The Heavy Weight of Expectations on Gus and Why He Shouldn’t Worry
Things are looking up on the plains. There is hope in the air for the first time in a long time. We have a new coach, and he has hit the ground running, making some great looking hires and getting the Auburn faithful believing in the football program again. If things go well, he might even get the stench of universal hatred off of Jay Jacobs.
OK, maybe that’s stretching it a bit. Even though our coach has a three letter name that starts with ‘G’, it’s not God.
Despite that, he’s looking like a bit of a deity so far, with the hiring of Ellis Johnson and Charlie Harbison as co-defensive coordinators, he has taken his holy clipboard and laid smite and waste to the evil blight that is known as the Tampa-2 defense, or as I like to call it, ‘The worst m#%$*&ing piece of $%&# lame-%#$ defensive scheme in the history of the known universe.’ I don’t know a lot about Harbison, and life has gotten in the way of me researching him lately, but I know Ellis Johnson is an old school defensive guy that likes to hit people. It’s time we get back to being physical at Auburn and get away from the wimpy, pathetic, ‘stay back and don’t give up the big play’ crap that Chizik was preaching.
Despite all of this positivity, the fanbase needs to be prepared for the reality of what is coming. We are going to give up points. It’s going to happen. Spread teams do not have top 10 defenses. On the rare occasions that one does, it is likely due to a pathetic schedule more than defensive talent. Our defensive goals should be more along the lines of ‘hold them to about 20 to 25 points.’ With Malzhan’s offense, once we do this, we’ll start winning. I believe that if Gus is given enough time and control, Auburn will be back at it’s rightful place near the top of the country within a 3 or 4 years max. Saban will be cringing at the thought of playing a hurry-up offense with a good QB every year, and the turds will be just as inconsolable as they were in 2010 and screaming that we must be cheaters because they hate our success so much.
All that being said, I think there are quite a few people on here that need a dose of reality. Right now, we stink. We were the worst team in the SEC this year. Yes, even Missouri was better than us. We suck. We could suck a golf ball through 12 feet of garden hose. We could suck start a leaf blower. The level of suck was epic, pathetic, and is going to take some time to recover from. It is ridiculous to think that we are going to win 8 or 9 games next year. Ridiculous.
I think 6 wins next year and a return to a bowl game is a very successful year. I think there is a realistic chance that isn’t going to happen, either. Make no mistake about it, people, Chizik left a MESS. The team is in complete disarray. They are undisciplined, out of shape, and they have no belief in each other or Auburn football right now. They haven’t since about halfway through the year, maybe even earlier. Gus has one hell of a mess to clean up, and it is going to take him some time. To think he is going to come in and win right now is absurd, and is a completely unrealistic expectation.
Next year will be a year unique in all the years I’ve been watching Auburn football. I don’t give two rat’s patoots about the win/loss record. I don’t care if we’re 2-4 after the first 6 games. I don’t care if we lose to Ole Miss and Mississippi State. For one thing, neither of those teams are auto-wins right now. They are better than they used to be and we are worse. They both have good, proven coaches that is instilling a winning philosophy there, something that has been lacking for a while now. Ole Miss looked better last year than I have seen in a LONG time, especially considering how little talent they had there. Mississippi State is right on the cusp of being a perenially good team just as soon as Dan Mullen can get them believing that they are. To think we’re going to go in there next year and walk all over either of them in our current condition is completely laughable to anybody that is rooted in reality.
We are now in the position that Ole Miss was in last year. The year before they were a doormat, scratched off as a win on everybody’s calendar. Hugh Freeze came in to a talentless team and had to fight the hell out of that mentality, which had taken root in the psyche of every player’s brain. He was successful as the year went on, but it took time. They finished 6-6, beating MSU in the last game of the year to get a bowl berth for the first time in a while, and it is widely acknowledged that Hugh Freeze did a hell of a job in year 1 there.
If you watch them from the beginning, they got better every game. They got more fiery every game. They improved, looked better, and as the year went on, they began to believe. 6 wins was great, but I guarantee if they had only won 4, their fans would be feeling better about their chances, and looking to the future.
That is what I want to see next year.
I don’t care if we are 0-12. If we play hard every game, are competitive every game, and show improvement, I will be happy. I will be hopeful. I haven’t seen this team get better at all in 4 years. I’ve seen them get worse. I’m not saying Gus gets a free pass next year. I’m saying I don’t care what the W/L record is if the team is getting better. I want something to believe in again. I want to go into an LSU/Alabama/Georgia/Florida/Whatever game excited about the prospect of putting them down, and BELIEVING that there is a chance to put them down. A year after that, the win/loss record starts to matter more. Year 3, we’d better be winning 8 games or more, and in year 4, we should be competitive for the championship. That’s the timeline. That’s reality. That is what I expect.
We all need to be patient and give Gus the time he needs to rebuild this program from the disaster that Chizik left. We don’t need to be dumping ridiculous things on him next year like “win 7 games or you are a failure”. That is STUPID. That would be like handing Jerry Seinfeld the script of “Schindler’s List” and saying, “here, make this funny.” You can’t make something funny that isn’t funny. You can’t take a team full of losers and make them winners overnight. There is no doubt some house cleaning coming. I expect to lose recruits, and I expect to lose current players, even good ones. I don’t care. If their attitude sucks, they can go back to being a Whopper Flopper and dream about what they might have been. Reuben Foster is a prime example. I don’t care how many stars he has by his name. If he’s a whiny little prima donna titty baby, kick him to the curb. I’d rather have a three star that has the right attitude. The current Heisman winner was a three star. Hell, I remember watching the NFL all star game two years ago, and the announcers made an interesting point. The total number of former five star recruits that were playing in the game? ONE. (Derrick Thomas).
So, the moral of the rant is, get your expectations in line with reality. Gus is going to need time, and he’s not going to need people like us jumping all over him if he loses a few games to start. He’s got a terrible mess to clean up, and it’s not going to be easy. I’ll concern myself with wins and losses in about 2 more years. Right now, I just want to see a change in play. I want to see improvement. If I see that, I’ll be one happy little ranter.