1. Apart from 2013 and part of 2014 into 2015 Gus has not had the full support of the school and boosters on down and has NEVER gotten the support needed to compete on a similar level as the big boys (WE DON'T EVEN HAVE A FOOTBALL ONLY FACILITY YET).
- This one will take a bit. I keep seeing various point on this but one that kind of sticks in my craw is the comparison that folks keep making with us to Clemson, about how they got tired of being where they were at and they changed. This comparison sucks frankly. What Clemson did is they gave their interim coach (their WR coach no less) a chance to prove himself AAANNNDD gave him the support, facilities and whatever they could in order to put him in a position to succeed AANNNDDD they were patient with him from the top down seemingly. I could be wrong a bit here but it's not like he got undercut or lost support from the school/boosters after 2010 after losing 7 (!?!? in the ACC! Year 2.5 for Dabo) games and he didn't lose it in the years he lost 4 and 3 games or when Clemson kept "Clemsoning" prior to 2015. On top of that almost all of the "traditional" powers of the ACC like FSU, Miami and VT have been down most of his tenure and their biggest rival is USCe. I'm sorry but that's not comparable at all to our situation where most of our rivals and our biggest rival have been on an upswing or been at the top of their game.
- It would be one thing if Gus had gotten that kind of whole-hearted support through say even 2017 but boosters and others have been wanting him fired or gone since even latter 2014 if I remember right. Definitely since 2015 (year 3). And he definitely hasn't gotten the support to hang with UGA/Bama, I think I recall Phillip Marshall or someone on the AU 247 site making the point at one time (paraphrasing) "Give mediocre support and you shouldn't be surprised at mediocre results". While we do now have a facility on the way unless everyone at AU from the top down wants to give full support and commit to the next guy for at least 4-5 years there is no point in changing coaches since unless he's a true football wiz and also a great recruiter (some kind of Saban/Spurrier hybrid) the next guy will inevitably peter out as well with this kind of half-butted fair weather approach to things.
P.S. yes I know he got that huge butt contract but that's the closest to any kind of the right monetary or other support otherwise he's gotten to what we expect of him and even then he's only about the 5th highest paid coach in the SEC which is about where we are at.
Nick Saban (Alabama) – $9.3M.
Ed Orgeron (LSU) – $8.919M.
Jimbo Fisher (Texas A&M) – $7.5M.
Kirby Smart (Georgia) – $6.934M.
Gus Malzahn (Auburn) – $6.928M.
2. His results in certain regards are disappointing. But overall he's been solid. Even recently.
- Folks keep acting like every year is a major letdown but look at things from a greater height and it's not bad at all. 7 (probably 8) bowl game appearances in 8 years. 3 BCS bowl appearances. At least 8 wins in all but 2 years (one of them this year and if it were a normal year it would probably be a 9 win year, maybe even 10 with a real spring). Every other Auburn coach has had at least one losing season by now in their tenure and Gus has not had that. Basically he is batting on par or better for the history of the program.
- I've said this before but again almost every year apart from 2015 and 2018 we were in position to get into the playoffs at the start of November each year. Even 2019 (LAST YEAR) with perhaps one of the toughest schedules we've ever had we were a few plays away from being in playoff consideration.
- On a per-decade basis usually Auburn would be close to or almost make it to a natty about 1-2 times per decade on average. Under Gus either as head coach or O-coordinator this past decade we were there, won it, or almost make it 3 times! (2010, 2013, 2017). Again, doing as well as or better than our program average.
3. While some of the results and shortcomings are fully in his control. Some of the circumstances in multiple years were just ridiculous.
- 2013 - No real issues this year, really good year in what should have been a rebuild. Although tackling that guy on that kickoff TD or the guy on the long reception maybe makes it about perfect, those two things not Gus' fault.
- 2014 - Best edge rusher lost (Lawson). Ellis Johnson doesn't work out (JUST DOUBLE COVER AMARI DANG IT).
