Auburn football: What’s the secret to long-term success for Tigers?
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Is the future of Auburn football one of stability, success and competing for championships or one of regression?
What do you foresee for the future (next 5-10 years) of the Auburn Football program, one of stability & success in competing for championships, or one of regression?
— Skye Underwood (@SkyeUnderwood) June 12, 2018
I’ve written several times about why the future for Auburn football looks so bright. To some extent, it’s Gus Malzahn’s job to believe in his program. As a sportswriter, it’s my job to report accurate information and sometimes thoughtful analysis.
The reality, however, is the Tigers really have the potential to do big things over the course of the next few years. There are some position groups that need to improve, sure. But what about in the years to come?
I’m not a coach, but this is probably as close to “Coach-speak” as it gets. The future of Auburn football will be decided by the guys wearing the orange and blue uniforms. Here’s the catch: It might not have anything to actually do with football.
Let’s take a look at two other sports to illustrate my point. In the month of June, the Golden State Warriors and the Washington Capitals have celebrated NBA and NHL championships, respectively.
They’ve popped champagne and walked the streets of Oakland and Washington D.C., respectively, with thousands of fans. The athletes appreciated the massive turnout, sure. Yet both teams would have been fine celebrating the titles in their locker rooms, without all the fanfare and commotion.
Whether on the court or on the ice, selfishness and pettiness wouldn’t result in the hoisting of big gold and silver trophies.
Every team has issues at one point or another. When you combine so many different personalities, talents and egos, there’s bound to be some turmoil. Anyone who’s played in a recreational league all the way up to the college level understands.
In the coming years, the rules could change. The NCAA will disappoint and try to recover. Coaches could come and go. Players could transfer (freely now). Injuries can be suffered. The unexpected can happen.
Prior to last season, someone close to Malzahn mentioned how much they liked this team. As they put it, there were very few “knuckleheads.” Players such as Carl Lawson, Montravius Adams, Josh Holsey and others showed younger guys how to be good teammates, and it seems to have stuck.
Again, anyone who has experienced being in an issue-plagued locker room will admit that when things get really bad, sometimes all players want is for the season to be over. Especially in the case of college athletes, the emotions within a program are vital.
If Auburn can continue to build the camaraderie and closeness they have started during the last few seasons on the Plains, success isn’t out of the question — regardless of if Georgia and Alabama are standing in the way. You can pay Malzahn all the money in the world. Malzahn’s staff can recruit all the best prospects.
None of that matters if they hate each other or dislike the process of pursuing a championship.