Auburn’s 30-24 loss to Tennessee may end up proving to be the one that gives people enough cause to get rid of Gus Malzahn. Since the 2014 loss to Texas A&M, the reverse-resume for Gus has grown and grown.
There’s the 2015 season, starting in the top ten and finishing with a Birmingham Bowl bid. There’s the run during 2016, after the LSU game that temporarily saved his job, where we played like the best team in the SEC until Sean White’s arm fell off. Auburn limped home from Amen Corner with losses. Then last year, there’s the dependency on Kerryon Johnson and the lack of a backup running back that ruined the Playoff hopes in Atlanta.
The point is, the takeaways from this game may be more big picture than looking at things that can be fixed on the line, or with the play calls, or the pass defense.
It truly is the biggest roller coaster known to man, being an Auburn fan.
“I thought on that opening drive that things might’ve been different. But, I got suckered in again. You can’t lose to this Tennessee team. You just can’t. I don’t care if they play their best of the season. I won’t pretend to know what went wrong, and I’m not sure Gus can’t be a successful coach with a clean start somewhere else. But it’s time. War Eagle.” - Ryan Sterritt
“Gus will be fired at 5-7. Tickets get canceled. 6-6 he probably stays and we win 9 games next year.” - AU Chief
“Inexcusable loss. As a long-time Gus defender it’s time... COUGH ... FIRE GUS.” - AU Nerd
“For what this Tennessee team was coming into the season, and what they were through the first part of the year, this is a loss that you can’t explain away. I honestly thought the coaches put the players in good position today, but between Ryan Davis forgetting how to be an explosive return man, Darius Slayton forgetting how to catch, and the defense from forgetting how to defend, there’s no way that we could’ve won. Stidham’s turnovers were awful. Both picks were the type of balls that Joe Random off the street would throw, and the fumble was icing on the cake. What’s worse is that Auburn looked really good for at least the first quarter today. The offense clicked on the first two drives, and had nearly 300 yards in the first half. We play about 35% good football at times, and we fix some problem areas without addressing others. Or we fix something, and then a new issue emerges. It’s definitely not all on the coaches, and it’s definitely not all on the players, but they don’t seem to be working together. There were some really heartfelt comments in postgame about sticking together and improving, but we needed to be doing that a month ago. October is the equivalent of golf’s Moving Day, and we essentially booked ourselves a ticket home after a missed cut. I don’t know if I’m fully on the Fire Gus bandwagon yet, but it’s not for the lack of a need for a better coach, it’s that I have no idea who would actually work out and be as successful as we hope.” - Jack Condon
Some people are already in basketball mode. It’s honestly not the worst thing in the world at this point.
“Man, I really think people are sleeping on Chuma Okeke. He might be our second-best NBA prospect and can really stretch the floor at the 4. I hope the pace of play is high enough for him to catch mad lobs from Harper too.” - Son of Crow
“Don’t forget about Samir Doughty. The VCU transfer will complement Harper and Brown beautifully in the Auburn backcourt. The light is at the end of the tunnel as basketball starts in 23 days!” - Will McLaughlin
And some blind items from the group chat yesterday:
“Malik Miller runs like the field is slanted uphill.”
“Maybe we aren’t as good on D as we thought?”
“When did we rehire Ted Roof?”
“When did Tyler Wilson put on a Guarantano jersey?”
“I think that play is on film now.” (talking about the reverse pass)
“We can’t trust a quarterback that’s 1-0 against Alabama.”
“We are actually very good at big plays, minus the execution. We are just not good enough at everything else.”
“It’s almost like Tennessee is strategically trying to get into third and long today.”
“Gonna be real with y’all. Lose this game and I’m on the Fire Gus wagon.”
“This whole playing injured player thing might be my biggest gripe. He did to Sean White. He did it to Kerryon. He did it to Carl Lawson. He did it to Boobie. And now Marlon was in on the extra point.”
“Just bet my Mom with 2:1 odds that we get inside the 30 and fail on 4th down.” (This was right before we did indeed get inside the 30 and fail on 4th down)
“Ole Miss’ strength is throwing back shoulder bombs. And our offensive strength is running on and off the field”
“Here’s the crazy thing. That was a damn winnable game even in the 4th. And Gus will probably be the first coach to take Tulane to the playoff.”
“But for real, I’m really sad to be off the bus. I like Gus and still think he has great potential. But I’m all out of excuses and justifications.”
“If we can’t be happy then I want the Dawgs to be just as miserable.”