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Malzahn and Dyer to Return to Auburn in 2013 (or not)

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, Arkansas State has announced that they will be traveling back to Auburn (they were the first team Cam Newton beat as a Tiger in 2010) on September 7, 2013. It will be both teams’ second game of the season.

At first, I think of Gus Malzahn and his return to Jordan-Hare. I have no problems with it – it scares me – but I will have no bad feelings towards him. It’s sort of like the Samford game last year. I love Pat Sullivan and wanted his team to be competitive, but not actually win the game. They ended up being a little too competitive for my liking, but it was still good to see one of our guys still out there coaching and doing his thing.

Malzahn will be in his second year, and will have another year’s worth of athletes that didn’t want to go to Arkansas, or at least wouldn’t have gone to Arkansas State unless Gus wasn’t there. Of course, by then Arkansas will have their real choice as a head coach, and will get anybody they want from the state. We have no idea how good his team will be, but we know what he’s capable of. At least we have three year’s worth of practices and games and playbooks to study.

It’s a little bit different of a situation for me when it comes to Michael Dyer. The next great running back in Auburn history, who will be have to sit out 2012 per transfer rules, has quickly turned into someone I’d love to forget. I know most of you wish him well, and I by no means wish him harm, but I’m not going to wish him well… as a collegiate football player. He is now an opponent. He is now someone who could have been an Auburn legend.

He had the chance to admit his mistakes, take his lumps, and get back in the good graces of the coaching staff. Instead, he left. He didn’t want to do what Chizik laid out for him to do to get back on the team. What that plan was we’ll never know, but I’m sure it involved running, more running, and any variance of a curfew and GPA minimum.

Bottom line: he quit on Auburn. He left. He could have gone down as one of the greats. Bo held his hand high, kissed his forehead, and Dyer threw that away. How can you wish that well?

In terms of his life, I hope he turns it around. I hope he becomes the guy he looked like he was going to be prior to 2011. But I do not hope that he comes into Jordan-Hare and gains more than one yard. I would hope that Auburn fans will be better than to boo him as he comes on the field, but I would also hope that no one cheers him either. As I said, he is now an opponent.

Now after saying all of that, it’s possible that one or even both won’t be making the trip.

Gus Malzahn is an Arkansas native, and I’m sure his dream job wasn’t Arkansas State. I’ve never asked him this, but I know that his college dream job is Arkansas. I’m positive. That being said, unless John L. Smith takes Arkansas to the SEC Championship Game next year, the Razorbacks will be looking for a more permanent solution. Gus Malzahn could be that solution. If he shows that he can run a team, and not just an offense, Arkansas could very well give Mr. Malzahn his dream job following next season.

Some think that Malzahn would be too honorable to leave Arkansas State after one year, but honor has nothing to do with it. He saw how his head coaching job possibilities went from Vanderbilt and Maryland to Arkansas State in one year, so he’s going to be quick to jump on a job in the SEC. You don’t hold off on a dream job just to be nice. I’m sorry. Malzahn wouldn’t be honorable to himself or his family to turn down Arkansas to stay at a Sun Belt school.

If this does happen, then we’ll see Malzahn every year when Auburn takes on the Razorbacks, so I’m not sure how I feel about that. I’m scared of him at Arkansas State because we know what he can do and if, heaven forbid, Auburn lost, it would be terrible on multiple levels. Think about it. It’s not just a loss to Arkansas State. It’s fuel to the “Malzahn is the reason Auburn was so good, and Chizik sucks” fire.

But if Malzahn is at Arkansas, a loss to him then would be more respectable, given the talent he’d be coaching. But then the Chizik/Malzahn debate would just go on forever. It doesn’t matter, but it would.

As far as Dyer is concerned, as I mentioned earlier, he will have to sit out the 2012 season. NFL rules state that a player must be three years removed from high school to enter the draft. Even though Dyer will only have two years worth of playing time in college, he would be eligible to go to the NFL because next year would be his junior year of college. Most, and I am one of them, think that he’ll sit out this year, workout, continue to practice with the team, and then enter the draft. It would not surprise me at all.

It’s going to be strange to see either or both on the other sideline. Malzahn and Dyer are forever etched in Auburn history because of the National Championship and to see them somewhere else so quickly (maybe) is just going to be weird. I can’t think of a coach and a superstar moving to the same team and then playing their old team ever. It’s probably happened, but not that I’m aware of. Anyway, what are your thoughts?

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Brett 05/09/2012 at 12:13 pm

I agree with most of what you say except the parts that say and imply that Dyer would have been one of the greats. IMHO, compared to others that AU has had in that role he was OK. Yes, he was instrumental in the ’10 Championship, but to me he was never on the same level as “great”.

The WarBlogler 05/09/2012 at 12:27 pm

Well I did say “could” and I don’t think that anyone would argue with someone calling a BCS NCG MVP as a freshman could be great.

Brett 05/09/2012 at 1:42 pm

Yep, I guess I jumped the gun on your original take, and missed the word “could”. And in the context of what he accomplished that year he was “great” for that season. My point was regardless of that, I didn’t see in him the same ability as some of the other greats AU and other schools have produced over the years. Anyway good article and I, like you fear Malzahn and what he “could” do if/when we face him across the field.

