Auburn football HC Hugh Freeze on his role as a recruiter

Auburn football Mandatory Credit: The Montgomery Advertiser
Auburn football Mandatory Credit: The Montgomery Advertiser /

Auburn football head coach Hugh Freeze has a tall task ahead of him in reviving the Tigers’ program. For the past several years, recruiting has not been a strong point of the program, especially during Bryan Harsin’s short tenure on the Plains. The Tigers struggled to bring in top-tier talent that would help them compete against neighboring powerhouses Alabama and Georgia.

Freeze knew this when he took the job, and focused on securing a staff that would enable him to spend a lot of time on roster management, which has gotten increasingly harder since the new NCAA transfer portal rules took effect. Now, coaches have to focus on the on-field product as well as whether or not players stay with the program while also being prepared to play the transfer portal game.

Earlier this year, Freeze confirmed that he would be turning over play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Phillip Montgomery, which will be a first for the Tigers’ new head coach. But to Freeze, it’s a necessity if he wants to dig Auburn football out of the hole it has been in for the past few years, per The Montgomery Advertiser:

"“As much as I love calling plays, and I’m certain I still will do that at some (points), but I can’t sit in that room all day and manage that entire roster, plus recruiting,” Freeze said. “It’s definitely different.”"

Of course, this doesn’t mean that Freeze is completely hands-off, and he explained that his strategy so far has been to trust his staff to let him know when they need his input, which is something he feels confident in:

"“I’ve kind of just gotten to where I don’t look too much and I wait for the text from them that says, ‘This one here, you need to look at, coach.’ That helps me a lot,” Freeze said. “But truthfully, I don’t get stressed too much anymore in life. … I think you get to a point that (you say), ‘You know what, I know what we do is good.”"

Meanwhile, Freeze is currently focused on crafting a team of athletes who are ready to compete and unifying the locker room behind a shared goal, flipping the script. In these early days, the top priority is getting recruits and transfers on campus that make Auburn football into a team that wins and competes with the likes of Alabama and Georgia again.

The head coach has found success in recruiting so far, but the true test will come this fall when Freeze’s first Auburn team hits the field.

Next. Hugh Freeze on the reality of QB competition. dark