It looks like there is help on the way from this year's Auburn signee class. That is great, but how those prospects develop over the next three to four years or so will be what determines how much success they and their teammates will have on football fields across the Southeastern Conference.
It has been my experience in following, playing or coaching in the SEC for the last 50 years or so that most of the teams the Tigers are going to face in this league are going to be lining up with quality players, too. You can sign a load of bluechip prospects, but that doesn't guarantee you will challenge for a championship. This league has too many good teams and good coaches to win on talent alone.
Something the Tigers having going for them with Malzahn as their head coach is that he has brought his exciting and effective brand of offensive football back to Jordan-Hare Stadium. I think what he is doing is going to be a perfect fit for the Tigers.
His fast-paced style of play is fun for the players and it is fun for the fans to watch. Executed properly it is difficult for defenses to deal with even if you don't have a superstar player like a Pat Sullivan, Bo Jackson or Cam Newton to feature. Most years there aren't going to be guys like that on the roster.
The Tigers were very effective running the football during Malzahn's three seasons as offensive coordinator at Auburn. If he can get that part of the offense running in high gear again it will be much easier to make big plays in the passing game.
Offensively, Coach Malzahn has a reputation for being an aggressive coach. I think defensively we will see the Tigers hit the field this fall with a similar style of play with an emphasis on forcing turnovers and making big plays.
To be able to perform aggressively with a high-energy style for four quarters it is essential to have quality depth on the roster. It looks like the 2013 signee class is a step in the right direction towards making that happen with a large number of talented players to blend in with the returnees.
The new head coach and his staff have inherited a lot of good players to work with this season, but at the same time they may find they have some players who might not be good fits for the program. Coach Malzahn and his staff have got to sort through them and find out which ones they are because to be the best you can be the kids have got to buy into what you're doing. You have got to have a good locker room. I'm talking about kids who are happy, kids who are competing and playing for Auburn because they love Auburn, kids who love their teammates and kids who love the game of football.
Talk is cheap and it's easy, but to be as good as you can be it is going to take dedication plus a lot of blood, sweat and tears to have the Tigers competing for championships in college football's toughest conference.
(If you have a question or a subject you would like me to write about in future columns, you can email it to PatDye@autigers.com.)
Editor's Note: This is part of a series of columns that College Football Hall of Fame member Pat Dye is writing for AUTigers.com about the game he played and coached. An All-American player at Georgia and one of the top head coaches in SEC history at Auburn, he also served as a head coach at East Carolina and Wyoming. Dye writes three columns for AUTigers.com--The Dye-Log, the Dye-Gest and Pat's Picks.