Auburn Football: Gus Malzahn's Return Gives Tigers Hope

Dan WilkinsCorrespondent IIDecember 6, 2012

Dec 4, 2012; Auburn, AL, USA: Auburn Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn speaks during a press conference after being introduced as the head football coach at Auburn.  Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports
John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

The return of former offensive coordinator, Gus Malzahn, gives the Auburn Tigers hope of being competitive as early as next season.

After some success under Gene Chizik, the wheels fell off for Auburn in 2012. The Tigers went 3-9 on the season, and most of their losses weren't even close.

Finishing last in the SEC West was not acceptable for a team just two years removed from a National Title, so changes were made.

Enter: the offensive coordinator from that very national championship team, Gus Malzahn.

Following the 2011 season, largely due to the success of his offenses at Auburn, Malzahn left for the head coaching job at Arkansas State. In his first and only year there, he led the Red Wolves to a 9-3 record and a conference championship.

With Malzahn's return to Auburn, fans will have renewed hope—much of it will come from the fact that Chizik and his staff are now out the door, but also because it is Malzahn and his national championship winning offense that returns.

By season's end, when this Auburn team had shown little signs of improvement, the only argument to be made for Chizik, if any, is that firing him could lose a top rated recruiting class. With the hiring of the well respected Malzahn, and a quick hiring at that, much of this class should be kept in tact.

Not to mention, back in 2011, Malzahn was named one of ESPN's top SEC recruiters overall. Now getting to run the show himself, at a well respected SEC program, the future is bright for Malzahn and this Tigers team.

All in all, the most important thing to Tigers fans will be that Chizik and his staff are now gone, and replaced by a familiar face who played a big role in their biggest year.

You can bet that moving forward, the big-time recruits around the country will consistently be drawn to Malzahn's proven big-play offense.

Following the worst season in well over a decade, the future is once again bright for the Auburn Tigers football program.