while at Arkansas State. This will directly benefit Auburn.

But that is enough from me, what school do you think will see the most improvement come September 2013 based upon what you have seen so far?

War Eagle!!


  1. JayTS says:

    I think Malzahn’s the better hire and will show better results. He has stronger connections to Arkansas, and has experience in the SEC. Plus, half of the team was recruited to run his offense. Bielema definitely has more head coaching experience, but no experience coaching the SEC.

    Add that to what’s happened since they were both hired, and I think Malzahn is already quieting many of his detractors. With Charlie Strong rejecting Tennessee’s offer, there is no doubt in my mind that we made the best possible hire for Auburn, and I’m excited to watch our team under Malzahn’s un-hindered influence.

  2. Wombat Wombat says:

    Malzahn’s got the benefit of having a roster full of players recruited for his system, so he should be able to get the offense turned around pretty quickly. Johnson is supposed to be a great DC, but it’s hard to know what he really has to work with on defense.

    Bielema isn’t starting with as much raw talent, and it may take him a year or two to get the type of players he really wants. He doesn’t have recruiting connections in the south, but a good staff will fix that.

    All in all, I think Auburn is set up for a faster turn around.

  3. KungFuPanda9 KungFuPanda9 says:

    We got a great coach with Gus. He is the vanguard of offensive thinking.

  4. autgr4life says:

    I think both coaches have their strengths and their opportunities and I think each school went in a direction that they felt would best benefit them now and in the log run.

    Arkansas went with the “old school” SEC model. A defensive minded head coach who will employ a heavy run old school type offense and just pound its opponents into submission. However this is a huge change from their current recruits and team. Arkansas has been built the last few years on high power offense while it might not be a spread it is a fast pace high scoring offense and well Arkansas has not been known for its defensive prowess over the last few seasons. So they have a longer turn around time to get the recruits in place to run the new system.

    Auburn decided to go with the “new school” SEC model that is being adapted at schools like Texas A&M, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State where you combine elements of a spread offense with a power running game to produce a high octane offense that will score a lot of points but unfortunately puts a lot of pressure on your defense as well since they are not on the sidelines for 5+ minute drives catching their breath. Considering that Auburn except for the 2012 recruiting class has been recruiting and building a team based on this model for the past few years it should be a much easier transition. The players are there they just need coaches to develop them and get them to produce.

    So we currently in the SEC are developing two different models for teams. While the “old school” model has said to be a proven long term winner in the conference, schools have shown, A&M this year and Auburn in 2010, it is possible to win and win big with the “new school” model. The traditionalists people of the conference will say that the new way of doing things is solely dependent on having a superstar QB like Manziel and Cam and without those types of game changing QB’s the system will never work in the SEC and it is impossible to have that type of player every year. The progressive people in the conference will say that these new offensive styles will prove that you can tailor and offense to your personnel and build a high power offense that can win year in and year out with the right coach leading that offense and that the old way of running a school will never be able to keep up with the new offenses once they get their recruits in and established.

    Only time will tell which method is best if one is better than the other. I personally think there is room for both styles in the SEC and think both can still produce championship caliber teams for years to come.

    I think that Auburn made the better hire of the two schools and believe that Malzahn will be a huge success at Auburn. He is the perfect coach at the perfect time for Auburn. While many will point out that Malzahn will have the toughest job in the country having to compete on and off the field with the giant that is Saban and Alabama right now I feel it is precisely the differences between the two coaches which will allow Malzahn to proliferate at Auburn. While it is inevitable that there will be some recruiting battles that occur over defensive players there will be some uncontested battles for offensive players for both sides as they will recruit different types of athletes for their systems.

    I truly believe great times are ahead for this program. I heard two things this week that confirmed that for me and confirmed Malzahn was the perfect guy for the job. First Bo Jackson endorsed Malzahn and second during the press conference where Malzahn was introduced he said 6 words that hit me hard and rang true for everything that is Auburn, “nobody is going to outwork us”. Those six little words made me believe in Malzahn and in Auburn football once again. War Damn Eagle!! War Damn Eagle!

    • wde1988 wde1988 says:

      Awesome post!

      I hope that Malzahn keeps his vision pure. And that he learns what Chizik forgot…. when words and actions start to paint two seperate pictures instead of reinforcing one… that is when you find yourself on the outside looking in.


  5. Malakai Malakai says:

    Good post autgr4life!