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Malzahn is Worth the Bet

By on June 9th, 2014 in Football 18 Comments »

MalzahnGus Malzahn may be the most popular coach in Auburn history – right now. The same could be said for Gene Chizik back in the summer of 2011. Like then, it’s hard to imagine anyone not wanting to lock Malzahn up for the long-term following the most exciting season in Auburn history.

What if he fails? It’s hard to fathom something like that happening after the greatest turnaround in college football history. But, what if?

Auburn officials have clearly decided not to let their minds go there after agreeing on a new contract for Malzahn that will put them on the hook for more than $11 million should things go south this season.

If he takes the Chizik path and crashes two seasons from now, Auburn is on the hook for nearly $7 million, about what they gave the former coach to disappear and pose for an occasional prom picture.

Many argued this week that Jay Jacobs and Company have yet to learn their lesson following expensive divorces with both Chizik and Tommy Tuberville.

This time things feel different.

Any school runs a risk when they pay a coach $4 million a year and promise him the moon if they fall out of love. They all do it. But Malzahn is different because the market says so. He’s widely regarded as the most innovative offensive mind in the college game today and that comes with a premium.

NFL clubs have already shown interest. A few more seasons like last and this contract will be chump change anyway. Besides, Malzahn and his personality along with his blue collar work ethic fit Auburn like a glove.

SEC defenses may figure out Malzahn in the near future, but I doubt it. Anybody that gets to the office before 4 a.m. will be hard to beat. Maybe I’m drinking the Kool-Aid, but this guy has the chance to define college football for a long time.

He may be that one in a million guy that’s worth every penny to keep in orange and blue. Let the naysayers live in the past. Auburn just doubled down and it’s right in every way.

Wait and see.


  1. KoolBell KoolBell says:

    The investment in a long future of Gus Malzahn at Auburn, is worth every penny.

  2. DBAU81 says:

    Agree 100 percent. This guy is different from our last two coaches – much different.

  3. AUJTJarhead AUJTJarhead says:

    It does indeed “feel right” with Gus. Hiring Ellis and letting him run his defense his way was the biggest difference in the beginning. Chizik meddled in offense and was way out of his league. The renewed emphasis on strength and conditioning has gone a long way too!

    War Eagle!

  4. Tigerstripe Tigerstripe says:

    All I’m willing to commit to at this point is that he is doing a great job now and he is the right man for the job, right now. The real test for him will be his willingness to change and evolve his offense as the defensive game changes. Eventually a defensive guru will figure out the code or Saban will get his way in slowing the game down. In fact, FSU did a pretty good job unraveling the mystery.

    His intelligence IMHO, will be dependent upon him staying at the college level. The NFL is run by players and their union and it will be a monumental waste if he tries to jump to the next level. As of right now, he deserves the accolades and new contracts but needs to be accountable. Not too long ago, we were drooling pretty heavily over Gene Chizik… Time will tell.

  5. War Eagle Girl War Eagle Girl says:

    Went to the AU Football Women’s Clinic yesterday and I am more impressed everyday with these coaches AND our staff! Gus is a BIG dude and seems so humble. I never felt this way about Chiz except for his OC.. 😉 I also am not worried about this nerd football coach who seems to change his direction every year according to what he has. Does that mean we’ll win every game? No, because the players are human but he is setting them up to succeed and do their best. Lashlee and Johnson are both impressive but we heard from supporting staff and these are top notch in their fields and have Gus’s complete support (and they talk as fast as him!) I hope they ALL stay (they all seem to really love AU, really) but of course that is a pipe dream. But we are compensating them in hopes they’ll stay longer.
    I don’t think FSU figured us out (I was there!) as much as we were not sharp at the end forgetting that we needed to finish the game. This staff has NOT forgotten and are definitely motivated to get there again.

    • Tigerstripe Tigerstripe says:

      FYI, I’m glad you were at the game but “being there” doesn’t give you a leg up on what’s going on in the game. I “wasn’t there” and had the benefit of replays and half time break downs of corner blitzes and forcing bad reads…They had a very solid defensive game plan.

      • War Eagle Girl War Eagle Girl says:

        Oh really…..FYI ~ it’s called an opinion and I am entitled to mine just as you are yours……guess I need to go back and break down the game so I can get my leg up on what happened…..

        • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

          …..What I saw was that the FSU defense was letting someone go wide open down the middle all game, and we didn’t hit ’em. They were using safety and nickleback blitzes, and couldn’t cover everyone. I figure folks will try to copy that scheme this year, and hopefully Nick will be able to make ’em pay. At least from what I saw on A-Day, I think he will.

