Category Archives: Auburn’s Cast of Thousands

BREAKING: The secret to Gus’ 2019 success

It’s not taking back the playcalling ($$), peeps.  Well, not exactly, anyway.

His return to his roots, combined with a performance from a reenergized Kevin Steele defense, led to a record-breaking rout of Purdue in late December. Following the Music City Bowl win, Malzahn seems more at home in this role than the out-of-place CEO he was the last few seasons. There’s an air of quiet confidence around the Plains with the head coach getting back to his old ways.

“I really do see a different Coach Malzahn,” senior defensive end Marlon Davidson said. “It’s kind of hard to explain because Coach Malzahn is not the type of guy that y’all think he is. I saw him listen to Kodak Black one time. He’s really evolving.”

You’ve been warned, SEC.

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands

Monday morning buffet

Knock yourselves out.

  • How does the transfer portal work?
  • ESPN’s Football Power Index projects Bama, Clemson, Georgia, Michigan and Oklahoma as favorites in every game on their respective schedules.
  • Here’s a look at the politics behind the move to name the Sanford Stadium field in honor of Vince Dooley.  Let’s just say Don Leebern wound up on the wrong side of history.
  • USA Today’s Paul Myerberg saw the same thing I saw at G-Day:  “The Bulldogs’ series of practices revealed a team loaded with underclassmen talent set to contribute at many important spots — such as the secondary, for example, which coach Kirby Smart singled out for praise multiple times in April.”
  • Pete Fiutak’s take on this year’s Auburn team“This year, grade the Tigers on a curve.”
  • Dabo is “disappointed” his program was mentioned unfavorably in the federal corruption trial into college basketball.  No shit, Sherlock.
  • Today’s SEC returning player stat may surprise you a little.

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Clemson: Auburn With A Lake, Georgia Football, Political Wankery, Stats Geek!, Transfers Are For Coaches.

Gus, you had one job to do.

So, you may have seen this scathing criticism of the quarterback whisperer.

“Jarrett Stidham, the kid from Auburn. Here’s this kid, he was a five-star, four-star kid at Baylor with Art Briles, okay? They have the absolute fiasco that happens there and then he decides to leave Baylor and goes to Auburn,” Lombardi says on the podcast. “Really if the kid was smart, he would have stayed at Baylor with Matt Rhule. Because if he plays with Matt Rhule at Baylor, he’s probably going to throw. He probably would have been a first or second-round pick. He’s easily better than Daniel Jones if he plays in an offense that would have highlighted what he can do.”

… To continue that thought, Lombardi then really went all in on Auburn’s offense, which he says could be the worst offense in all of football.

“That offense at Auburn, I’m not sure what the hell it is,” Lombardi said. “They run power, they run unbalanced… But anyway, that offense, seriously, might be one of the worst offenses in football, so you can’t evaluate a quarterback in it or they can’t train a quarterback, that’s the other thing. (Gus Malzahn) can’t train them.”

Tell us what you really think, man.

To be fair about it, I totally agree with this Jerry Hinnen rebuttal.

Ultimately, that is spot on.  Gus is being paid a lot of money, not to make the NFL love his quarterbacks, but to win Auburn football games.  (See, for example, Nick Marshall.)

But — and you knew there’d be a but — you can’t tell me Gus isn’t selling himself as some sort of QB guru on the recruiting trail.  And, yes, that includes Stidham.

Interesting point there.  Yes, Stidham led the conference in completion percentage in 2017.  However, his passer rating was only good for fourth best in the SEC.  Here’s the thing, though:  Stidham’s passer rating and completion percentage both declined last season.  Think that might have had any impact on Stidham’s thought process about returning for another year at Auburn?

Contrary to Lombardi, Malzahn’s offense is just fine, at least when he’s calling the plays.  (I expect the Tigers to rebound from what they accomplished under Lindsey last season.)  But there do appear to be some cracks in Gus’ quarterbacks coaching game, which, I admit, is a little weird, because after I saw what he did with Chris Todd a few years ago, I thought he really was something of a guru.

Gee, I wonder if there’s anything said about that on the recruiting trail these days.

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Strategery And Mechanics, The NFL Is Your Friend.

Two on the Gus Bus

It looks like we won’t find out who is destined to become the next hot Heisman Trophy candidate until the fall.

After 15 spring practices and several staff meetings, coach Gus Malzahn is moving forward with redshirt freshman Joey Gatewood and early enrollee Bo Nix over junior Malik Willis and redshirt freshman Cord Sandberg. Malzahn made the announcement this week at one of Auburn’s “Ambush Tour” spring speaking events in Dothan, Alabama.

“We left spring ball with Joey Gatewood and Bo Nix really 1 and 1A,” Malzahn told reporters at the gathering. “One of those two guys will be our starting quarterback in our first game. They’ll compete during the summer and in fall camp, and we’ll make a decision.”

Man, and that’s after all those “Joey is the next Cam” comments after the spring game.

I’m sure whoever makes the ultimate cut will be ready to deal with this.

Auburn’s starting quarterback will be greeted with arguably the nation’s most demanding schedule, as the Tigers have to face six teams who have appeared among the top 10 in early preseason rankings — Alabama, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Oregon and Texas A&M. Auburn opens Aug. 31 against Oregon inside AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Eh, that’s no sweat for the Gus touch.  He’s the quarterback whisperer.

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands

At Auburn, a tradition unlike any other

That sure didn’t take long.  Three days after Auburn’s spring game, they’re already comparing Joey Gatewood to Cam Newton.

Auburn, where there’s always another Heisman quarterback candidate waiting in the wings to blossom under Gus’ guidance.

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Blowing Smoke

Today’s burning question

Or, perhaps I should say Barning question:  which of the four vying to become Auburn’s next starting quarterback gets the coveted potential Heisman winner tag first?

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands

Anything we can do to help.

Kirby’s rolling out the red carpet for a good cause.

Oregon may be on a two-week hiatus from spring practice but Mario Cristobal and his coaching staff are on the road working in SEC country.

Cristobal brought the entire Oregon coaching staff to Tuscaloosa to attend Alabama’s practice and meet with the Crimson Tide coaching staff on Monday and then headed to Athens, Ga. to meet with Georgia’s coaching staff and attend the Bulldogs’ first spring practice, according to a source with knowledge of the staff’s trip.

Coaching staffs routinely visit other teams throughout the country during the offseason but what’s of particular note for Oregon’s staff is its visits are to the two biggest rivals of Auburn, its season-opening opponent.

Probably just a coincidence, Gus.

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Filed under Alabama, Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Georgia Football