Category Archives: Auburn’s Cast of Thousands

“It wasn’t just the quarterback last year.”

I guess if you’re a head coach making $4 million a year who’s coming off a disappointing season, “I’m a football coach, not a CEO” is the new black.

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Gus surrenders.

This is what comes of being in the same division with Nick Saban and Les Miles.

If Greg Sankey had a sense of humor, he’d call up Malzahn and tell him he had some good news and some bad news:  Auburn’s moving to the East, but so is Alabama.  Oh, and by the way, the Tigers’ permanent cross-division rivalry game will be against LSU.

Of course, this follows in the fine Auburn tradition of Tuberville dropping FSU from the schedule as soon as he took the job.  As the head coach on the Plains, if you can’t beat ’em, walk away from ’em.

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When you’ve got three quarterbacks…

Gus Malzahn is so pleased with Auburn’s quarterback competition that he’s invited a fourth kid to transfer for a shot at immediate playing time.

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Back to the garage for the Gus Bus

I know it’s only a spring game, but even with that in mind, I have to think that Auburn’s teams’ offenses going a combined 1 for 22 on third-down conversions isn’t particularly happy news for Malzahn.

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UPDATE:  Nor is this.

Auburn’s A-Day crowd is among the best in school history, but it still managed to be the least-attended spring scrimmage of the Gus Malzahn era.

An estimated crowd of 45,723 watched the game, ranking sixth overall in school history for an A-Day scrimmage. It’s the worst number since 2012, when 43,427 showed up to watch Gene Chizik‘s final spring as the Tigers’ head coach.

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That’s so Auburn.

It looks like Gus Malzahn will be the coach moving to the front of the hot seat line this season.  And with a track record like this

The idea of a coach being on the hot seat 27 months after he played for the national title to end his first season seems ludicrous, but remember, this is the program that fired Malzahn’s predecessor, Gene Chizik, 22 months after he won the national championship in his second season. The Auburn family wants what it wants, and it wants it now.

… who’s to say that meme is wrong?

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Happy talk on the Plains

For any other mortal team, this might be a sign of some concern:

For the second straight year and third time in four years, Auburn is focused on installing a new defensive system during spring practice.

But not at Auburn, people.  While Kevin Steele hasn’t found the time yet “to make substantial qualitative evaluations of his personnel”, it doesn’t matter, because he’s got his secret sauce.

“What we’re trying to create right now in the third day, first day of pads so the first real day of football, is to be a physical, dominating group that plays with relentless effort,” Steele said Saturday afternoon. “The thing that is the most encouraging at this point, in the first three days, is we’ve got a really, really good attitude. We have really tried to play with great effort on every play.”

Yeah, ’cause that was the one thing Boom never thought of last season.

But, look!  The players are buying in already – or at least doing what players usually do in March, which is to make mouth noises about buying in.

Steele’s message is resonating with the players and they’ve responded.

“That’s what he’s been preaching the whole practice: effort and you build off of that,” defensive tackle Dontavius Russell said. “Making sure we all got good effort to the ball and stuff like that. … He said (Saturday) we’re playing with good effort. We’re trying to build an identity as a team and that’s with effort.”

Unlike in 2015, that is.  Speaking of which, I guess there’s one area of the defense that doesn’t need to have magic pixie dust sprinkled on it to excel, because…

The defensive line remains the least impacted by the change in coordinators as defensive line coach Rodney Garner has remained on staff the entire time under coach Gus Malzahn. So too has Garner’s demanding ways on and off the field.

“You just got to learn to take to a coach, and that’s what I had to learn: Learn to get coached hard,” defensive tackle Devaroe Lawrence said. “That ain’t a bad thing. He’s just demanding the best in you.”

Garner’s gonna Garner, in other words.  Although it’s worth pointing out that demanding the best in you and getting the best in you are two totally different things.

Eh, it doesn’t matter.  Auburn’s gonna be relentless.  Really relentless.

“The technique stuff, the scheme stuff, that’s a process that is going to take some time and we got to go day-to-day with that and evaluate it and keep teaching,” Steele said. “But the physical dominance of things of being a physical player, of playing with relentless effort and I’m talking about when you watch them play you say that they’re playing with relentless effort every play, that is something we’re pushing real hard.”

No, I take that back.  Really, really relentless.

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Thursday morning buffet

Enjoy part of the culture at GTP with this morning’s servings.

  • Gus visits Art Briles.  Maybe he’s just a big fan of Baylor basketball.
  • The NCAA’s gonna NCAA.
  • A few tips from a team’s new coordinator on installing a new offense.
  • Georgia Tech’s recruiting is even more Chantastic than you thought.
  • With each passing day, the genius of Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott becomes ever more genius-ier.
  • Kirby really wants to hear from you about G-Day QBR, folks:  “Y’all email my secretary. She’ll send them to me. I’m sure there’s a lot in here smarter than me with quarterback play.”  Based on message boards and comment threads, I can vouch for that.
  • Those of you who think you’ve shared enough life experience to know how every twenty-year old college athlete should behave ought to see this.  (You really don’t, in other words.)  Not to mention it makes for a pretty jarring juxtaposition with this.

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