N ick Saban is a rock star. But where does that leave Auburn football coach Gus Malzahn?
The truth is Auburn’s Malzahn is insignificant. The AJC provides two good examples of the situation in this state and beyond.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution explains the frenzy the Alabama football coach creates when he visits a high school. In this case, the AJC details what happened when Saban visited Ridgeland High School.
However, the real story is how Nick Saban has changed things in the state of Alabama.
Nobody remembers the days of Tommy Tuberville standing as the dominant figure in this state’s football scene.
According to the AJC, “When he went to Auburn High School (yes, located within a few miles of Auburn University), it was like the Red Sea parted. He was there to see Reuben Foster, the 5-star linebacker. All of sudden, it was like you couldn’t find an Auburn fan within 1,000 miles. Gus Malzhan was probably hiding under a desk.”
To buttress this claim, the AJC provides this quote from Foster via ESPN, “They were freaking out and taking pictures, and I thought they were supposed to be Auburn fans; I did not hear a single ‘War Eagle’ but I heard several ‘Roll Tide’s.’”
This is instructive of the larger state of Auburn football.
Auburn fans refuse to talk football. In fact, a few Auburn fans I know shunned televised football games this year as the season worsened. It was a move similar to how some Alabama fans coped during the malaise days of Mike Shula.
When the Auburn family executed the coup d’état and deposed the Gene Chizik football regime, there was hope. Some Auburn fans dared to dream.
They dreamed of a major NFL coach like Jeff Fisher or FSU coach Jimbo Fisher. The “reporting” of Auburn insider recruiting websites drove on these fans in their delusions. These websites have a history of such optimistic projections.
The recipe for success in reporting on recruiting at Auburn is to list Auburn as a top candidate for most of the big four or five-star recruits. This encourages the rank-and-file fans to part with their dollars in hopes of getting the latest recruiting scoop. When the Auburn target decides on a rival like Alabama, Georgia or Troy then simply report that the “Auburn staff cooled” on the prospect because of grades or character or Jesus personally told the Auburn preacher to pass.
This works every year.
Just rinse and repeat.
However, delusions don’t win football games or land recruits.
Auburn is dealing with a third-rate football coach in the top league in college football. The truth is Auburn could not land a major football coach in its last two coaching searches. It settled on Gene Chizik.
When that failed, the Auburn family settled on Gus Malzahn.
That brought a smile to most Alabama fans. Malzahn’s offensive attack is not the sophisticated scheme of a Bobby Petrino. Instead, Malzahn’s offense depends on misdirection and defensive players missing assignments. Sure, with the reduced practice time in modern college football, that can work. However, with the increased amount of film now available, most coaches have an easier time showing a defensive player what to expect in regards to motion, etc.
All Alabama fans can think is—“Run another trick play, bitch.”
The Tide is high and Nick Saban is atop college football. He is the best football coach leading college football’s latest dynasty.
And tomorrow looks even brighter in Tuscaloosa.