- 2015 - Lost our best/only edge rusher in the 1st game (Lawson), had our best RB it turns out be lost for like half the year (Jovon) then lost our semi-competent qb to injury (White) in-season. In a year where we lost 4 games by 1 score an 8-9 win season was only 7 wins.
- 2016 - November we are in position that if we win out we win the west. Also November, we are down to a converted wideout at RB (Roc xferred, Jovon kicked off, KJ injured MSU, Pettway injured Vandy) and our serviceable qb is injured again.
-- Above two years you can ding Gus for qb depth and that's fair but to have that amount of bad luck in a run first offense at RB is stupid.
- 2017 - Win the SEC champ game we are in the playoff but... Pettway gets hurt early then no show/gone by then, KJ our best offensive player is injured in the game prior. 1 score game till the 4th then UGA pulls away.
- 2018 - no excuse for that year. Only thing I'll say is 2 of those losses one could somewhat blame on refs (LSU) / Stidham (UT) but even then a decent O-line would have alleviated that and prob turned those around and that's on Gus.
- 2019 - pretty good year but would have been nice to have a more experienced qb ready to go so Bo could sit, but that's on Gus.
- 2020 - New OC and O-line coach but no spring and weird summer due to Covid. Jury still out on how this year ends.
-- Overall while a number of losses are Gus' fault I'd argue that with at least average injury luck or otherwise okish luck we would be averaging 9+ wins under him with some more of those rivalry wins. While it's a coach's job to overcome those things there should be some level of reasonableness on what you should have to deal with and Gus has had some really horrible breaks in regards to some things.
4. If you fire Gus now you give up on 2021.
- You likely lose a good portion of what we do have of this recruiting class, maybe a new guy snags one or two guys Gus would not have but with early signing day in just 16 days a new coach is unlikely to have that big of an impact unless you fire Gus a week ago.
- While I get the arguments that maybe there isn't that great a hope for 2021 I disagree. We could literally return the entire team for next year. And with the O-line making the progress it has (until 2-3 of the starters got hurt before last week) things were really coming together. Tank is a difference maker if the O-line can just hold its own and based on what we were seeing in improvement that seems like a possible thing they could do. The defense should mostly come back as well and I'm not going to bet against improvement with guys like Steele, Garner and Williams on that side of the ball (and prior to last week our secondary had been doing well).
-- Speaking of improvement Bo has gotten better this year and with a full spring and summer he should be even better next year, again a ditto on the O-line. The only question on offense will be which WRs return and even then Kodi has done a good job getting talent there.
- https://fbschedules.com/ncaa-2021/team/auburn The two biggest rivalry games are at home and while LSU will be improved from this year likely I doubt it will be a 37 point difference even at home so that should be winnable. A&M is vulnerable at home against Gus historically so that should be winnable. USCe will have a new coach. Barring major improvement from Penn State our non-conference slate looks good as well.
- Bottom line, a run is extremely possible next year and while recruiting is suffering one more year won't put us that much further behind the 8 ball.
5. ARE WE REALLY GOING TO FIRE A COACH AND PAY 10S OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS WHEN WE ARE GOING TO LOSE 10S OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS DUE TO COVID THIS YEAR??? REALLY!?!?! CMON MAN!!!
6. We still have at minimum 2 games to play barring more covid cancellations and a possible bowl game. This could still turn into at least an average to decent year.
Look, even with all of the above I get wanting Gus gone now and to be fair it isn't the worst idea and all I'm arguing is we should at least give him next year given everything that's happened and what things look like right now for next year. You fire him now and there is just too much negative.
And yes I get you could argue similar has been said multiple years now but I think even for folks like me next year is the complete put up or shut up year. With everything we should have coming back and the schedule and more and more positive vaccine news comes in next year should be pretty normal even on Covid front.
Do or die Gus.
War Eagle, thanks for reading my meanderings!