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Why Gus Malzahn Will Get Auburn Back to the National Championship Game

By on July 22nd, 2014 in Football 15 Comments »

                          Gus Malzahn coaching in the 2013 BCS Championship game. (photo:USAToday file)

Human beings have many things in common and one of our shared traits is that we all are afraid of something. Whether those fears seem rational to others or not doesn’t matter. It matters to us and that is what’s important.

For generations, studies and surveys have been done to ferret out what causes people the most anxiety. While the No.1 fear may be different from survey to survey, most reveal the fear of public speaking is near the top of the list

Popular comedian Jerry Sienfield once quipped, “According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that seem right? That means to the average person, if you have to go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”

While that’s funny, not everyone has public speaking ranked No.1. For me, it’s flying. I know, I know. I’ve been exposed to all those reasons why it’s a safe mode of travel and well meaning friends have tried their darn’est to convince me of the excellent safety record of air travel. None of the best arguments can change my mind. It’s all airline propaganda to me.

You see we all have something that causes us anxiety and often that fear drives us and motivates our behavior. That’s why I drove close to 4,000 miles (round trip) to watch Auburn play in the 2010 BCS Championship game.

So I can understand why Auburn Coach Gus Malzahn expressed his feeling Monday on ESPN’s Car Wash on what he fears the most. One interviewer asked Gus, “What’s your biggest fear?” The reigning SEC Championship Coach didn’t hesitate, “Losing” he said.

In that one word answer we may have discovered what it is that drives the man who is known as a focused coach, a furious and tireless worker who doesn’t need much sleep and seems to thrive on coffee and bubblegum.

He is a man who has not only won at every level he has coached at – he has won championships at every level from the high school ranks to college. In the three years he has been a college head coach, he has a .808 winning percentage.

Malzahn is a proven winner who we now know is driven by a fear of losing. It’s something that he just can’t abide. Past championships are a nice thing to have but with him, it’s never been about the past. It’s always about the future. And that’s why Gus will get Auburn back to the National Championship game.


  1. TigerWoman TigerWoman says:

    I’m so glad that Gus is at Auburn. I believe he will lead Auburn to more championships but more than that he is such a good ambassador for Auburn. I enjoyed watching him yesterday on ESPN and I enjoyed reading this story.

    Coach Malzahn’s fear is losing. Your fear is flying. Mine is Spiders. I can’t stand them and I Go crazy if I see one in the house!

  2. hello2196 says:

    Gus Malzahn is a driven coach who is detailed oriented and a real leader of men. You can tell that by the fire in his eyes and how players play for him. I have no doubt, he’ll get Auburn back to the national championship game.

    • hello2196 says:

      Oh yea, snakes, I’m afraid of snakes

      • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

        …..I’ve never understood the public speaking fear. Let me get up there! I’ll talk! I don’t mind looking foolish, either. I’m not that concerned about what comes out of my mouth. It’s the antics at the other end that might be embarrassing, depending on what I’ve eaten for lunch!

        …..Snakes don’t bother me much. Spiders, on the other hand…

  3. sparkey sparkey says:

    My ultimate fear…electricity. I’ve had all sorts of shocks done to me for the nerve conduction tests. They scare me to death and I cry like a baby now before one. That said, I face my fears. To the people who say those don’t hurt much, that’s BS. When you have bad nerves, once you feel the electric shock you feel the whole shock just like anybody else. I have to go Friday and get another test and I’m scared to death of it. Somehow, someway, I have to work up the courage to do it.

    Gus will get back again and play for another championship. I’m not sure about this season. The schedule is so tough. In addition, we have a target on our back and in some cases they are coming at us with everything. In the case of Arkansas, they’re going to start game planning specifically for us when practice starts and that bothers me. Still, this team has so much talent they have a good chance of going back to play for everything again. UGA and Bama both on the road is pretty tough for anybody. Add in a trip to K-State and opening with Arkansas, Auburn has a hard challenge to meet.

    We’ve got our hands full and our backs will be against the wall all season. That’s just the way we like it.

