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Under Malzahn, Hope Springs Eternal

Jordan-Hare Players Entrance

As he has many times before, Gus Malzahn is in the process of painting a masterpiece on The Plains. Though it was met mostly with excitement, Malzahn’s introduction as Auburn’s new head football coach was also greeted with a healthy dose of skepticism. Is he really ready to run an SEC program? Wasn’t he part of the problem when he was here before on Chizik’s staff? Is he going to be able to build a comparable coaching staff to compete with the likes of Saban and Miles? These questions and more were whirling in the heads of many Auburn fans.

In many ways the Auburn Family was being set up like so many Malzhan-stricken defenses of seasons’ past. No one really knew what to expect. Our previous experience with Gus should’ve indicated then, that he knew exactly what he was doing.

With his two most recent additions, Rich Bissacia and Dameyune Craig, Malzahn has assembled an experienced group of coaches that will provide a wealth of experience and formidable recruiting prowess. Auburn having former players Rodney Garner and the previously mentioned Craig on the recruiting trail will pay huge dividends in the future.

However, it is important not to become too fixated on the ability of this coaching staff to “salvage” the 2013 recruiting class. They will most certainly work as hard as possible to put together a high-caliber class, but it cannot be forgotten the time-frame with which they have to operate. Regardless of how the remainder of the class shakes out, the future is looking extremely bright. 

Just how bright remains to be seen, but in true Malzahn HUNH style, let’s fast-forward and see how the upcoming season looks from a comfortable distance.

Date

Game

Location

08/31/13

vs. Washington State

Auburn, Ala.

09/07/13

vs. Arkansas State

Auburn, Ala.

09/14/13

vs. Mississippi State *

Auburn, Ala.

09/21/13

at LSU *

Baton Rouge, La.

10/05/13

vs. Ole Miss *

Auburn, Ala.

10/12/13

vs. Western Carolina

Auburn, Ala.

10/19/13

at Texas A&M *

College Station, Texas

10/26/13

vs. Florida Atlantic

Auburn, Ala.

11/02/13

at Arkansas *

Fayetteville, Ark.

11/09/13

at Tennessee *

Knoxville, Tenn.

11/16/13

vs. Georgia *

Auburn, Ala.

11/30/13

vs. Alabama *

Auburn, Ala.

(Courtesy of AuburnTigers.com)

An early look at the schedule reveals:

  • Only 4 away games?! Only 4 away games! That is huge for this team bouncing back from the rocky campaign it endured in 2012.
  • Beware! The Dread Pirate! Washington St. provides a potential early threat considering Auburn’s chronic defensive struggles of late and a WSU offense in year two of the Mike Leach System.
  • Auburn Family/Jordan-Hare Coming (Back) Out Party! I’m calling it right here, right now. The Mississippi State game will provide a much needed re-energized and electric atmosphere inside Jordan-Hare Stadium. This game will be a great barometer for where the team is. If the prior meeting between these two schools doesn’t inspire the Tigers to take it to the Bulldogs then I don’t know what will.
  • Enjoy the first 6 weeks. After the Western Carolina game on October 12th, the schedule gets much more hostile. Three of Auburn’s four road games are in the second half of the season, but trips to Arkansas and Tennessee will -possibly provide an opportunity to snag an SEC road victory.
  • Heeeere’s  Johnnny(Football)! A “not-so-bad” opening 6 week stretch (excluding LSU) heading into the October 19th matchup with Texas A&M.
  • Déjà vu! Yes, you read that correctly. Georgia will be returning to Jordan-Hare for the second season in a row.

The road ahead does not look too daunting for the maiden voyage of the U.S.S Gus-Bus, but it is still far too early to do much more than guess. However, it is an exciting time to be an Auburn Tiger. Tracy Rocker is a name that continues to get dangled in rumors regarding who will fill the remaining spots left on the staff, but only time will truly tell. I’m confident that, within a few days, Malzahn will have completed putting the finishing touches on his coaching staff in stunning fashion. I don’t know what to expect, and I love it. Here’s hoping that Gus has a few more tricks left up his sleeve.  

Auburn Family - In Gus We Trust 2

20 Comments

  1. Malakai Malakai says:

    Nothing quite like seeing Auburn come out of the tunnel. Can’t wait for September!

  2. mccullars says:

    What would Tracy Rocker do? We have a D-line coach.

  3. tigertracker says:

    So once again we have our recruiting covered. Maybe I dreamed this, but did Gus just snatch the perceived best recruiters from UGA, clemson, FSU, and Miss ST.?
    Now can they coach together and put a dominant squad on the field. I’d guess at least half of our roster was recruited by one or more of these guys already so as we’ve previously said…the talent is there.

