Originally written on In The Neutral Zone  |  Last updated 11/8/13
Turning around a football program typically does not occur overnight, especially in the midst of a coaching transition. Much goes in to transforming the fortunes of a program. The players whom a new head coach inherits upon his arrival to his new program undoubtedly have been accustomed to the methodology and tactics of the prior unsuccessful regime, to the preparation rituals and practice techniques employed by the predecessor. Therefore, bucking such a trend and defying the odds in such a situation is increasingly difficult for a program facing a transition in head coaches. Look no further than Auburn, though, for an example of the possibility of a major turnaround to occur in the midst of a coaching change. The Tigers thus far have enjoyed a remarkable reversal of fortunes under the new direction of first-year head coach Gus Malzahn, now ranked in the top ten nationally one season after enduring a program worst 3-9 season in which the team went winless in conference play. Last season truly was one in which the Auburn Tigers experienced rock bottom. The team mustered a mere three wins all season and suffered defeat in each and every conference game. One of the three wins was marred by an embarrassing home performance against UL-Monroe, a game in which it took a major overtime comeback to prevail. Head coach Gene Chizik was promptly ousted just two seasons after experiencing the pinnacle of the game, an undefeated national championship season highlighted by Heisman Trophy-winning QB Cam Newton. Auburn subsequently turned to Malzahn, summoning him back to the campus in the hopes of rekindling the success enjoyed under his watch as Cam Newton’s offensive coordinator. And the move has paid tremendous dividends on the Plains, rejuvenating the Tigers’ fanbase and placing Auburn squarely in control of its destiny to win the West division and to reach Atlanta for the SEC title game. A coaching transition has paid major dividends for Auburn, as the program has experienced one of the most dramatic turnarounds possible. Last season the Tigers hit rock bottom, but now they aim for the top of the pecking order within the SEC West. 3 total views, 3 views today
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