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      First of all Sparkey, thanks for your long time membership and participation here at TET – we appreciate you. I agree that the Tigers trip back to the NC, may not come this year but Gus will get ’em back to the big game.
      Secondly, I knew you had some health issues but I had no idea you have to have this kind of therapy. We’ll be thinking about you Friday.

    • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

      …..I’m sorry you’re having difficulties, Sparkey. Sounds rough. A few years back, I tried my wife’s TENS unit on my “tennis elbow.” She claimed it did wonders for her back, but I didn’t try that but ONCE! What fixed tennis elbow was time, mostly. I kept playing, and just wore a brace/borderline-tourniquet. I was told later that I should have gone in for a cortizone shot.

  4. wde1988 wde1988 says:

    To me the question is he worth the money? He knows his offense but can he adjust and keep his offense fresh. And can he consistently field a talented team? We saw in 2009 & 2011 what happened when he can’t.

    If he sits on his butt someone will eventually figure out a defense that can stop him.

    Right now in recruiting he seems to be just under the radar.

    This season will be interesting to watch. He already had two off field issues. I sort of think considering the pressure being placed on the team it will implode. Its easy when no one thinks you are capable. But when folks start focusing on you… that is a different story.


    • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

      Adjustments are at the core of this offense. The offense adjusts to the strengths and weaknesses of available personnel. It also adjusts to the strengths and weakness of the defenses it will face. Malzahn’s offense puts more pressure on defenses than any other offense that I have experienced or observed. Defenses load the box to stop the run at the risk of getting burned deep. By the way, load the box and we’re gonna run it down your throat anyway.

      Auburn recruiting is better than it’s ever been. Last years class was ranked anywhere from number 1 to number 9. The 2015 class is currently ranked somewhere between number 3 and number 8 with several slots left to fill. The 2016 class just recently gained the commitment of possibly the number 1 recruit in the country, Nate Craig.

      It will be very interesting to see how the off field issues are handled. I have faith that Malzahn will handle any issues Are the issues systemic? Not likely but there may be a few Chiz era guys clinging to the old ways. Judging by what I’ve seen and heard from Malzahn since he became Auburn’s head coach, I believe behind the scenes a message is being communicated that off the field shenanigans will not be tolerated.

    • sparkey sparkey says:


  5. War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

    I have an irrational (beacause ive never been in the situation) fear of floating in the open ocean. Who knows what might be watching you from the deep?

    If all Gus did for us was the Kick Six and the Prayer in Jordan-Hare, I’d say he is worth it. Those are two of my all time favorite memories now. In fact as I was reflecting on it the other day and someone told me ‘you can have a championship, but everygame would be boring and not memorable, or you can have AU’s 2013 season, what would you choose?’ I’d take the 2013 season. It truly was glorious!

    • sullivan013 sullivan013 says:

      You do realize you have a greater likelihood of encountering a dangerous “something” in knee to shoulder deep ocean/gulf shore water than in deeper water, (30-100 feet) don’t you? There is nothing for sharks to eat at the surface of deep water – most of the easy prey fish are deeper than your splashing (40-80 feet) or near shallow food sources like shellfish, piers, jetties, etc.

      By the way if this is your fear, never, never, never, never go up in one of those tourist helicopter rides over the Gulf beaches. You’ll never step foot in the water again.

      • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

        …..For the most part at the beach, I don’t go to any depth where I can’t still run! What will change that is a favorable surfing situation, but even then on the Emerald coast, the breakers are still where you can stand up most of the time. Honestly, I’m more at home these days in the sand, working on another castle.

        …..That said, this weekend I’m hoping to replace my prescription aviators I lost last August, falling off a surf board. Hopefully I won’t again be stupid enough to be wearing them when I try to hang ten! I had gone too many years without a serious fall…

  6. wpleagle wpleagle says:

    I wonder if there’s a message here – both of the guys who got caught with marijuana were experienced seniors, supposedly team leaders? Mincey goes back to Chiz, Marshall not so but did have his problems at UGA. Who knows in today’s world, as I have been shocked at the number of responses I have encountered poo-pooing the situation. Maybe I’ve lived too long!