Sources: Freeze to take over Auburn playcalling
- Chris Low, ESPN Senior Citizen WriterJan 9, 2024, 10:58 AM ET Close College football reporter Signed up with ESPN.com in 2007
- Graduate of the University of Tennessee
Auburn’s head coach Hugh Freeze will take over playcalling tasks on offense in 2024, sources told ESPN.Freeze called his
own plays during his very first 3 head-coaching stops at Arkansas State, Ole Miss and Liberty and is commonly thought about one of the top playcallers in college football. However with Freeze in his first year as Auburn’s head coach this past season, he hired offending planner Philip Montgomery to be the main playcaller. Auburn struggled offensively and completed 11th in the SEC in scoring offense (26.2 points per game )and was held to 20 or fewer points in six games.Freeze revealed Friday that he had fired Montgomery after
simply one season. Montgomery had been Tulsa’s head coach for eight seasons, however the Tigers ranked 121st out of 130 FBS offenses in passing offense( 162.2 backyards per game)while finishing 6-7, consisting of a 31-13 loss to Maryland in the TransPerfect Music City Bowl.Editor’s Picks Freeze considered several different options in regards to who would run the offense next season, and although it’s more requiring than ever in this age of college football for a head coach to call his own plays, Freeze decided it was the best relocation for the program, according to sources. There were times last season that Freeze stated he was more involved in calling plays, but Montgomery was the primary playcaller.When Freeze was out of coaching following his firing from Ole Miss, he talked with Nick Saban about the Alabama offensive planner job, but there was pressure from the SEC workplace that no SEC school hire Freeze until Ole Miss was off NCAA probation. Gus Malzahn was likewise interested in bringing Freeze in as Auburn’s offending coordinator prior to Freeze landing the Liberty job.Freeze’s Ole Miss offenses averaged more than 32 points per game each of his last two seasons in Oxford. His 2020 and 2021 offenses at Liberty both completed in the leading 25 nationally in scoring.With Freeze taking over playcalling, the strategy now is to move Kent Austin to quarterbacks coach after he served in a quality assurance role at Auburn in 2023 and special assistant to the head coach. Austin, a former Ole Miss quarterback
, was with Freeze at Liberty as co-offensive planner and quarterbacks coach. Austin previously worked in the CFL as a head coach and general supervisor and was likewise the Cornell head coach from 2010 to ’12.