Auburn’s season is officially over at losing at home to Tennessee, but don’t expect the school to part ways with Gus Malzahn anytime soon.
Gus Malzahn and Auburn entered the season with national championship dreams, but the year has turned into a nightmare after a shocking home loss to Tennessee. Giving the Volunteers their first conference win in the last 11 games has Tigers fans angry with their high-priced head coach.
Unfortunately, Auburn doesn’t really have a decision to make on Malzahn’s future. The simple truth is they can’t afford to fire him. Firing him this season would cost the school over $33 million in guaranteed salary. Auburn is a school with terrific financial resources, but even they can’t afford that price tag.
That doesn’t mean there won’t b changes on the Plains. Just because Malzahn is safe, it doesn’t mean school officials can’t strongly encourage him to make staff changes. Chip Lindsay was only hired this year to be the team’s offensive coordinator, but he could certainly be in jeopardy. Jarrett Stidham has taken a massive step backwards this season, Lindsay could ultimately be the guy to pay the price for his quarterback’s failures.
Kevin Steele isn’t completely safe on the defensive side of the football either. The defense’s failing haven’t gotten as much attention as the offense’s struggles, but Steele’s group has also underachieved. In particular, the front seven hasn’t come close to living up to the hype they enjoyed in the preseason. Opposing quarterbacks have gotten entirely too much time to target the Tigers’ secondary.
Ultimately, the man most responsible for Auburn’s disappointing season is going to escape any punishment. As the head coach, Malzahn is the guy who should be paying for his mistakes. Fortunately for him, his rock solid contract is going to keep him employed at Auburn for the foreseeable future. Fans are going to have to trust in his ability to get the program headed back in the right direction. Their favorite school does not have another choice.