Bruce Pearl sees silver lining in Auburn football program's failures in 2023

Bruce Pearl believes Auburn football could benefit from its failures in 2023
Bruce Pearl believes Auburn football could benefit from its failures in 2023 / James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Bruce Pearl believes the trials and tribulations of the 2023 Auburn football season could set up Hugh Freeze's Tigers for a major turnaround in 2024 -- telling the crowd as much at the Auburn AMBUSH event at the Finley Center in Hoover.

"I think that they are in a really good place, I think they are humble because they did not have the kind of year that they wanted," Pearl said (h/t WVTM). "Hugh Freeze works every day all day; he works every day all day, Auburn football is in good hands."

Pearl knows how the disappointment of one season could lead to an improvement the next. The 2022-23 regular season was a bit of a down-year for his program and 2023-24 was an SEC Championship season.

Hopefully, the March Madness failures a few months ago, namely the upset loss to Yale, fuel a deeper run in 2025.

Many Tiger fans will need it for their mental health.

Auburn football needs improved leadership

Freeze got a little too comfortable passing the blame to former offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery during the 2023 season before he assumed full-time play-calling duties. In 2024, he'll need to show more accountability, but the team's success will come down to improved leadership from its players.

In particular, Payton Thorne is someone who could be due for a bounce-back after a disappointing debut on the Plains. Thorne has looked improved during the offseason, throwing perhaps his best balls in orange and blue at the A-Day spring game. His development could be make or break in 2024, and the odds are better than not at this point that he'll make it.

2024 is a crucial breaking point for Auburn, which could either rise out of the post-COVID/NIL era malaise it has been mired in, or make Freeze's seat warmer come 2025.