I can't say I have been around the players and the new coaching staff a lot, but you don't have to be around them very long to see that Gus Malzahn and his assistant coaches have developed a good relationship with their players. You can tell that by talking to the players and you can see it in the body language of how the players and coaches interact.
I know this coaching staff has made it a major point of emphasis for the players to take care of their academic responsibilities and the news that the Tigers did very well in the classroom in the recently completed semester is another sign that the players are tuned in and listening to what their coaches are telling them.
At Auburn the players have all the support they need to be successful in the classroom as long as they are willing to make a commitment to work hard enough to get the job done. It is my experience as a coach that if a kid is not doing what he is supposed to be doing academically then it's probably going to show up in his performance on the field. It looks to me like Coach Malzahn has his finger on the pulse of the program and has things moving in a positive direction.
I am certainly not expecting any miracles out of the 2013 Auburn team that will be counting on many of the same kids who played on a team that really struggled last season, but I am not going to be surprised if we see a lot better performances from a variety of players this season. If that happens I think we will see improvement in the team's won/loss record.
I have said it before, but I think it is worth repeating that there are football players at Auburn who not been major contributors previously who are going to have a chance to step up and be good college players this fall, and in the seasons to come. Some of those guys were heavily recruited out of high school and others were not. Now that their opportunity is here to step up and shine for their new coaches, I think a lot of those guys will take advantage of their situations and in the process make this a more enjoyable team for Auburn fans to watch this fall.
(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.