What Auburn Tigers can Expect in Year 2 of Hugh Freeze

History tells us the Auburn Tigers should be much improved in Hugh Freeze's second year.
Auburn Tigers head coach Hugh Freeze
Auburn Tigers head coach Hugh Freeze / Jake Crandall/ Advertiser / USA TODAY
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When the Auburn Tigers welcome Alabama A&M to Jordan Hare on August 31, the hopeful eyes and cynical gut of the Tigers fanbase will train on what Hugh Freeze ushers onto the field. Finishing 6-7, after the waking nightmare of the Harsin Era doesn't feel like progress, especially after the New Mexico State embarrassment. 

However, when given time, Hugh Freeze displayed the consistent aptitude of firming up his program in the second year. Now, that may not include an SEC Championship and College Football Playoff run. With that said, what to expect of Freeze's offense in his second campaign on the Plains?

Home Cookin' Tastes Great

For Freeze, the 2024 schedule kicks off with five-consecutive home games. More importantly, four of those five appear completely winnable with Oklahoma objectively seeing Auburn as an underdog.

Under those circumstances, the Tigers could leave town, headed to Athens 4-1. Not to mention, winning early and often builds confidence, emboldening both sides of the ball. Walking into Georgia with the feeling of playing loose with house money goes a long way to crafting a great season. 

Starting the season facing Alabama A&M, New Mexico, California, Arkansas, and Oklahoma sets up perfectly for this team. If Auburn struggles, going 3-2 in this stretch, those three wins, barring a mammoth late-season collapse insures the Tigers bowl eligibility. 

The Cam Show

When Auburn landed highly-touted wideout Cam Coleman, the nation’s No. 5 prospect according to 247Sports,  you could feel the ground slightly shift. Spurning Alabama in favor of Auburn sees the Phenix City native with an almost certainty to start, probably at the X-receiver spot.

In Coleman, the Tigers will enjoy a player that started to find his route acumen late in high school. Now, with a blossoming route tree, Coleman gives Auburn a player that should see everything from screens to slants to posts thrown his way. Provided that Coleman rapidly adjusts to the speed and physicality of the game, the offense rapidly will improve on the pedestrian 6.6 yards per attempt in 2023.

Moreover, Coleman's big-play ability should force defenses to sag, opening up opportunities for Jarquez Hunter. 

History Repeats Itself

Looking back at the second year of Freeze's head coach tenure at every location, a pattern forms. In 2009, Freeze led Lambuth (NAIA) to an 11-0 regular season advancing to the semifinals, before losing to St. Xavier (IL).

Four years later, Ole Miss won eight games, thwarting a furious Georgia Tech rally, escaping with a 25-17 victory. In 2020, Liberty, under Freeze's direction, finished the season 10-1, due to an overtime victory over then-unbeaten Coastal Carolina in the FBC Mortgage Care Bowl. Now, bolstered by a manageable schedule, Hugh Freeze can quiet the cynics and bring Auburn back to respectability, erasing the previous administration.

Victory is the ultimate disinfectant for stale college football teams.


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Terrance Biggs

TERRANCE BIGGS

Senior Editor/ Podcast Host, Full Press Coverage, Bleav, Member: Football Writers Association of America, United States Basketball Writers Association, and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, National Football Foundation Voter: FWAA All-American, Jim Thorpe, Davey O'Brien, Outland, and Biletnikoff Awards