I've been on record before that barring a, shall we say, Chizikian Collapse, Gus Malzahn should not be on the hot seat in any way, shape, form, or fashion this season. It looks like Jay Jacobs believes the same thing.
Just a few short weeks ago, Auburn announced they were adding an extra year to Gus Malzahn's contract. At the time, there were plenty who said this didn't mean anything, much. I was one of those, as well. I thought it was a shoring up of a situation that could still go south in some way if the worst case scenario happens this Fall. It was primarily a move to reassure people - mainly recruits and their families - that Gus Malzahn will still be the coach in 2017. If you want proof of that, see this tweet by current 2017 commit Tadarian Moultry which goes along with some of his other tweets to indicate one or two commits may be deciding based on Malzahn's job status.
I'm Gone Drop This Here Just Incase You Recruits Or Coaches Didn't Know. So Why Not Commit To AU? He NOT LEAVING! pic.twitter.com/8BE0O4VTEg— On The Way Duece ! ™ (@Humble10_) June 22, 2016
Yesterday, Jay Jacobs clarified that with his statements that what Auburn football needs most is stability. I agree with Jacobs. Chizik was the first Auburn football coach to be fired before his first full contract was up. That was because of the level of the 2012 collapse. Every other coach has gotten at least five seasons. While 2015 was bad, the Tigers were still competitive in nearly every game. That's something you absolutely cannot say about the 2012 team.
If the Tigers still struggle in 2016, then Gus Malzahn's seat should definitely be hot in 2017. I've always felt that 2016 should be safe, though. Things went south last season. Gus' history suggests it was an anomaly. There are playmakers on both sides of the ball maturing or arriving this season. Sure, the pundits in Vegas are predicting a similar situation to last year, but no one really knows how this team will perform.
What I do know is that Gus Malzahn and his offense have taken Auburn to the highest levels during a time when our in-state rival has been on an unprecedented run through college football. That says a lot. In a time when Alabama has been dominant, Auburn has been competitive and even won one national title and played for another themselves.
Sure, there have been some bad seasons, too. Malzahn's offense struggled in 2011 in a manner that is reminiscent of 2015: some QB questions and there was a lack of "hurry-up" to his "HUNH" philosophy. If the Tigers settle on a QB this season, and with Herb Hand on board, as well, the possibilities are there to see a return to Malzahn form along the lines of 2007-08 Tulsa and 2013-14 Auburn (depending on the QB).
I honestly think Malzahn's job stability would have been settled on the field in 2016, anyway. I'm still happy Jacobs clarified things in the way that he did, though. Barring a monumental collapse, Gus Malzahn should still be the Tigers' head coach in 2017. I'm happy with that, and I think it's the right answer.