Gus’ Grand Illusion

He doesn’t want much.

Gus Malzahn’s No. 1 goal this upcoming season is to field a top-10 defense. Yes, you heard that correctly.

“It’s not offense. It’s not ‘this or that.’ It’s for us to play top 10 defense,” Malzahn said this spring, according to Auburn’s official website.

To give you an idea of how off the charts this is, here’s Auburn’s national ranking in total defense over the last six seasons:

  • 2015 — 71st
  • 2014 — 66th
  • 2013 — 87th
  • 2012 — 81st
  • 2011 — 80th
  • 2010 — 60th

I’m sensing a pattern here, and it ain’t top ten.  And that’s with defensive stalwarts like Boom, Ellis Johnson, VanGorder and Chizik having their fingers in the mix.

Good luck with all that, Kevin Steele.

36 Comments

Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Stats Geek!

36 responses to “Gus’ Grand Illusion

  1. Russ

    All part of the narrative to shift blame away from his offensive genius.

  2. sliceshs

    Hated the ending of 2013 Auburn game…but that 2nd half when Murray/Gurley were running roughshod over that defense…man.

    Their best teams (2010 and 2013) had killer offenses that took all the pressure off the defenses. When their offenses slipped just a little, the team fell off big time.

    • BowlDawg14

      Yes…Gus says a better Defense will be the difference…yet in 2013, with the lowest ranked Defense (87th) in Gus’s era @ Auburn…Auburn made it all the way to the BCS Championship…but no way “his” Offense could be the problem….Nah!!!

  3. stoopnagle

    “Gus’ Grand Illusion” is that he’ll find his lucky horseshoe and somehow get it reinserted up his ass so far it doesn’t fall out again.

  4. Argondawg

    They seem to sign stud DLs every year and then they go to Auburn and just disappear. I don’t get it.

  5. I Wanna Red Cup

    He had the best defensive coordinator in the world last year and was 71st in total defense. How can you improve on the best?

  6. 3rdandGrantham

    I swear the Auburn Tigers are the Florida Marlins of CFB. They are mediocre most years and pretty much irrelevant — then out of the blue they’ll have a great season and get to/win a championship. Unfortunately for us, we’re the Braves of the 90’s/00’s, without that lone title.

    • Jared S.

      Lol. I can remember watching many a Braves game with my dad and brother in the 90’s and the Braves would throw away a game and my dad would always say, “That’s Brave’s Baseball.” In recent years, while watching Georgia, his only commentary after a game (2012 SECCG a prime example) was to say, “That’s Georgia Football.” =(

    • WF Dawg

      That’s an apt comparison, 3rd. And painful.

  7. I was totes going to say something nice about Kevin Steele, because his first two Clemson defenses were better than I remembered. Albeit in a depressed ACC in 2009 and 2010. And then I was thinking “I know he was fired because of a bad 2011”, and then I remember “wait, wasn’t that the year they lost to WVU in a playstation game?” and yep.

    So now I’m now saying anything nice about Kevil Steele.

  8. Mr. T

    So did Steele get to bring the 2-deep with him because for all the $$$ Auburn is paying him has to have some substance?
    As others noted, it his offensive Offense that makes or breaks him since clock control keeps the D off the field. From here, I’m not seeing any evidence of Gus’s O doing diddly squat with a bunch of untested noobs pressed into action. Clempson will annihilate them.

    • Jared S.

      I don’t often root for Clemson, but when they play Auburn…..

      • I hope Clemson beats Auburn like we beat Clemson in 2014.

        • 92 grad

          Me too. We just hired a guy, he’s a Clemson fan. Has a damn orange paw on him every day AND wears jorts exclusively. He’d better work his ass off and keep his mouth shut.

      • JCDAWG83

        Living close to Clemson fans, in spite of my cellular level hatred of Auburn, I will have to pull for Auburn in order to attempt to bring some humility back to the fat, red neck, orange wearing Clemson goober horde. After last season, they have truly become insufferable.

        • PTC DAWG

          I hope they beat the Barn like a rented mule……nobody makes you live amongst the Iptay’s.🙂

          • JCDAWG83

            I won’t be sad no matter who loses, I hate them both. A loss to Auburn would knock the rock petters out of the NC conversation, at least for a while, especially if Auburn went on to be mediocre at best. I’m sick of seeing orange and tiger paws.

            A Clemson win would be delightful on so many levels too. Auburn really can’t lose enough to satisfy me.

        • Russ

          “fat, red neck, orange wearing Clemson goober horde.”

          LOL! You should trademark that and print it on shirts.

  9. watcher16

    Just read an ESPN article that said all 3 of Auburn’s starting Linebackers from last year are gone. That won’t make things easier either…

  10. Borodawg

    Maybe he means top 10 defense in the SEC?

  11. W Cobb Dawg

    No worries, Steele has Garner there to lean on for help.

  12. Lrgk9

    Jeez Gus,

    What color is the sky in your world?

    Over/under on Gus Bus coaching on the Grant field flats in the near future?

  13. Bigshotdawg

    AU had a lucky season in 2013. What is that they say. “I rather be lucky than good.”

  14. Ant123

    Maybe he means top 10 in the SEC

  15. Ant123

    Sorry Borodawg. I just saw you said it first.

  16. steve

    “Gus’ Grand Illusion” ? More like “Gus’ Grand Delusion” …which will undoubtedly lead to a Gusxit and another $200 million in long term payouts to cover the guaranteed contracts of the other 482 ‘coaches, advisors, mentors, counselors, and jock-sniffers’ Gus has hired since ‘Make-Up’ Jacobs said he would spare no cost to win….especially since ‘he played the game and knows what it takes’. Auburn…where you can order lobster and they bring PB and J and melted butter. And no one pretends to notice while they take the crust off thinking it is the shell.
    Just put them where they belong: the NFL or the ACC

  17. Kroy Biermann

    Art Briles probably already has a real estate agent searching for a home in Opelika.

  18. Saltwater Dawg

    I was thinking fat chance, as HUNH offenses or offenses leading in OPPG typically do not have high ranked defenses. Clemson does stand out last year as #13 in OPPG and # 10 in Total Defense.

    Then I actually looked at Auburn OPPG last year – 86th. What happened last year? And they played poor defense to boot.

  19. Watch out folks. Guz may have found the rabbit’s foot and is giving it to the defense.

  20. ASEF

    It’s conceivable that Steele can find a combination on his defensive front – any 2 of Lawson, Cowart and Adams – that could disrupt the timing of the Clemson offense.

    It’s conceivable that Clemson’s defense finally craters after two straight years of early defections to the NFL, at least in the opener.

    But absent those two conceivables, the posibility of a top 10 defense could be out of the picture by the end of game 1.

    Also conceivable: Malzahn is already firing up the roasting pit to sacrifice Steele at the end of the season and get himself 12 more months of sweet checks before having to start over again as an OC somewhere else.

    • Argondawg

      It is conceivable that Deshaun Watson and company hang 45 or 50 on them. IMO he is the best QB in college by a very wide margin. He just takes over games, especially big games. I can’t be bitter that we didn’t get him……..oh hell I am bitter as hell that he is not behind center here. Who am I kidding?