AUBURN, Ala. — Gus Malzahn doesn’t seem to loathe media attention as much as Alabama coach Nick Saban, but the two certainly agree it’s not their favorite.
Auburn entered the AP Top 10 following its win over Ole Miss and has received praise for its string of conference wins. Whether it’s good or bad press, Malzahn urges players to ignore whatever’s being said or written.
“Whether it’s four weeks ago or whether it’s today, our team, we stay pretty insulated,” Malzahn said. “We don’t worry about anybody else’s expectations or what they think outside. It’s just about us getting better. We’re playing better. I told our team we’ve not arrived. I’ll let them know when we’ve arrived. But we’re in the process of having a chance to become a good team.”
Some of Auburn’s key players have a stunning following on several platforms. Quarterback Jarrett Stidham has more than 24,000 Twitter followers while junior running back Kerryon Johnson has more than 22,000.
It’s a subject, or rather an obstacle, Malzahn says he “always” addresses.
“Other people’s opinion doesn’t really matter anything at all with the team,” Malzahn said. “It’s just something as a coach in this day in time, you have to address. I wish it wasn’t that way but that’s a challenge. I think that’s a challenge for every head coach. It’s one of the bigger challenges because kids are different these days. They’re social media and the power of when you read something, what that really means, so I think that’s a challenge for every head coach, good or bad.
“It’s never too good or never too bad,” Malzahn said. “You just got to keep it within your room.”
The comments come days after Saban compared positive media attention to “rat poison” following the Crimson Tide’s 27-19 win at Texas A&M.
By every indication, Auburn’s players have heard and listened to Malzahn’s advice. The media attention may have been its most threatening even before Stidham took the field for the Tigers earlier this season. Yet Auburn staff members and student-athletes seemed to handle it well.
Offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey told local reporters he didn’t really “read what you guys write” though he respected the job they do. At SEC media days, senior Tray Matthews said his teammates were handling the extensive publicity surrounding Auburn well.
“We don’t really buy into the hype,” Matthews said in Hoover. “[Jarrett’s] not really buying into the hype at all. He’s just coming to work every day. He’s focused. He’s a great leader, he’s a great asset to the team already. And we’re just rolling with the punches, we’re not really worried about anything.”
Auburn will attempt to earn its first win at LSU since 1999. Players are aware of that task, but aren’t worried about what’s being said outside of the Auburn Athletics Complex.
The post Auburn’s Gus Malzahn doesn’t call media attention rat poison, but it’s a ‘challenge’ for coaches today appeared first on SEC Country.
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