A camera is always watching. For Auburn coach Gus Malzahn, that led to a viral moment Sunday morning that was both awkward and rampant with speculation.
After an Auburn punt against Georgia with 12:04 left in what became a loss to the Bulldogs, the cameras gave everyone a chance to read Malzahn’s lips. Malzahn muttered what looked to be a comment out of frustration with his headset microphone nowhere near his mouth. What did he say?
The leader in the clubhouse is “they better not fire me” or “they better not fine me.” There were plenty of interpretations from college football fans after the video spread quickly Sunday morning. “They’re gonna fire me.” “Somebody gonna get fired, man.” And “they better not flag me” are among the most-guessed meanings.
I’m no expert lip reader but I’m pretty sure a blind man can see what he just said. pic.twitter.com/hmbo84L4Hu
— Auburn Overtime (@AuburnOvertime) November 11, 2018
Perhaps Malzahn will clear it up at his next media availability, but that seems unlikely. Keep in mind that we are five days removed from Auburn athletic director Allen Greene’s strong backing of Malzahn heading into 2019.
“He’ll be the coach next year and I’m confident — he’s already proven we can get through adversity,” Greene said. “Every team has it and I’m looking forward to working with him for a long time.”
Greene is in his first year as Auburn’s athletics director and said his working relationship with Malzahn is strong. Malzahn signed a seven-year, $49 million contract in December of 2017 following the Tigers advancement to the SEC Championship. Malzahn’s buyout would be $32 million if Auburn fired him after this season.
“I’ve shared this before: when you compete in this league and when you’re investing in a football program the way we have chosen to invest in our football program, you expect to be successful more than a normal team and when that doesn’t happen it’s upsetting for me, for coach, the student-athletes, our fans because we expect more,” Greene said. “Coach expects more. After seeing some games, I know that we’re young in some positions and I think there’s a lot of talent at those positions. I know coach is working really hard to recruit additional talent which I think he’ll hit home runs in that regard. He’s going to continue to be a really good coach for us. And I’m really excited to work with him and to help provide Auburn fans the type of football program that they deserve.”
Frustration was common Saturday night for Auburn fans after a 27-10 loss to No. 5 Georgia puts the Tigers at 6-4 this season.
“I thought we had a really good game plan coming in getting the ball out in space to our guys,” Malzahn said. “I thought we did a really good job for the most part all night. We just didn’t capitalize on some things and make some critical plays.”