Dye-Log: Performing Under Pressure

Hall of Fame coach Pat Dye writes about football and golf in this edition of his Dye-Log column.

With the annual spring football game scheduled for this Saturday there are going to be a lot of Auburn folks on campus this weekend who are looking forward to getting a preview of Gus Malzahn's team.

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I think the new coaching staff is off to a solid start and they are doing a lot of positive things on and off the field in strengthening the program for the short-term and long-term.

Like the fans I am going to be curious to see how the quarterbacks perform in front of what should be a large crowd at the A-Day Game that will be closely watching how they perform. I think the coaches have been looking for one of them to step up this spring and take over the No. 1 spot, but I have not heard that has happened so far.

I think they are still working to try to get the schemes in and get in as many repetitions as possible so they can become comfortable running the base offense and base defense. That means there has been a lot of work on fundamentals, which is certainly a good thing at this time of year.

Additionally, I believe the coaches are looking to develop leadership. They want to find out who are the players who are going to step up and say "follow me." They also want to find out who is going to perform in pressure situations, something that was always of great importance to me when I was coaching.

Growing up in the Augusta area and working at the Masters when I was student in high school at Richmond Academy, I look forward to that golf tournament every year because of the talent of the players and because I enjoy seeing how those golfers perform when the pressure is as great as it is going to get in their sport.

I know I am partial because it is something I grew up around, but I think the Masters is the most important golf tournament there is and the one that great golfers most want to win before they retire from competition.

If you took a poll of all of the golfers who play in it about which tournament they would most like to win, it would be the Masters. The other majors are great events with their own histories and traditions, but there is something extra special about the Masters. It marks you for life when you win it.

I used to hold the ropes when Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Billy Casper, Jimmy Demaret and all of those guys played in Augusta and developed a real love for the game being so close to it. Back then they would let the fans follow the golfers from hole to hole and when the players would come by we would clear a path to let them get through. It is uncanny the things the winner of this tournament can do under pressure and it is also interesting to see what intense pressure does to golfers who struggle when the opportunity is there to win that coveted green jacket.

I thought this year was a classic with the exciting finish, the controversy with Tiger Woods on Friday, the changing course conditions and a variety of players being in place during the closing holes to make a run at the championship.

When Brandt Snedeker went south, I couldn't pull against Angel Cabrera, but I had to pull for Adam Scott after watching him collapse at the British Open last year. From everything I have read and heard about him he is just a great guy.

The excitement this year's Masters generated had to be good for golf. I can't imagine how much attention the tournament drew from around the world with the kid from China playing in it and an Australian finally winning that title.

(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.

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