Sallee: Malzahn Made The Right Decision
Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn
CFN SEC columnist Barrett Sallee takes a look at Gus Malzahn's decision to pass up a chance to be the head coach at Vanderbilt in favor of remaining the offensive coordinator on the Plains.
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Gus Malzahn did the right thing by rejecting the offer to become the head coach at Vanderbilt and staying on as offensive coordinator of the Auburn Tigers. Yeah, the money and power might be a little bit better in Nashville, but it's far more likely that his time at Vanderbilt would hurt his long-term career prospects than it is by staying at Auburn.
Critics will point to the fact that Malzahn probably won't have quarterback Cam Newton around next year leading his offense, and that he might not be worth the $1.3 million per year extension that he received from Auburn. That's a bit short-sighted. When given full control of his offense, Malzahn has been nothing short of spectacular as a college offensive coordinator.
It's not the quarterback that makes Malzahn's offense click, it's the coach. In 2009 Malzahn took a roster that featured Chris Todd at quarterback and turned it into the most prolific offense in Auburn history. Let's not forget that he took over an Auburn offense that couldn't move the ball against air in 2008, and had essentially the same personnel. That 2008 offense caused the midseason firing of offensive coordinator Tony Franklin and subsequent resignation of former Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville. It was a train wreck, and Malzahn got it back track in one season.
In the two years prior to joining the Auburn staff, Malzahn coordinated a Tulsa offense that led the nation in total offense. In 2007, his Tulsa offense became the first offense in college football history to have a 5,000-yard passer, three 1,000-yard receivers and a 1,000-yard rusher in the same season. Think about that for a second to let it sink in.
Unlike Steve Addazio, Malzahn is capable of adjusting his offense around his personnel, so losing Newton shouldn't be a major problem.
What seems to be lost in this is the statement that was made with Malzahn's decision. With so many people assuming that the NCAA hammer may drop on Auburn because of Mississippi State's recruitment of Cam Newton, Malzahn chose to pass up more money and power to stay at Auburn for another year. That tells me that he's not concerned about the NCAA at all – and he probably knows more than the rest of us.
Barrett Sallee covers the SEC for www.CollegeFootballNews.com. He can be reached at email@example.com, or on Twitter at @BarrettSallee
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2010 Column Archive:
Malzahn Makes The Right Move – December 14, 2010
Five Thoughts on Muschamp – December 12, 2010
CFN Analysis: Florida Hires Muschamp – December 12, 2010
CFN Analysis: Cam's Heisman Landslide – December 11, 2010
Five Thoughts On Urban Meyer – December 9, 2010
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SEC Roundtable Discussion Part III – July 13, 2010
SEC Roundtable Discussion Part II – June 21, 2010
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Realignment – What Should The SEC Do? – June 9, 2010
SEC Roundtable Discussion Part I – June 7, 2010
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