Former Auburn Players, Alumni React To Malzahn Hiring

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - The deal is done, and Gus Malzahn is Auburn's new head football coach. But what does Auburn Nation think about the move?

The headlines are still fresh, but it appears at least a good portion of those who wear orange and blue are satisfied with Malzahn's hiring. Local sports talk host and former Auburn player Cole Cubelic was gauging fan reaction Tuesday afternoon during his daily radio show on 97.7 The Zone. Cubelic told WHNT News 19 that Malzahn was the best fit on Auburn's short list, which also reportedly included Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart and former Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino.

"Here's what I like about Gus Malzahn: That guy is football 24-7," said Cubelic, who was an offensive lineman in the Tommy Tuberville era and also serves as a color analyst for ESPN Radio. "He'll bring some new energy, some new life into the Auburn program...Obviously, a brilliant football mind. I covered this guy in the Sunbelt [Conference]. I went to their [Arkansas State's] walk-through last Friday, and was amazed at how detail-oriented he was, and I think that's what Auburn needs. Somebody who's going to be relentless when it comes to football and constantly thinking about football."

Fans we talked to also said they were encouraged by Malzahn's hiring, with some calling his recruiting prowess desperately needed.

"I think Malzahn was the best choice," said John Price, an Auburn graduate and die-hard Tiger supporter. "They knew what he was capable of, and I feel giving him a chance as head coach should prove very fruitful."

Cubelic said expectations for Malzahn would be high, even though the Tigers are coming off their worst season in decades.

"I expect eight, nine wins from Gus Malzahn next year," said Cubelic. "He's got the players to fit his system."