Gus Malzahn and Auburn have come a long way since the 1-2 start to the 2016 season. And after a strong spring performance, the future looks very bright for the Tigers.
Former Baylor quarterback Jarrett Stidham looked magnificent in the Tigers’ spring scrimmage. Auburn has always run the ball well under Malzahn, but if Stidham can throw like he did in the spring game, Auburn could be very dangerous in the SEC.
And Malzhan is saying as much, in May.
“Outside we can’t control, but I will tell you this: internally, there’s a lot of excitement,” Malzahn said on Monday. “And really, that’s what matters. I know our offensive players are excited, our quarterbacks are and I am, too. I’m really looking forward to this year.”
That’s optimistic for Malzhahn, who could really use a strong season.
After coming in below 60 percent in the first two SEC Country approval rating polls, Malzahn finally climbed above 60 percent, coming in at 65.1 percent. That still leaves him 13th among SEC coaches, with only Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin having a lower rating.
In addition to Stidham, the Auburn offense has a new coaching face in Chip Lindsey, who replaced Rhett Lashlee as offensive coordinator. Provided Stidham beats out Sean White for the starting job, the Tigers will need the best from both Stidham and Lindsey in tackling a schedule that sees Auburn face the usual SEC West foes, a road trip to defending national champion Clemson and a late-season visit from Georgia.
Malzahn earned a salary of $4.7 million in 2016. His record at Auburn is 35-18 overall and 18-14 in the SEC. The Tigers went 8-5 last season, which included an appearance in the Sugar Bowl. The Tigers also played both teams that appeared in the College Football Playoff National 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.