    • KoolBell KoolBell says:

      Yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus. The recruiting coordinators from UGA, FSU, and Clemson are now at AU. Not quite sure what Coach Smith’s label was at MSU as it pertains to recruiting, but he is widely known as an excellent recruiter.
      Most importantly, all of these coaches have proven they can coach the talent they recruit, except maybe Lashlee, and that is simply because he is just getting started in his career. He is off to a great start though, if you look at Arkansas State’s QB play this past season.

      • wde1988 wde1988 says:

        You are right… we have 4 top notch recruiting coaches.

        And that isn’t even counting Johnson or Malzahn.

        Just saying.

        KB – what position is left to fill? And I am curious… what will the heirarchial diagram of Malzahn’s team look like? Have you seen some of the job titles?

        WDE

  4. wde1988 wde1988 says:

    Before I get all giddy and warm all over… I am going to take a step back and say that we need to see the fall out of the “change”. Last years team will need to shake out the dead heads before we can make any assertions on future AU teams.

    Will the players embrace Gus? His coaching staff?

    I think so. But there will be some issues resolved on work ethic and comittment in the off season. It’s hard to put a price tag on that… or on how important it is. But if things go well… I think the fall will prove to be worth the investment in Auburn football tickets.

    Call it baby steps, but I think that if AU can beat Texas A&M in College Station… we can call the season a success. I am guessing that AU rolls in there at 5-1 – just a hunch. If we eeck out a win against A&M… I think AU will be playing in a Post new year day bowl game.

    :)

    Isn’t it amazing what a positive coaching staff will do for your outlook??

    War Eagle

  5. Tigerstripe Tigerstripe says:

    I’m going to go with 9-3 at this point and third place in the West. Hoping that all the hype on paper will translate onto the field. Cautiously optimistic but I do believe our future is so bright, we gotta wear shades… Let’s start a “shade-wearing” campaign to show our support for the upcoming season, team and coaching staff.

    Everyone wearing their 80s wayfarers to A-day…

    “I’m doin alright, getting good grades. My future’s so bright, gotta wear shades!”

  6. MyAuburn myauburn says:

    Thoughts.

    I agree the future looks bright but I am not willing to be as optimistic as Tigerstripe. 7-5 or 8-4 seems possible. Anything better than that is a big bonus.

    Watching Oregon last night sure made me look forward to the Gus Bus in overdrive.

    I am not holding out much hope for Rocker. I just don’t see a place to put him given our current staff.

    With the recruiting prowess we now have on staff, I personally will be disappointed with less than a top 10 class.

  7. War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

    I think 8-5 is the most realistic number for next year. But 9-4 or 10-3 is a real possibility if our turnover margin on the year drastically improves on both sides of the ball. I think the Louisville game is the begging of the end for the Mad Hatter, here’s to an AU victory in the fall! Also, I’m thinking (hoping) AU finally get’s UGA off it’s back too. War Eagle!

    • wde1988 wde1988 says:

      “The begging of the end for the Mad Hatter”

      Losing by a point?

      I can’t see it.

      WDE

    • TexasAUTiger says:

      You mean Clemson and I agree with WDE, they just gave him an extension and raise so I don’t see him going anywhere due to just that loss.

      • War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

        I take it back, the beginning of the end for Miles was almost losing to this past years AU team THEN losing to a Clemson team that almost lost to AU.

  8. Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

    It’s incredibly easy to get our expectations completely out of whack with reality. Despite the epic-awesomeness of this coaching staff, next year, we will be rebuilding. It is always harder to ‘retrain’ than it is to train from scratch. Old habits die hard. Don’t get me wrong, this staff is built for success, but we might be taking baby steps before we are able to make big strides. The Kool Aid on the GusBus is pretty damn good though, right???!!!

    War Eagle!

  9. Malakai Malakai says:

    To your point Mountain; I like the fact that the kids with bad attitudes no longer have anyone on the staff to go cry to or protect them from things like discipline and accountability. TT is gone boys. It’s time to man up or get the hell out of that blue uniform.

  10. spanky says:

    I’m still reserving my expectations until after week 1. Last year taught me a huge lessen on expectations and getting hyped about a team. While i’m excited by the hire, I can’t justify getting amped up about a team that hasn’t played yet.

  11. Malakai Malakai says:

    With the hire of Tim Horton I’m beginning to think that being a master recruiter was a prerequisite for being hired onto CGM’s staff?

    Let’s not forget that we’ve already had great recruiting classes, we just didn’t have the coaches to to nurture the talent. Hopefully the two are not mutually exclusive. And let’s not forget we DID just throw a monkey wrench into the recruiting status of what..four schools? FSU, Georgia, Arkansas, and Tenn? I know I got that wrong somewhere.

  12. Malakai Malakai says:

    Please excuse my last post. Never start drinking before five, even if you have the day off!