May 7, 2014
Anyone who doesn’t believe second-year Auburn football coach Gus Malzahn and his staff are making an enormous impact in building a college football program isn’t paying attention.
In recent years, most of the top players from the state of Alabama went to Alabama. And Alabama will always get its share. But Malzahn and friends have made it clear they are going to get their share, too.
Malzahn, clearly, inherited a lot of good players, some of whom he recruited during his days as Auburn’s offensive coordinator. But lots of those good players are going to be gone after this season. With another stellar recruiting class, this one ranked in the top three by every recruiting service, the building blocks for the future are rapidly being put into place.
Malzahn, those who know him well will tell you, exudes confidence. It’s not talk. He expects to win championships at Auburn for a long time.
“He’s the most confident man I’ve ever been around,” says one who is close to him.
That’s why Auburn might well be back in contention for the big prize in the coming season. The offense really might be as good as any in the game. Ellis Johnson’s track record says the defense will be much improved.
Watch Auburn’s softball team practice for even half an hour, and you’ll see why Clint Myers is one of the top coaches, if not the top coach, in college softball. From the tempo to the teaching, it’s unlike anything ever seen at Auburn.
Though you can’t say for sure, Myers probably doesn’t have quite enough to make his eighth College World Series appearance in nine seasons. But you can be assured that it won’t be long.
Offensive tackle Greg Robinson won’t have to wait long to hear his name called at the NFL draft on Thursday. Defensive end Dee Ford will go late in the first round or early in the second.
When I look back at their days at Auburn, it won’t be dominating blocks or sacks that I remember. I’ll remember two guys who did it the right way, who represented themselves and their families with pride and dignity.
How will they handle what’s ahead. My guess is they’ll handle it the same way they handled their time at Auburn.
It seems that every columnist who writes about the selection committee for the college football playoff feels obligated to first write about what great integrity they all have and that they will do a great job.
No doubt, the 13 members of the committee do have integrity. No doubt, they will do their best to get it right. But just because you are a person of integrity doesn’t mean your views aren’t affected by where you are or have been.
The whole selection committee concept is just bad.
Six Southeastern Conference teams – Auburn, Alabama, Georgia, LSU, South Carolina and Texas A&M – are expected to be ranked in the Top 25 in the preseason polls. And Auburn plays every one of them, as well as Kansas State on the road on Thursday night.
One thing is certain: If the Tigers run that gauntlet, nobody will be able to question whether they belong in the college football playoff.
Until next time …
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: