A Chance for Malzahn to Get it Right
Auburn football just got a whole lot more interesting. With Rhett Lashlee jettisoning to Connecticut, Gus Malzahn has a chance to remake himself and this football program. The test will be whether Malzahn has the discipline to let someone else put their mark on the offense.
As things got tight down the stretch last season, he began inserting himself back into the play-calling duties. Doing so with a new coordinator could prove disastrous as we saw with Gene Chizik. Part of Chizik’s undoing was not being able to remove himself from the daily duties of running the defense.
It’s important that Malzahn not only bring in a good offensive mind but someone who is headstrong and will demand autonomy when putting his plan together. As revolutionary as Gus was early in his career, his offense has evolved little since. Lashlee brought few new ideas to the table because everything he knew came from the head man.
New blood and new ideas combined with the talent on this team can be a game changer.
You have to give Malzahn credit. When your professional life is predicated on being an expert on moving the football, it must be hard to give it up. Mark Richt went through it at Georgia. These coaches find out eventually that it’s hard to run an offense and a football program at the same time.
Let’s hope Gus focuses on winning games and not the press conference when making the hire. Will Muschamp was great and made a big splash at the announcement, but Kevin Steele has been far more effective.
Auburn needs a coordinator who doesn’t view this job as a stepping stone. Being able to keep someone on staff four or five years could move this program back to the top of the SEC.
Far more attention will be given to National Signing Day next month, but the hire Auburn makes in the coming days will be much more important. Malzahn has a chance to break out of the malaise his program has been engulfed in since 2014.
Few coaches get a chance at a do-over this late in their tenure. Malzahn has a chance to make it right. What will it be?