Heading into his fifth season, Gus Malzahn needs to have a strong year. And he might have the talent to do that.
After a run to the national championship game in his first season, the program has plateaued under Malzahn. The Tigers have gone 15-11 in the last two seasons. Perhaps more concerning is the struggles on offense Auburn has seen in the last two seasons.
But change is coming for the Auburn offense. Chip Lindsey replaced Rhett Lashlee as offensive coordinator, and 5-star quarterback Jarrett Stidham transferred to battle Sean White for the starting job. The Tigers have a difficult schedule that sees them face the usual SEC West foes, a road trip to Clemson and a late-season visit from Georgia.
Auburn already has gotten started with its spring practices. Malzahn likely will need a strong start to the season if he wants to avoid a similar fate as former LSU coach Les Miles, who was fired midseason. In SEC Country‘s first coaches approval rating poll, Malzahn had the lowest mark with a 57.9 percentage.
Malzahn earned a reported salary of about $4.73 million in 2016. His record at Auburn is 35-18 overall, 18-14 in the SEC. He went 8-5 last season, which included an appearance in the Sugar Bowl. The Tigers also played both teams that appeared in the championship game, losing to Clemson and Alabama.
Vote on Gus Malzahn’s approval rating
The SEC Country approval rating poll is designed to give an indication of fan happiness over a period of time.
Our formula is based on the percentage of respondents that select each answer. We multiply that percentage by the following factors: 1 (strongly approve), 0.67 (approve), 0.33 (disapprove) and 0.0 (strongly disapprove). In other words, if 50 percent of respondents select “strongly approve” and 50 percent select “approve,” the formula would be (50 x 1) + (50 x 0.67) = 83.5% approval rating.