Drew 05/09/2012 at 1:59 pm

I completely agree. Dyer makes me so frustrated because like you stated, he could have gone down as one of AU’s all time greats. His rushing stats were already on par to jump high up the list (depending on how long he stayed at AU). Not only did he throw away personal chances of making tons in the NFL and personal awards (not saying he still can’t, but the likeliness is much less), he stated with his actions that he was too good for Auburn. He never respected and never loved it.

Now one of my most fond memories and one of the most amazing plays I’ve ever seen in any game, his run late in the 4th quarter in Glendale (which I was there for) now is tainted by his drug use, involvement up in the robbery, selfish attitude, dysfunctionality with teammates and quitting. I thank him for his contribution to our National Championship, but I will never respect him again. This kid has major character flaws and obviously is not willing to work them out.

It’s sad that that much potential is wasted, I can’t imagine not having a better attitude if I was given his God-given abilities.

Stephen (@walker_stephen) 05/09/2012 at 2:10 pm

Ignoring the whole Gus/Mike thing and them coming back so soon, I think eventually Mike will be looked upon favorably and the sour taste that most of us have about him will fade.
It’s, obviously, a break up. Right now, we are only focusing on all the reasons it’s great he left so we won’t miss him that much; but eventually we’ll get to a point were we can fondly look back and only remember the good time, content in where we are at that particular point (God willing, holding up another crystal football…), and not have to think of the bad stuff. That we give thanks to those whose blood, sweat and tears, even before those who won it for us, got us to that point. Got us to the limelight, and had athletes who would have never even considered, or heard of Auburn, come here.

But yeah, one year removed? That may be too soon. WE

Fearless and True 05/09/2012 at 3:02 pm

“…It scares me…” “…I’m scared of him at Arkansas State…” WTH?

Auburn is FEARLESS AND TRUE. There is no reason to ever, ever be scared of any team. Especially one from the Sun Belt Conference.

Malzahn is unproven as a head coach, and Dyer has not proven he can stay off drugs. Regardless, they left. Auburn moves on. Auburn thrives.

If they play us, I hope we destroy them. In fact, for every opponent, I always hope for a “no-quarter, cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war” kind of game.

I never want any opponent to “be competitive but not win the game” as you put it. I never want any opponent to gain a yard, score a point, or get a tackle. I know that’s not even remotely realistic, but that is my hope. I want complete and utter domination. I don’t want patty-cake with football friends.

The WarBlogler 05/09/2012 at 3:30 pm

I agree with all of that, but don’t you think Arkansas State might have a little bit more to play for than usual, and be a little excited given the circumstances. I expect us to blow them out, but adding Malzahn and Dyer does make them a little more scary.

Fearless and True 05/09/2012 at 4:06 pm

Teams are always excited to play Auburn because we’re Auburn.

Auburn is not scared of any team to begin with, therefore ASU isn’t “a little more scary” with Malzahn and Dyer.

Stop living in fear and get with the (AU) program.

And how can you “agree with all of that” when I’m basically saying that several of the statements in your post are completely wrong?

So, now you agree that Malzahn/ASU/any team should not be feared even though in your reply you say again they’re “a little more scary”?

And, unaddressed in your reply, do you want us to dominate or do you want opponents to play Auburn close but still lose?

WDE T 05/10/2012 at 11:18 am

Quit trolling. Get off your damn high horse while you are at it. If you do not like what WarBlogle is writing, you don’t have to read. Although I am sure he is glad you keep coming back to the site (site hits=good) to argue with him when he clearly doesn’t want to argue with you. You have stated your opinion and it has been heard (read), you can stop now.

T. C. Nomel 05/09/2012 at 3:08 pm

I doubt Ark State will even be the latest opportunity Dyer has squandered by Fall 2013.

DBAU81 05/09/2012 at 9:30 pm

Gus will field a competitive team, but nothing to be scared of if we take care of business. Dyer? I think we’ve seen the last of him on a college football field.

jess 05/09/2012 at 9:44 pm

leave your fears to mr. van gorder. wde!

Auburn Elvis 05/14/2012 at 7:51 am

I agree that it’s frustrating, but I still hope he does well. Brandon Jacobs left Auburn. So did Rob Bironas. And as long as Dyer doesn’t turn into a public embarrassment, I’ll claim him as a former Auburn Tiger just as I do those guys.

Ted 05/20/2012 at 8:41 am

Certainly I won’t wish MD “well”….as in what he does against AU. On the other hand, I do appreciate what he did at AU and regret that he left before he had completed the job. Hope he gets his act together and finishes his college career on top.

Austin1112 07/20/2012 at 3:16 pm

I believe he already was a great (the only tailback at Auburn to have back to back 1000 yd rushing years). He had it all laid out for him, to be the next Heisman, I believe. But oh well. Glad he’s gone.

AUChief 09/08/2013 at 3:36 pm

Linked to this off of the game prediction blogle from this year. Reflecting on last season, if AU had kept the staff from last year, a Gus led Arkansas State would have beaten us soundly. Glad we never had to see that happen.


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