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February 2, 2013

Brenner: What Gus Should Be Selling

AUBURN, Ala. – Great to meet with you, son. And thank you kindly for having me in your home, Mr. and Mrs. Four-Star Recruit. I hope the neighbors don’t mind my bus parked outside.

As you know, I’m Gus Malzahn, tickled to death to be your head football coach at Auburn University. This fine institution has been recruiting you since junior year, and I want to show you the same faith my predecessor did that you would fit in perfectly with an orange and blue hat when you make your decision Wednesday.

Before I forget, have I mentioned Cam Newton’s on campus? Let me do that up front: Cam Newton’s on campus. Oh, here’s a DVD for you to watch when you’ve got a spare hour, “All In: The Story of Auburn’s Undefeated 2010 Season” – some great highlights on there.

Lovely coffee table, by the way. I see somebody at the university already brought you a hardcover copy of “All In: What It Takes To Be The Best”. No need to worry yourself with that. Just watch the DVD. Cam Newton’s on campus.

I wish Bruce Springsteen were here to tell you this, kid, but baby, we were born to run. Your experience in your high school’s spread attack makes you perfect for my go-go-gadget-flow offense. Never mind last year’s atrocity – that unimaginative offensive coordinator took my perfectly good rock band and forced ‘em to sing folk.

Soon as Johnson signs, I’ve got four quarterbacks ready to roll in my proven system, and once we actually pick one, I want you to help us get back to stressing out statkeepers instead of splitting their sides with laughter.

Don’t freak out about that sorry excuse for a 2012 defense, either. We’ve got four guys who’ve been coaching in the SEC since well before you were born, and they’re not gonna tolerate that clown show the Auburn family put up with last fall.

Wanna play in the NFL? We had 28 former Tigers in the League to begin last season. Only seven schools had more than us. Also, 17 first- or second-round picks the past decade. We’re a factory, kid.

Just so you know, one of those 17 superstars is on campus. You might have heard of him.

Now, there’s no doubt you’ve got a few questions.

Yes, this team had a rough go of it last year. I can’t say 3-9 didn’t happen. I can’t verify or deny the rumors about how, when, or whether the team quit on that other guy I used to work for. What I can tell you is there is more than enough talent on this roster to win, again, right now. And I want you to be a part of that. Think of it this way: you go to Alabama, they expect you to win no less than 12 games, or else. You come to Auburn, the fans will looooooove you if you help pull this program out of the pits.

Yes, those guys in crimson are pretty good. You know what they say about ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”? Forget that noise. Here, watch that DVD I handed you, and you tell me if joining them would be more fun than beating them.

Yes, I already had one assistant join my staff and bolt within three weeks. Look, if Jerry Jones were behind me in line to recruit you, no one more than me would expect you to probably pick the hat with the star on it next Wednesday. I don’t begrudge Coach Bisaccia for not being All In. I’m just glad that I’ve got the best group of nine assistants you could ask for, and NOW we’re one team with one heartbeat and one vision. Promise.

Yes, there’s still some quiet rumblings of a potential NCAA investigation and possible sanctions. That’s why I cleaned house faster than one of Cam’s 2-minute TD drives. Even the fly on the wall in Trooper’s office was fired. Besides, these NCAA probes almost never amount to anything. Do me a favor, don’t Google ‘USC Pete Carroll’ or ‘Penn State’ after I leave.

Yes, Cam Newton’s on campus. Did I mention that?

Oh, by the way, Mr. and Mrs. Recruit, that’s a beautiful baby boy you’ve got there. We’ll have him saying ‘War Eagle’ soon enough. Class of 2030, right? Figure he’ll play wide receiver or cornerback?

Aaron Brenner, abrenner@ledger-enquirer.com


  1. Seriously? “Don’t Google USC and Pete Carroll.”

    Geez, if this is what we get from the Auburn beat writer…

    With insinuation like that, we may as well have the Crimson & White editorial staff do the column.

    Comment by Bryan — February 2, 2013 @ 7:49 am

  2. I can’t figure out if you’re making fun of the recruiting process in general, or or you’re saying Gus Malzahn’s just another con man. Or both.

    Comment by David Lindsay — February 2, 2013 @ 7:51 am

  3. This tongue-and-cheek piece may not go over very well with the Auburn community…risky!

    Comment by Rob — February 2, 2013 @ 8:03 am

  4. First of all let me say I’m an AUburn grad and AUfan. This article sounds more like the lament of a bitter AUburn fan, not a coach selling a program. Lord help us if this is what Malzahn is selling.

