When head coach Hugh Freeze was hired to take over the Auburn football program last December, his first priority was salvaging the recruiting class of 2023, and his second priority was to put together a strong first-year coaching staff on the Plains.
It didn’t take long for Freeze to choose his coordinators, and Auburn football brought on offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery and defensive coordinator Ron Roberts. Pretty early on, Freeze also made it clear that he did not intend to call plays—instead, that job would go to Montgomery.
With the amount of recruiting work necessary to bring the Auburn football program back up to speed in addition to roster management, it simply wasn’t feasible for Freeze to also be the play caller.
However, after the Tigers lost four straight SEC games and struggled to find any sort of offensive success, Freeze began to walk things back a little. Now, the head coach says that he and Montgomery are “collaborating” when it comes to play calling, and that he is “very involved” with what goes on the call sheet.
On the other hand, these were the comments Freeze offered when asked about defensive coordinator Ron Roberts, per AL.com, which could be read as a subtle shot at Montgomery:
"He said that Ron Roberts does a masterful job of calling plays. He then said that when he hires someone, he tries to get out of the way and let them do their job until they prove they can’t."
So, has offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery proven he can’t call plays? It’s clear that, at least to some extent, Montgomery is not meeting expectations even if Freeze is careful not to throw him under the bus. For the rest of the 2023 Auburn football season, it’s likely that Freeze will be more involved than not when it comes to offensive play calling.
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