More Pressure on Freeze or DeBoer?

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 04: Auburn Tigers head coach Hugh Freeze points to the crowd following a game between the Vanderbilt Commodores and Auburn Tigers, November 4, 2023 at FirstBank Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire)

(Photo by Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire)

It’s a period of transition for both Alabama and Auburn entering 2024. While the situations are obviously very different, they are also similar in the way that both Kalen DeBoer and Hugh Freeze enter the season under an immense amount of pressure. But who is there more on?

It’s a fascinating question. For Kalen DeBoer, he is beginning by far the biggest career leap in his coaching career. We are talking about a coach who just five years ago was the offensive coordinator at Indiana and was not a head coach at the Division One level until 2020 with Fresno State.

While DeBoer enjoyed a meteoric rise and tremendous success in his two seasons at Washington, the pressure cooker he is entering in Tuscaloosa is unlike anything he has encountered throughout his career.

When it comes to “pressure”, an argument could be made that following Nick Saban at Alabama is the most pressure filled position in the sport.

Hugh Freeze, on the other hand, finds himself in a spot where year one on the field did not go well, and schedule wise it’s only getting tougher in year two. Freeze, of course, has created momentum on the recruiting trail and brought in some big time prospects, but the product Auburn put on the field in 2023 was not good enough.

Freeze also had the worst roster talent wise that he will ever have at Auburn. Now that he has a year under his belt, things are going to get contentious in a scenario where the Tigers don’t take steps from their 6-6 record in 2023.

Another element to consider is the fact that Freeze has openly stated that he is going to be the one calling plays in 2024 after the dismissal of now former offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery.

Clearly, the Tigers had a dreadful passing game in 2o23 and while some new talent arrives at the wide receiver position, Payton Thorne returns after what was overall a horrible season.

Freeze must have confidence in the fact that Thorne can make strides under a new play caller and some young talent as pass catchers, and he’s hedging a lot on that gamble.

No one expects Auburn to compete for a championship in 2o24, but strides must be taken to avoid a lot of noise from the fan base headed into the following year.

When comparing the two, you probably have to say that more pressure is on DeBoer. Both will be calling plays, but ultimately if Alabama and Auburn had the same record, it is clearly much worse for DeBoer than Freeze.

8-4 would be seen as tremendous for Freeze, while 8-4 for DeBoer would not be seen as even successful.

It’s a tough reality for Kalen DeBoer to face, but he knew what he signed up for when he took the job.

Alabama fans better hope he is ready for it.