    Comment by Gene — February 2, 2013 @ 8:09 am

  5. Pathetic article Aaron. You’re better than this, or maybe not.

    Comment by Tom — February 2, 2013 @ 8:13 am

  6. Sorry AB…you were just to subtle for some of your readers…most of whom are so boringly serious about AU that sarcasm or subtlity goes right over their heads.

    On the other hand, if you have to explain the punch line of a joke…maybe you need to stick to the serious stuff.

    Comment by Ted — February 2, 2013 @ 8:35 am

  7. Wow. Very disappointed in this hack piece. Usually look forward to your musings, but this reads like a article to slander, not endorse. Hope our recruits don’t read this mess.

    Comment by Dennis — February 2, 2013 @ 9:10 am

  8. Usually a fan of semi-sarcastic tongue-n-cheek musings. Wow. You missed the mark and left an impression at best of bungling at worst of ncaa sanctions. Neither would be true.

    If this is how you see the program then you haven’t done even the basic groundwork necessary to do your job well or you’re just another writer whose team bias comes through loud and clear. There is another option but since I don’t have a familiarity with your body of work I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt as to ability.

    Gus is a man on a mission with tireless energy, enthusiasm and meticulous attention to detail. An offensive genius whose innovations are being incorporated into NFL playbooks more every year. He’s put together one of the top staffs in college FB. As for the ncaa, stop repeating every rumor you hear.
    The Gus Bus is rolling!

    Comment by DLC — February 2, 2013 @ 10:50 am

  9. Pathetic “article” from an AU beat writer. To often your articles are laced with sarcasm and back handed insults. Joel Erickson is missed.

    Comment by Glenn — February 2, 2013 @ 11:14 am

  10. Wow Aaron, I hate that the majority of your readers seem to have missed the sarcasm and humor in this piece. I think it’s great. Very funny stuff.

    Comment by Jesse — February 2, 2013 @ 12:29 pm

  11. Aaron, just stick with the facts. You don’t have to be a homer, but you do have to get the facts straight. That means printing only what is verified, not rumored.

    There is no verified pending NCAA investigation, and putting that statement in this article is injurious to Auburn’s reputation at a critical point in the recruiting process.

    Comment by TigerEyez13 — February 2, 2013 @ 12:48 pm

  12. Wow, I agree with the sentiment. I was reading it hoping after the first few sentences the thought changed to something worth reading….but all that popped in my head was…”WTF Aaron”. I’m not sure if you are trying tongue and cheek the challenge Gus has or just mocking the process. Either way it is neither cute nor funny and the references to USC and Penn State are in very poor taste. Everyone makes mistakes, your articles are better than this and think you are as a person too. This was a poor decision to write this one. I hope you don’t repeat this in the future…….I’m sure Gus won’t be a fan of this article either.

    Comment by Eric — February 2, 2013 @ 1:31 pm

  13. “My name is Aaron Brenner, and my goal is to maintain the solid reputation of Auburn beat writers for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.”

    This piece lacks purpose and is an agitation to most of your readership. I generally like your work. Why? I know it is supposed to be humorous, but it is not funny. You come across as condescending and cutting.

    I never comment, but was compelled to on this piece. If your goal is to create a Fox News-like stirring up of your readership, then I guess this is a success. If you continue that approach you will lose me as a reader.

    Comment by Dave — February 2, 2013 @ 3:45 pm

  14. Is it too late to get Andy Bitter back?

    Comment by RJ — February 2, 2013 @ 6:09 pm

  15. Definitely did not see this as a hack piece, and last time I checked my Sense of Humor ownership license had not expired or been pulled.

    Maybe it is still too soon Aaron, but we can be sure of two things: AU will win again, and as a result, the previous commenters will forget you ever wrote this.
    Thanks for all you do to keep us in the know.

    Comment by GC — February 2, 2013 @ 7:20 pm

  16. I guess this was supposed to be funny. It’s not.

    Comment by Tracy — February 2, 2013 @ 7:21 pm

  17. @RJ

    I second this.

    Comment by Ryan — February 2, 2013 @ 10:58 pm

  18. Dear Columbus Ledger-Enquirer,
    This is the last straw with this pathetic beat writer. You’ll not be getting my “clicks” on the War Eagle Extra page any longer until you hire a decent beat writer and I’ll encourage everyone I know to do the same. This guy’s a disgrace.

    Comment by Bullet Bob — February 2, 2013 @ 11:48 pm

  19. This looked like a column written out of boredom. It doesn’t upset me and for those that it does upset, I think maybe they should lighten up. That said, I don’t think the column was particularly clever or funny. Things written out of boredom seldom measure up. Swing and a miss. (You’ll get ‘em next time though!)

    Comment by Roman Berry — February 3, 2013 @ 9:29 am

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