Alabama football fans can enjoy some bye-week chuckles from the meltdown on The Plains. One thing that is abundantly clear for the Aubies, is the Hugh Freeze honeymoon is over.
After four straight losses, Auburn should still achieve bowl eligibility. With a baked-in win against New Mexico State in November, Auburn will also need to win two of its games; Mississippi State, at Vandy, at Arkansas, and Alabama. The Tigers could win three of the games or lose all four and the reason why for the latter is Auburn does not have an offense.
Writing about the Ole Miss game, Matt Cohen was blunt.
"Auburn’s offense was awful once again. It’s the same problems that keep coming up and Auburn hasn’t found an answer.It didn’t matter what quarterback was playing. This offense is bad.The continuing and repetitive failures of this offense fall purely on head coach Hugh Freeze and Montgomery. This is a coaching issue, not a talent gap issue, at this point."
It is one thing when an independent site criticizes a team, and something much different from sources that only provide negative opinions when they cannot be left unsaid.
From Brian Stultz of the Rivals – Auburn Sports site,
"The passing game that has been a problem against Power 5 teams all season was somehow worse on Saturday night against an Ole Miss team that came into the game ranked 112th in FBS in pass defense(Payton) Thorne and Robby Ashford, along with the slew of Auburn receivers who either can’t or just refuse to get open, made Pete Golden’s (Golding) crew look like the 1985 Chicago Bears."
Stultz added that at this point both Auburn OC, Phillip Montgomery and Hugh Freeze must provide answers.
Opelika reporter Justin Lee stated,
"There’s no coming back from this for offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery."
Fly War Eagle does an outstanding job covering Auburn sports. Reading through multiple posts about good potential Offensive Coordinator replacements, it is also clear Auburn faithful have some doubts about Freeze. One post suggested replacing Montgomery with Cadillac Williams. Cadillac would be a popular choice, Another two or three Auburn losses and Freeze might be made uncomfortable that Williams might be turned to, as the next Auburn head coach.
Another name suggested was Dan Mullen, with the suggestion to spend whatever it would cost. The most surprising suggestion was that UCF might fire Gus Malzahn after this season and Auburn should hire him as OC. Even if Malzahn does become available and if he would consider the move, there are reasons to believe a Freeze-Malzahn marriage would be doomed.
Alabama football fans have a question
Nick Saban has often stated his respect for Hugh Freeze’s offensive acumen. Could we be seeing in Auburn that Hugh’s offensive skills are not as effective in the current football world of ‘pay for play’? Breaking rules aided his success at Ole Miss and now there are practically no rules to break. A coach can gain no advantage by cheating.
Maybe Auburn’s savior is a good offensive coach, but well short of the ‘Offensive Guru’ label he has been given. If Freeze is (or was) such an offensive genius, surely he would not let a current OC derail his offense.
Two thoughts in conclusion. Cadillac as OC or Head Coach would surpass Freeze in recruiting. And, a forced Freeze-Malzahn marriage would be a drama Alabama football fans would love.