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ck philosopher chef ( on 9/8/2018 - 12:06 p.m. says: ( 27 views , 10 likes )

"New Legacy Connect gameday tradition....."

was emailed to me. Don’t have a link


Rob Pate: A new Auburn tradition leans, builds on legacy

Much has been made of coach Gus Malzahn's demeanor as of late.

A coach free from the burden of incessant hot seat talk, who has successfully elevated his hands-on approach on the recruiting trail, who has made it no secret he has high expectations for this year’s Tigers. Would Gus Malzahn circa 2016 had allowed our own Brandon Marcello to essentially kidnap the coach for a prolonged interview, in his car of all places, that touched on topics very far away from the football field? There is absolutely zero chance that Gus Malzahn steps into that arena. Zero.

This updated, weight-lifted, ultra-engaged version of Gus Malzahnwill launch another phenomenal idea this weekend against Alabama State and hopefully be the genesis of something I believe will be very special, very Auburn-like, and perpetuate for years to come.

Coach Malzahn will introduce what will be called the Legacy Connect program — an opportunity to link the present with the past in a bold move of trust, respect, humility and family. In what he expects will be a unique, positive experience for the players on this team, for each home game, coach Malzahn has asked for 50 former lettermen to join the team inside the newly renovated locker room exactly 30 minutes before they take the field.

Specifically, coach Malzahn has asked us to find the player that is wearing the jersey number we wore while at Auburn and spend two to three minutes exclusively with that player — the one wearing the jersey we once wore. He wants us to tell them what Auburn means to us, what that jersey represents, what we would give to run onto that field once more. To understand these moments are few, they are special, they are powerful, they are unforgettable and they are fleeting.

He wants the young man currently representing Auburn University and this historic Auburn football program, to look into the eyes of the ones that came before them and understand the sacrifices are worth it, the program is storied, and the love affair is forever.

I will be a part of this inaugural event and I am grateful for it. I would have treasured the opportunity to have spoken with and understood what Auburn football meant to guys that wore No. 31 – the likes of Shug Jordanand Freddie Smith! I would have relished the chance to have former brothers share with me the importance of the current moment now that they have moved on with life — better husbands and fathers and leaders because of their time in orange and blue. I would have been thankful for the reminder of the guys that built this program, that built this stadium, that made Jordan-Hare what is today — the toughest venue in college football.

As the moment ends and coach Malzahn has a final word with the team before stepping foot onto the playing surface to kick off the game —he has asked the former players to form a tunnel leading to the entrance of the field for the players to walk through. As the team bursts through the smoke and the Auburn marching band and onto Pat Dye Field, we will exit to our seats having deep appreciation for the brief moment to build into the young man we used to be. We will hope these young men know they are loved, they are respected for carrying the blessing and burden of Auburn football, we root for them, we pray for them, they are equals — brothers and family.

Coach Malzahn sees the big picture and is about to unleash something that will impact generations of Auburn players for the better. Gus Malzahn of the not-too-distant past would not have done this. It would have far exceeded his comfort zone. Not only will this be a great success, this will be copied and emulated by other programs in the short term.

This program reminds me of all that is right with college football. In a day and age when individualism reigns supreme, where agreement in a politically- and socially-charged environment is hard to come by — where division due to color, sex, socioeconomic status, religion and region seeks to divide us — the locker room is a sacred place that has all but solved the disunion witnessed outside of it. Nothing matters in the locker room beyond love, trust, accountability and respect.

That’s it.

Your background, or color, or bank account are totally obsolete — because football is beautiful and the locker room is light years ahead of society.

So Chandler Wooten and Sage Ledbetter, look out! I might spontaneously combust!! And thank you to coach Gus Malzahnfor leading and building a program we can be proud of, and for giving the current players an opportunity meet and know the ones that passed the torch.

This game is about execution, This game is about building depth. This game is about fine tuning the fundamentals and making a very big deal out of the “little things." This game is about respecting your opponent and improving every time you touch the field. Every game is special — even the ones we take for granted.


Rob Pate is a former Auburn defensive back. His column appears exclusively at Auburn Undercover.

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