“We’ll Continue to Grind”—Auburn AD Allen Greene
Sitting in Jordan-Hare Stadium Saturday I was filled with a torrent of emotions not unlike those of most Auburn fans watching the Tigers allow another win to slip through their grasp. As the seconds ticked off the clock in the 30–24 loss to Tennessee, I knew that the coming week would see calls on social media and on Auburn chat boards calling for changes. The answer to where the program goes next is not an easy one, either, as Jay Coulter pointed out in his Monday editorial.
While I don’t propose to know how the situation will come out, I do know, like most of you reading these words, that I love Auburn. So after having a couple of days to settle down and gather my thoughts, I can only say, I’m not giving up on this season. Stay with me here because this is not an effort at pumping sunshine into what we all know is a dire situation.
I just don’t want to give up on the players. As far as I can see they still fight to the end in every game, and I owe it to them as a fan not to give any less in my support for them. There’s still a lot of football left to play. Are the odds in Auburn’s favor? It certainly doesn’t look like it. But I can’t see how making major changes to the program in midseason could help. Many will differ on that, and I certainly understand those feelings.
But, the one charged with stewardship of the program is Auburn Athletic Director Allen Greene. He weighed in on the question yesterday at the Birmingham Monday Morning Quarterback Club. When asked about the job security of the coaching staff, the AD said he plans to continue to support coach Malzahn. “Every one of us who are a former athlete or coach, expects more than anybody else expects of us,” said Greene. “So when you don’t have the outcomes you desire, that’s a frustrating thing. But he [Malzahn] is committed to working through it, and I’m committed to being there with him, and we’ll continue the grind.”
After turnovers and blown referee calls helped keep this team from having a 6–1 or even 7–0 record, my immediate concern moving forward is how much, mentally, the players can overcome? Sometimes there’s a thin line between success and failure, and often believing you can win is the difference. After three disheartening losses you have to wonder how much gas is left in the tank.
So despite Greene’s show of support, Gus has tremendous pressure on him now not to only win but keep this team believing after falling from preseason hype as a playoff contender. That has to be a tall order in the present climate. Can he do it? We will have the answer by Thanksgiving weekend. In the short run, the best thing to help the team believe would be a win. Maybe, just maybe, it will come this weekend in Oxford. For the player’s sake I hope it does.