Dye-Gest: The Value Of Discipline In Football

College Football Hall of Fame coach Pat Dye writes about giving players a second chance.

One of the most critical areas for having a great football program, which the Auburn Tigers certainly have, is discipline. That is important both on and off the field.

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I love the way Gus Malzahn handles his players, particularly off the field. It's not something that I haven't talked to him about, but just watching him it is impressive. That pertains to pertains to academics, extra-curricular activity off the field or whatever. Coach Malzahn is about doing things the right way.

My take is that he didn't get into coaching to make millions of dollars. Yes, he is making them, but he got into coaching because he loves it and he loves kids, and that's the right reason to get into it.

Auburn has had some great success giving kids a second chance. You don't have to look any further than Cam Newton and Nick Marshall. Both of them made mistakes when they were young and both of them turned out to be outstanding people and great football players.

I hope the same thing is true with Tray Matthews, the kid who is transferring to Auburn from Georgia after being dismissed from his former team. One thing for sure about the move is that if he doesn't meet the standards Coach Malzahn sets for his players he will have made a mistake coming to Auburn, and Auburn will have made a mistake in taking him, but that is a mistake a strong program can live with, although that may not be the case for Matthews.

If he wants to do what is right on and off the field, then from everything that I can understand Matthews can be an asset to the football team because he is a great talent. When your program is strong and you have got the kind of leadership and discipline in the relationship between the players and the coaches that Auburn has, it's a lot easier to deal with an individual who is working his way through problems and life.

He couldn't have picked a better place than Auburn to come and be associated with good kids and great people who are going to be coaching him, men like Charlie Harbison, Melvin Smith, Ellis Johnson and Coach Malzahn.

I can promise you that the Tigers have got a very, very strong personality in strength and conditioning coach Ryan Russell running their off-season program and you know Matthews will have to get on the same page with the coach and trust him, and trust is the key to it on both sides.

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