A New & Improved Gus Malzahn

July 29, 2018 By Skye Underwood

Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn hoisted up by his 2019 commitments/(Owen Pappoe’s Twitter)

I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying, “a team takes on the personality of its head coach.”

That statement may not be more evident than when you take a close look at the Auburn football program and its head coach Gus Malzahn, who is entering his sixth season on the plains.

At least from my perspective, it seems that Auburn plays its best football when Gus appears to be relaxed, cool, calm and collected i.e. 2017 versus Alabama. However, when you notice Gus on the sidelines being anxious, nervous and stressed, Auburn seems to play not to lose, which ultimately leads to disappointment i.e. 2017 @LSU. 

Recently, Gus Malzahn seems to be more relaxed as ever. Maybe it’s the new contract extension he signed. Maybe it’s the satisfaction of knowing that he has a legitimate top-ten team going into the 2018 season headlined by a potential All-American quarterback and uber-elite front seven. 

Or maybe the future of Auburn Football has never looked brighter considering the current state of the program and the top-shelf prospects that continue to pledge their commitment to the 2019 & 2020 Auburn recruiting classes.

Whatever the case may be, it’s evident that Gus Malzahn has never been more comfortable in his own skin as the Auburn head football coach than he does right here, right now.

After SEC media days concluded in Atlanta a couple weeks ago, several media figures commented on how they had never seen Malzahn so loose and relaxed.

Gus Malzahn has always been known as a coach who plays it very close to the vest and quite frankly has come across as up-tight in the past, but that’s not the same Gus we’re seeing in the summer of 2018.

And considering what he’s done in his first five years as a Power-5 head coach – all at Auburn – it’s no wonder why he’s so loose and relaxed.

•(1) SEC Championship (2013)

•(2) SEC West Championships (2013, 2017)

•Played for National Championship (2013)

•(2) seasons of 10+ wins (2013, 2017)

•National Head Coach of the Year (2013)

•SEC Head Coach of the Year (2013)

•Broken over 38 Auburn offensive records

•Became 1st and only SEC school to lead the country in rushing (2013)

•Auburn has more rushing yards than any SEC team in last five years (2013-2017)

•Auburn holds current SEC record of producing 1,000 yard rusher 9 consecutive seasons (2009-current) while 11 players achieved that mark. (Malzahn was at AU as an offensive coordinator or head coach 8 out of those 9 years)

•Malzahn is the only coach in the SEC to defeat Nick Saban and he’s done it twice, holding an impressive 2-3 record vs. ‘the best coach in the history of college football‘

But for all the accolades and accomplishments – make no mistake about it, Malzahn has had to learn on the job on how to be a successful Power-5 head coach – there have been inconsistencies and fair criticisms during his tenure on the plains, but nothing that can’t be fixed. Besides, the Auburn program as a whole has arguably never been in better shape.

So credit the Auburn administration and fanbase for exercising patience because it has brought out the very best in its head coach, and in return Gus Malzahn has started bringing out the very best in Auburn.