Auburn Football: Tigers Are in for Quick Turnaround with Gus Malzahn in Charge

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistDecember 9, 2012

EUGENE, OR - SEPTEMBER 1: Head coach Gus Malzahn of the Arkansas State Red Wolves calls a play against the Oregon Ducks on September 1, 2012 at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon.  (Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer/Getty Images)
Craig Mitchelldyer/Getty Images

The Auburn Tigers won't be down for long with new head coach Gus Malzahn at the helm.

Two years removed from a national championship season, the Tigers took about as big a fall from grace as a team can. The Gene Chizik-led team went 3-9 and failed to win a single SEC game.

Those types of results are sure to leave Auburn fans jaded. With cross-state rival Alabama at the absolute peak of college football once again, the pressure will be on for a quick turnaround.

Tigers fans looking to put this season behind them will get their wish. With Malzahn taking over, the Tigers will be back to contending in the SEC in no time.

The Talent is There

Auburn's struggles can't be attributed to the overall talent of the team.

The Tigers have been cleaning up on the recruiting trail and have competed with just about anyone in the conference when it comes to snagging crucial recruits. The Tigers' 2012 class was ranked No. 17 in the country by ESPN, and the 2011 class was ranked No. 3.

Either the ranking services completely missed on all of Auburn's recruits, or the talent on the roster hasn't been coached well. Given the general success of other teams in the Top 25 recruiting rankings, it's most likely the latter.

The 2013 class is still a work in progress, but is currently ranked No. 12 in the nation according to ESPN. Malzahn will have the talent when he takes over to make the Tigers a contender right away. The only question is if he has the coaching chops to utilize the talent on the roster.

He's Familiar with the Program

When Gene Chizik was fired, some Auburn fans were probably hoping for the Tigers to make a big splash with their next hire.

Names like Gary Patterson and Jon Gruden were speculated for the job, but none had the connection to the program that Malzahn had. Malzahn served as the school's offensive coordinator from 2009-2011.

In those three years, Auburn had some great offenses, including a national championship-winning offense in 2010 when Malzahn had Cam Newton as quarterback.

Malzahn's three years with the program should give him great insight into what it takes to win at Auburn. The fact that he was a large part of Auburn's recruiting efforts in that time span doesn't hurt either.

He Can Recruit

Speaking of recruiting, Malzahn should find success in that realm, too.

As previously mentioned, the Tigers have been a big player in recruiting the last few seasons. Considering that Malzahn has only been removed from the program for one year, he's already been a big part of that.

Malzahn has coached all over the southeastern region, and even started off as a high school coach. This experience should help him, as no one should understand the ins and outs of recruiting than the coach that has been on both sides of the process.

The Tigers may have lost high-profile recruit Reuben Foster, but that won't be a trend with Malzahn. He should continue to give Auburn a great presence in recruiting.


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