September 13, 2017 at 12:58 pm #55465
I am sure we all know certain fans who have hit the panic button and others who are optimistic for the rest of the season. I fall in between the two extremes and recognize it is not time to scrap the whole season, but it is not time to ignore the obvious. As we continue into Malzhan’s 5th year, there is much to be learned from the first 2 games of the season. First, this might be one of the most talented defenses in Auburn history and this is a positive because they will keep us in every game this year. Secondly, the same offensive struggles have plagued this team so far as they did in 2015 and 2016. What we need to address is that, yes there is time to improve and make changes, but these struggles have made Malzhan’s clock start to wind down. If we have offensive letdowns against LSU, UGA, and Bama then Malzhan is as good as gone. Yes I know that 2013 was a miraculous year, but without a lucky tipped ball and one of the greatest plays of all time we end up 9-3 and with two straight losses to end the season. We all know what happened in 2014 with the defense letting just about everyone score all over it in the second half of the season. Since 2014, Malzhan has been a mediocre coach that has not shown the ability to develop players. Unless this season has a major turnaround then it looks like the Gus Bus has officially run out of gas.
September 13, 2017 at 1:41 pm #55466
Are these the same offensive struggles that put up 56 points on Arkansas in 2016?
Don’t forget that Auburn was ranked in the top 10 in early November until the entire backfield was injured against Georgia.
September 14, 2017 at 11:07 am #55467
I agree that the Arkansas game was one of the best performances of Malzhan’s tenure here, but we need to recognize that Arkansas had one of the worst run defense in the SEC giving up over 200 yards per game. The streak that Auburn went on to be in the top 10 was not against high quality teams. Outside of LSU, which Auburn did not score a touchdown, they played middle of the road teams or cupcake teams. Against UGA, Bama, and Oklahoma the offense only put up about 12 points a game. I would love to pin it on them being banged up, but this has become a trend in the Malzhan era. In 2015, against quality opponents Auburn could not put it in the end zone. I am not calling for Malzhan’s firing as of now, but if something does not change by the Iron Bowl then he needs to go.
September 14, 2017 at 4:14 pm #55481
You would like for Auburn to fire a coach that is outperforming what the school has historically produced?
Malzahn’s record is 36-19 at Auburn. That is a win percentage of 65.45%. Auburn University’s record is 742-422-47. That is a win percentage of 63.2%. Also of note, 2 of the best offensive seasons in Auburn’s History have come under Gus Malzahn as head coach (2013, 7,042 total yards and 68 touchdowns; 2010, 7,004 total yards and 72 touchdowns; 2014, 6,312 total yards and 55 touchdowns).
In 2015, no one in the country expected Jeremy Johnson to fail, but he did and Malzahn had to adjust. Malzahn and a freshman QB managed to salvage the season and get 2 crucial wins ON THE ROAD in the SEC. Also, Auburn lost 4 of their 6 games by one possession in 2015. If Auburn was as “lucky” as they were in 2013 and had won all of those one possession games, Auburn would’ve finished 10-2. Even still, Auburn only had 4,890 yards in 2015. Context on the entire season is necessary.
Since 2000, Auburn has averaged 5,034.24 yards per season and 43.1 touchdowns per season. In 2016, Auburn had 5,700 yards (13.22% above Auburn average) and 45 touchdowns (4% above Auburn average). Gus Malzahn is producing a product that increases the status of Auburn football, statistically speaking. He has also produced some of the best defensive play at Auburn since 2006. Something that Gene Chizik, a well respected defensive mind, couldn’t do.
September 18, 2017 at 12:56 pm #55514
I agree that certain stats might paint a different story, but what it honestly comes down to is wins and losses. No coach at Auburn should ever fall below .500 and this is because Auburn has at least three cupcake games a year that Auburn should never lose. Even though Malzhan has managed to almost lose to two FCS schools in the past three years. The biggest thing that has led me to form my opinion on Malzhan is the lack of player development. That is a huge part of being a successful head coach and under Malzhan Auburn has not been able to develop players to their full potential. If you look at the successful schools of the past few years, such as Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State, and Florida State, those schools have a track record of developing players and squeezing every ounce of potential out of the players. Luckily, Kevin Steele seems to be able to do this on the defensive side of the ball, but Malzhan has shown that he cannot do this consistently on the offensive side. The one thing that has stuck out to me since the Georgia game last year is the lack of emotion the team plays with. Against Georgia it seemed like the offense gave up about the 4th quarter and in the Iron Bowl it looked like our team was sleep walking and then to make things worse Alabama players came out and admitted that Auburn gave up. I think that speaks volumes about a Gus Malzhan led team and it will ultimately lead to his firing.
September 18, 2017 at 4:29 pm #55518
I agree it comes down to wins and losses. So it’s a good thing that Gus is winning at a higher rate than Auburn has in their illustrious history. My favorite thing about your response is that you say “it honestly comes down to wins and losses” then you say that “the biggest thing that has lead me to form my opinion is the lack of player development” but hold on because “the lack of emotion the team plays with…speaks volumes about a Gus Malzahn lead team and it will ultimately lead to his firing.”
I’m confused as to which you think it actually is, so I’ll address all three.
1. Wins and Losses
As I pointed out in my previous post, Gus has a higher win percentage than Auburn. What gets you, and most of the fanbase, is losses to Georiga and Alabama. I agree I don’t like seeing Auburn lose to Alabama and Georgia 3 years in a row. To simply say “wins and losses” is incorrect and doesn’t tell the whole scope of your dismay.
2. Lack of Player Development
This argument folds on itself when you say that “Kevin Steele seems to be able to do this”. Kevin Steele was hired by Gus Malzahn, therefore any good that comes from Kevin Steele subsequently comes back on Malzahn. Auburn just hired a new offensive coordinator and things are stellar through three games. However, you don’t seem to remember that the defense last year under Steele wasn’t great in his first 3 games. They gave up 755 passing yards (251.67/game) and 454 rushing yards (151.3/game) in the first 3 games last year and started 1-2. Time will tell if Chip Lindsey is the right hire, but he needs more than 3 games before that decision can be made.
3. Lack of Emotion
I can’t really speak to lack of emotion because I don’t fully understand the argument. If players are not excited to play, for what I feel is the greatest college football team in America, then they should be removed from the team. If players are not emotional against Alabama and Georgia (Auburn’s 2 biggest rivals) maybe football isn’t for them.
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