        • Tigerstripe Tigerstripe says:

          Whoa, whoa, whoa…easy. I was just trying to qualify your statement of “being there” and what that has to do with “FSU not figuring us out”, that’s all. WDE

          • War Eagle Girl War Eagle Girl says:

            And my aside was just that ~ I was there. Didn’t mean anything except the happiness that comes from being there. It has nothing to do with my opinion. I saw us blow the same type play against bama , atm and other teams. So it’s not like they hadn’t been there before and should have learned from it. Maybe by the end FSU had figured out enough to win the game…..sure seems like it. But before the end, they were sucking wind. JMHO.

      • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

        The best thing that happened for FSU was the one month delay before the game was played. That, and for some inexplicable reason, our special teams failed to show up for the game.

  6. LeeBee says:

    Coach M has given this team something that Chizik did not: Discipline. Curfews are honored, Classes are attended.

  7. Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

    With Malzahn at the helm, Auburn’s offense will be the most prolific in college football. A prolific offense does not guarantee wins and championships. Gus will have to consistently field a defense that will give up less than 25 points a game to the FSUs, the UGAs, the LSUs, and the UATs of the college football world. The 2014 season should give us some idea of which way Ellis Johnson’s scheme will take us. We are not quite 2 deep at all positions on the defensive side of the ball but we are getting there. I think the first 11 should be able to go toe to toe with anyone. Gus has made all the right move so far. I’m sure that there will be some choppy water from time to time but men like Malzahn and his staffers are just the kind guys we need at Auburn. I think the risk is worth the potential reward.

  8. MyAuburn MyAuburn says:

    Sorry for my absence. I will spare you the details but it has been a harrowing year with elderly family.
    I think the investment in the Gus Bus is well warranted and Scarbinsky can kiss my bu** on this one if you read his article.
    Work ethic is a powerful thing…Gene, Tubby, Terry, take your pick did not have what Gus has. Money well spent.

  9. AUcideng42 AUcideng42 says:

    Look we all read the Scarb article on and were annoyed…

    Personally, I have been a Malzahn fanboy since the time he was hired. I love his series-based HUNH option/spread offense, I love that he isn’t afraid to be atypical and take risks for his philosophy, and more than anything I love his drive! I was fully supporttive of Gus’s hiring as HC and am fully suppportive of JJ’s deal as I am confident it will work out for Auburn! (Please don’t let him go anywhere else)

    If Ellis Johnson’s D improves even a little (and I think it will improve significantly) then Auburn will dominate !

  10. wde1988 wde1988 says:

    Failing? Its never been about that. Its always what you do once you have done it.

    Example #1: Chizik. Never changed. Felt compelled to do it “his way”. Never considered it might be wrong way. He wondered why folks were mad when 2012 rolled through. He had no idea how to coach that.

    Example #2: Tuberville: the retooler. He would simply fire and hire. His lack of enthusiasm was ultimate problem. Got a problem? Go duck hunting or plant a rumor someone else wants to hire you In arkansas.

    Gus is ok by me so far. Problem isn’t him anyway. Its Jay Jacobs.


    • wde1988 wde1988 says:

      I read the Scab article. It’s logic is way off… and makes me think that Scab was dropped on his head as a kid… or he is a bama fan.

      Facts are when you are the perpetual under dog, you gotta do what you gotta do. If AU had slimmed any of those coaches… who would want to come play against one of the premier programs in the country?

      But again… looking at it from a stand point of the coaches Scab mentions.. and continuing the thought I had earlier…

      Example 3: Doug Barefield. Great highschool coach… who could never turn the corner and win at the college level. And did I mention it sucks trying to replace a legend?

      Example 4: Pat Dye. A man that was ahead of his time. Built by Bear to be his replacement Pat tried to replace him and the NCAA wouldn’t have anything to do with it. He ended up bearing the brunt of his sins and his mentors.

      Example 5: Terry Bowden. Came from football blood. Knew the game. Could win with Pat’s team. But was warped from birth to build teams leaner and faster. The results was disastrous. Damn near put Auburn behind a full decade. Wouldn’t listen. His first inclination that there was problems was when the AD wouldn’t address his next years contract. What did he do? Quit.

      My things about coaches… is if they become entitled. When that happens it will translate to the team. At the college level most schools won’t or can’t make a coach swallow their giant sized egos. So when that happens the only thing that can be done is to boot them. Auburn simply boots with a cushion… why? bama and the SEC. Treat one bad… in this impossible environment and Jimmy Sexton won’t let you forget about it.