It’s been a rough couple of years for the Auburn football program. While there was hope that Bryan Harsin would be a breath of fresh air for the Tigers, it didn’t pan out that way at all, and the former head coach arguably left the program in worse shape than he found it.
One of the biggest struggles during the Harsin era was recruiting, from being unable to clinch high-priority recruits to simply forming relationships with high school coaches around the state and beyond. For Hugh Freeze, these things are non-negotiables, and he has already made major improvements to the roster and changed the energy surrounding the program.
For tight end Luke Deal, there is hope that the Tigers come out swinging during Freeze’s first season on the Plains. Deal referenced the tail end of the 2022 season, when Cadillac Williams took over as the Tigers’ interim head coach following Harsin’s firing, per ESPN:
"“It’s just consistency,” Deal said. “If you watched last year, if you watch that team, toward the end of the season, completely different ballclub, and we bring that same energy earlier in the season, who knows?”"
Freeze’s mantra so far has been “flip the script”, acknowledging that there is work to be done and encouraging the locker room to by in to the idea that the Tigers can be a winning program again, and that the downward spiral over the past few years is not a permanent situation.
With returning talent, a reloaded roster, and a staff that is committed to the development and wellbeing of the athletes in addition to the dedication to the new era of recruiting, Freeze has certainly put the Auburn football program back on the right track, and if they can channel the energy in the players that ran out of the tunnel before last year’s Texas A&M matching there’s no telling what the Tigers can accomplish in 2023.