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January 14, 2013

Brenner commentary: Worth of overhaul remains to be seen

Blogger’s note: This column ran last week on Ledger-Enquirer.com, but remains relevant. And hey, if you did read it already, well, some things are better consumed twice. Like Golden Globe-winning movies … or something.

AUBURN, Ala. –On the one hand, this coaching staff is everything Gus Malzahn wanted, everything his players wanted, everything his bosses wanted, everything Auburn fans wanted.

But then again, it’s just a paper with names. That and two quarters will buy you half a cup of coffee.

On the one hand, omigosh, look at all that experience! Ten men combining for nearly 200 years in the business? Nearly 100 years spent in the SEC?

But then again, with the exception of Rodney Garner, everybody’s been bouncing around the country like a pinball on Red Bull. Surely there’s mixed results here and there.

On the one hand, three new assistants were recruiting coordinators at their last jobs. Two others have impeccable recruiting credentials. And that’s not even addressing Malzahn, who only unearthed a guy named Cam Newton. Count Scout.com as smitten.

But then again, six French-trained pastry chefs in the kitchen doesn’t give you a succulent steakhouse. Gene Chizik was doing fine in recruiting — great, even. He and his staff couldn’t develop players. That’s the primary need going forward. It’s not immediately clear whether that quandary was solved, and won’t be until, oh, about Halloween.

On the one hand, the Tigers went 3-9 last year, and that doesn’t tell the whole story. Whatever last year was — even train wrecks are more coordinated — can’t easily be fixed by amateurs. The Wolf from Pulp Fiction would need more than a few months to clean this up. Since he’s not available, Ellis Johnson, Rhett Lashlee, Garner and Dameyune Craig are marquee options for the task. Their new position groups were, shall we say, stinky in 2012.

On the one hand, this staff might have the easiest job in the country. It can’t be any worse, right? The fans will eat up whatever progress unfolds, and a cupcake-buttery first-half schedule ensures wins are on the way.

But then again … uh, yeah, right. Dare lose to Ole Miss at home, Gus, and feel the heat rise like an eager stovetop. Never mind getting punked by Texas A&M, Georgia or Alabama again.

On the one hand, Auburn’s found its mojo. It actually stole headlines during BCS bowl week. The fan base is rightfully energized and craving, not dreading, next season.

On the one hand, 2012 was as bad as it gets. 2013 already is looking up, way up.

But then again, it takes a lot of dollars to make all this sense. It’s easy to imagine Jay Jacobs toasting the assembly of Malzahn and everybody he brought here at dinner, then getting handed the bill and reacting, “this costs me WHAT?!?” Let’s not forget, the staff Jacobs fired will still be owed upwards of $11 million over the next few years.

How Malzahn and his super-seasoned staff (SSS for short, or $$$) is viewed is purely in the eye of the beholder.

Yeah. It’s far easier to describe how Malzahn hit a home run than struck out swinging.

Just know nothing’s guaranteed.

Aaron Brenner, abrenner@ledger-enquirer.com


  1. On the one hand….Brenner’s opinion.
    On the other hand…..who cares what Brenner thinks

    Comment by AU4Ever — January 14, 2013 @ 7:38 am

  2. I want my 5 minutes back. Complete waste of web space.

    Comment by Bud — January 14, 2013 @ 9:45 am

  3. LOL…what is this.

    Comment by Aubiester — January 14, 2013 @ 11:07 am

  4. I love how the writers and talking heads throw out the buyout of $11 million like a sh*t house lawyer, failing to mention that this number reduces as the former staff members take other jobs.

    Comment by Auburn MAc — January 14, 2013 @ 1:43 pm

  5. To be fair, it’s been mentioned over and over again in print and online (at least here – can’t speak for others). In this piece, it was mentioned as “upwards of $11 million”. Which specifically means, it could be anywhere between $0 and that number. It’s already down below $11 million since Thigpen and Martinez are at Tennessee.
    Thanks for reading.

    Comment by Aaron Brenner — January 14, 2013 @ 2:01 pm

  6. I know it’s a cloudy, drizzly, chilly, lazy type day but the article doesn’t have to be so sloppily written with no clear or concise idea to communicate. If it took more than 5 minutes to write that drivel, the writer should re-examine their choice of vocation. We all know Auburn’s football team may or may not meet expectations. Give us a break Captain Obvious, and write something of substance please.

    Comment by Bollet Bob — January 14, 2013 @ 2:37 pm

  7. A REC hit piece, who cares, as Auburn MAc said your numbers are wrong about the 11 million dollar buyout, as far as the coaches, that 100 yrs of experience will payoff regardless of what you say, Think Lashee was a head coach at Samford, small school but a head coach, Clemson had Chad Morris, runs same offense, and Coach Charlie H. So WDE, we shall see,

    Comment by Rob — January 14, 2013 @ 2:52 pm


    Comment by Ray — January 14, 2013 @ 3:18 pm

  9. Wow! What responses! I kinda’ liked the story. Two things concern me. One is there’s a lot of egos involved in this staff. Everybody is an “assistant” this or “associate” that. If Gus can get them working together and a pecking order established the potential is there for greatness. The potential is also there for problems.

    They should be able to recruit very well, but as AB noted recruiting is not the problem. How well they can kick some booty and get Chizik’s great recruits to be great football players is their challenge. Looking forward to spring practice and seeing how many jump ship because things are “too tough”. That will be a key indicator.

    Comment by MikeP — January 15, 2013 @ 10:48 am

  10. AB, based on the comments not too many fans of this post. Guess fans aren’t interested in any “personal columns” this time of the year, just recruiting news. Here’s to hoping Malzahn and his staff are a grand slam.

    Comment by AUB34UNC23 — January 15, 2013 @ 10:51 am

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