Former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton is having an MVP-caliber season as the leader of the undefeated Carolina Panthers (12-0). Auburn coach Gus Malzahn was in Newton’s backyard Monday night for the Nagurski Award banquet in Charlotte where he voiced his support for his former quarterback’s MVP candidacy.
“It’d be tough to find somebody better right now,” Malzahn said. “There’s some real good players, but with what he means to his team, he deserves it.”
Newton led the Panthers to a comeback victory over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday and the Heisman Trophy winner has accounted for 32 touchdowns (7 rushing) and just 10 interceptions this season. But Malzahn praised Newton for more than just his on-field performance.
“He’s got a great combination of unbelievable talent with unbelievable work ethic,” Malzahn said. “That’s rare. You throw in the fact that he’s a great leader, so it (Newton’s success) doesn’t surprise me.”
Newton served as an honorary coach during the Iron Bowl two weeks ago, as No. 2 Alabama held Auburn to just 13 points in the defeat. It was in stark contrast to Newton’s time on The Plains, when he led Auburn to an undefeated 14-0 record and a victory in the 2011 BCS Championship game. Now, Newton is working on another perfect campaign.
“I think now everyone is starting to see the pieces of the puzzle come together,” Malzahn said. “I’m very proud of him.”