Category Archives: Auburn’s Cast of Thousands

Chicks dig the pop pass.

Gus Malzahn, brave defender of the status quo, touches the last base in opposing the downfield lineman rule change.

“Scoring will be down. You’re not going to see teams scoring as many points, and when it’s getting harder all the time to get fans to come to games, is that something that college football wants?”

I dunno.  I kinda enjoyed it when Georgia held Malzahn’s offense to seven points.

Seriously, I figured that was coming.  And it touches on a nerve.  There’s some point when you cheapen the ability to score so much that it debases the game.  I’m not saying we’re at the point – although I don’t doubt there are plenty who would say otherwise – but arguing that the more pinball action to the game, the better doesn’t give me the warm and fuzzies, either.

Besides, I thought you were Mr. Creative, Gus.  Surely a little setback like a rule change won’t be an insurmountable block for a guy with your offensive vision.  Even if you only finished fourth in the conference in scoring last season with the rule the way you like it.


Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Strategery And Mechanics

Gus Malzahn, selfless and sensitive

Auburn’s coach wants you to know that his objection to the proposed rule change about linemen blocking downfield is more than just about him.  He’s doing it for the children high school coaches everywhere.

“That’s part of the creativity of the game,” Malzahn said. “I’m not into anything that takes the creativity out of the game. You know, you see a lot of coaches around the country, specifically high school coaches that are coaching in college, that’s very important to them.”

Isn’t that how life is sometimes?  One minute, you’re pulling down $4 million a year and the next the Man has a boot on your throat.

Speaking of the Man, here’s the NFL knocking his system.

The divide between offensive philosophies in the NFL and college football is still very wide, especially when it comes to the quarterback position.

Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians was very critical of no-huddle offenses during last month’s NFL Combine.

“So many times, you’re evaluating a quarterback who has never called a play in the huddle, never used a snap count. They hold up a card on the sideline, he kicks his foot and throws the ball,” Arians said. “That ain’t playing quarterback. There’s no leadership involved there. There might be leadership on the bench, but when you get them and they have to use verbiage and they have to spit the verbiage out and change the snap count, they are light years behind.”

Gus strenuously objects to that.

As the innovator of the Hurry-Up, No-Huddle philosophy, which utilizes play cards and signals from the sidelines and an incredibly simple verbiage, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn stood by his system.

“I think every coach has their own opinion,” Malzahn said. “Obviously I like what we do, I agree with what we do. That’s where the game is going, regardless of anybody’s opinion. But we feel strongly with what we do.”

Obviously.  And when quotes like Arians’ get thrown back in his face on the recruiting trail – it’s the SEC, so you know they will inevitably – what’s the rebuttal, especially when you see the pros looking at moving Nick Marshall to defensive back?  Why, it’ll be to place the fault on the NFL.

“I know he can be a quarterback at the next level,” Malzahn said. “It needs to be the right system. You’re talking about a guy who’s probably one of the best zone-read quarterbacks in the history of college football.”

If only some owner would just go ahead, bite the bullet and hire a high school coach…


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

Tuesday morning buffet

A little snow, a little buffet…


Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Big Ten Football, Fall and Rise of Bobby Petrino, Georgia Football, Georgia Southern Football, It's Just Bidness, Recruiting, Science Marches Onward, SEC Football, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics

Wednesday morning buffet

A warm buffet for a cold morning.


Filed under ACC Football, Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Georgia Football, Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water, Recruiting, Science Marches Onward, SEC Football, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics, The Body Is A Temple

Stability pays.

You may have heard that in the most recent (2013-4) financial report filed with the NCAA, Alabama claimed a $33 million surplus in its athletics operations while Auburn posted a deficit of $13.7 million for the same.

Setting aside the usual black magic, book-cooking disclaimer for any numbers a school generates about its athletics department, if you take it for granted that Alabama had a better financial go of it than did its neighbor on the Plains, there are some interesting takeaways from the linked article.

Start with this:

Both schools have won a football national championship in the last five years, but Auburn has gone through a coaching change and Alabama hasn’t. Same thing goes for basketball where Auburn made a change last year, while Anthony Grant has been in Tuscaloosa since 2009.

Auburn is on the hook for buyouts for former football coach Gene Chizik and basketball coach Tony Barbee, among others — adding an additional $4,846,662 in severance payments. Alabama, meanwhile, only paid $272,140 in severance payments in 2013-14.

The stability of Alabama’s two revenue sports has helped it avoid costly buyouts and build up its financial coffers.

Because Alabama hasn’t been on the roller coaster ride that Auburn football has enjoyed over the past five seasons, it hasn’t taken the hit financially.  And that just doesn’t extend to head coaches, either, when you consider what Auburn is on the hook for replacing defensive staff this offseason.  Assistants leave Alabama, but they do so of their own volition, which is a no-cost situation for the school.

The point is that while there is more than one way to skin the cat when it comes to chasing excellence, as a general rule, this suggests over the long haul that landing on the right guy and sticking with him through changing market conditions (i.e., paying your head coach $7 million/year) is going to be better for the bottom line than going the flavor of the month route.  And for those who suggest otherwise, it’s worth pointing out one last note.

Auburn collected $4.384 million in student fees, while Alabama collected nothing. Essentially, Auburn students are directly subsidizing the athletic department.

Of course, those students go to Auburn, so maybe they don’t care, but all other things being equal, I bet they’d prefer not to stroke the check if they don’t have to.


Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, It's Just Bidness, Whoa, oh, Alabama

Out in the open

Get ready for a whole new front in the recruiting wars to be opened by our friends on the Plains.

In the autonomy session last month, the SEC proposed a rule that would require schools to disclose what they’re including in the full cost of attendance for athletes, including any variances from the school’s average cost, but it was voted down by the other conferences.

“It was really more of a system to make sure everybody stays in line with what the university cost of attendance is and you don’t wake up all the sudden and some institution triples it one day,” Auburn athletics director Jay Jacobs said. “Maybe people thought it was too bureaucratic, too much paperwork. Maybe people didn’t quite understand it, but we know if we go through a year of this and there needs to be checks and balances, it wouldn’t surprise me if the other conferences caught up.”

It’s not hard to envision a world coming to fruition in which those checks and balances might be necessary.

Jacobs, for instance, said the average full cost of attendance benefit for Auburn athletes is likely in the neighborhood of $6,000 per year, with an additional $1,500 if they enroll in summer school. That number would rank among the highest in the SEC and perhaps even a couple thousand dollars more per year than some of the regional schools Auburn regularly recruits against.

Will that be an advantage Auburn can point to in a close recruiting battle? You better believe it.

“We think student-athletes are going to choose Auburn because it’s the best place for them to come and get an education and compete, but certainly having a higher number than most in the Southeastern Conference is going to be helpful,” Jacobs said. “Having the lowest number in the SEC could be hurtful. The way we recruit and the quality of student-athlete we want, we hope that number isn’t a deciding factor but human nature says it could be depending on the circumstances.”

“The way we recruit and the quality of student-athlete we want”?  Heh.

Give it a couple of years and a chance for the new tactics to sink in, and we’ll be seeing a race to the top in full cost of attendance.


Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, It's Just Bidness, Recruiting

Thursday morning buffet

Here you go.


Filed under 'Cock Envy, Academics? Academics., Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football, Recruiting, SEC Football, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics, The NCAA