There were several reasons why Gus Malzan was set on fire from Auburn on Sunday after eight seasons, but none is as ironic or disappointing as the drop in crime. The battle there resulted in the destruction of the core of the program and much of what Malzan was as a trainer.
Remember, it was Malzan who wrote the rush book without burying it. It was a philosophy, he wrote, that enabled the attacker to be an aggressor and put constant pressure on the defense. And that combination of aggression and pressure worked brilliantly at first, first as Auburn’s attack coordinator for the 2010 championship season and three years later as head coach. It was exciting and new and it helped change the way people play football in college.
At breakneck speed, Malzan made Nick Marshall a star and gave the defense buses the place of Alabama native Nick Saban. Auburn made it all the way to the BCS national championship, in which Malzan led the first season in 2013, and the head coach of the new SEC was described as a genius.
Fault! The file name is not specified. Gus Maljean closes Auburn quarry with a record 68-35, 39-27 on SEC AP Photo/Mark Humphrey.
After Auburn narrowly lost that night in Pasadena to the state of Florida, the proud Malzan told the reporters that we were going upstairs. … Our goal is to get back here. I really think we’re gonna make it.
But they never did. Malzana’s genius is over, and his book on misconduct was never published with a second volume. He tried to combine his roots as an actor with the need to keep the whole program under control. And as he changed positions and provoked games, his rival coaches studied what he did and developed, while Malzan stubbornly remained the same.
Offensive blue rookies like Duke Williams, Kyle Davis and Nate Craig-Meyers have flashed. Meanwhile, the star quarterback never showed up, which was probably the strongest accusation against the coach, who in the QB whisper was blamed for helping Cam Newton become the owner of the Heisman Trophy as the offensive coordinator.
Jeremy Johnson would become the heir to Marshall and Newton and went bankrupt instead. Sean White was arrested and removed from the team. John Franklin III. And Jarrett Stidham has never lived up to the hype, it seems that he is more or less a game manager than the differentiator he was promised.
The pace has slowed down. The excitement has subsided. The only hurry was the one some of Auburn’s disciples wanted to show the door to Maljean.
It was the summer of 2014, and after training Malzan took his place in an empty locker room. He only had a few minutes, but he liked to spend them discussing the development of haste and laziness. At the end of the magical 2013 season, when Marshall returned to his final year, Auburn finished fifth and everything seemed possible.
Malzan wiped out the sweat ball, adjusted the visor and survived the birth of his grudge in northwest Arkansas two decades earlier. Once he took the real road, he said he never doubted. The first year, Malzan explains, was a success. That was easy. He had to overcome a few hurdles to get into the SEC – a forced flight to university as coordinator of a Houston Nutt attack in Arkansas went unnoticed, but his attack eventually led him to find a home at Auburn, first as goalkeeper and then as head coach.
Fault! The file name is not specified. For Gus Malzan it all started well, but a program that Alabama could never catch up with in the state eventually stopped. AP Photo/Todd J. Van Emst
That’s what we are, Malzan. We’ll do everything quickly.
He said he quickly assimilated with his personality and was rather impatient. Even for the skeptics, he had no patience. He heard the coaches trying to keep him from his offensive philosophy again: You’ll tire your people, you can’t keep up with the fast pace. If it’s cold in December, you won’t make it. Instead of giving up, he relied on the best advice he’d ever gotten, he said: Do what you know and stick to what you do.
He felt the earth moving beneath him and was illiterate. Haste became ubiquitous in high school and was soon filtered through the ranks of the universities. Traditional heavyweight programs such as Ole Miss, Texas A&M and Tennessee have adopted similar playing styles. Even Alabama recently hired Lane Kiffin to change it over time. Did Malzan still want his attack to be rare? Maybe a little, he said, but we’re still quite unique.
Malzan was pleasant and open, but the last question was closed to him: Who are you studying crime? Do you study other teams in low season?
No, he said stupid. We try to do what we do best.
Even school teams aren’t just there for ideas?
Fault! The file name is not specified. Nick Marshall helped Obern in his magical run to the 2013 BCS Championship, but the Tigers never found another quarterback distributor. Thomas B. Shea/Getty pictures
No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.
It was unusual to hear from the coach that he didn’t come with colleagues and didn’t change his mind. Last but not least, football coaches are a brotherhood.
However, Malzan kept his circle unusually small, including his enthusiastic students Art Briles and Hugh Freeze. One of the trainers who worked with Malzan said he was running a scattering program. Another pointed out that his staff deliberately brought parishioners, former players or assistants together at a lower level.
The word paranoid has often been used by colleagues and former colleagues to describe Maljan, who reportedly retired once because he had graduated from the school where Auburn played that week. According to a coach, Malzan even trained the players of the scout team to keep the game plans secret from his family and friends. He gained a reputation as a difficult man among the NFL Scouts by restricting their access for fear of information leaks.
He’s the man who… very careful with people, very secretive, said a former SEC assistant coach. He doesn’t want people stealing their coins. He’s very lonely. His attack is very exclusive.
Fault! The file name is not specified. Malzan’s reputation for having his own lawyer may have contributed to his death on the plains. John Reed – USA TODAY Sports
But exclusivity – an ephemeral thing in university football, where every match is dissected and every trend revealed at the end. Over the years, the same blow Malzhan had suffered to join the SEC – that he had committed an overly simplistic guilt crime – has come true again. It’s the same small number of tracks rehearsed over and over again, according to sources, and adds that it doesn’t work if he doesn’t have elite talent, especially if he’s a running quarterback.
It needs to evolve, said a former SEC head coach. He thinks his crime, he can use it against anyone. You’ll beat some of these Alsatians, Vanderbilts, Kentucky and all the others, but the SEC has good coaches and they’ll get you out in no time.
As the defense grew, Malzan did what the young version of himself could not have imagined. Instead of going faster and applying even more pressure, he slowed down. The proud attacker is no longer so aggressive.
From 2013 to 2016, Auburn’s attack will be in 25th place of the FBS in terms of points per match. But since 2018 the Tigers are in 50th place in terms of points scored.
The big game – which was the sign of Malzan’s initial resentment – has also been put aside, with Auburn in 62nd place in the last three seasons for games over 30 yards.
Malzan was always looking for the second act. After an incredible jump from high school to the SEC as head coach of Auburn, who proved his concept, his story had to change direction.
There’s a problem: He couldn’t decide where he wanted to go.
Fault! The file name is not specified. The reluctance to relinquish control of the attack to coordinators such as Rett Lashley (right) was a problem during Maljean’s term of office. AP photo/amond mark
Maljean played table tennis when he said he was the CEO and coach, he said it was true. He only put the attacking coordinator, Rhett Lashley, in charge of bringing them back later. Then Lashley went to UConn, and Malzan hired Chip Lindsay and gave him the keys to the crime. And with the right form, Mulzan would have said it was a mistake and taken control when he used Kenny Dillingham to replace Lindsay.
Even in the last off-season, Malzan had no choice but to change his mind when he hired his friend and former Arkansas coach Chad Morris to lead the offense and asked Morris to play on call, which he seemed to do throughout the season.
It is unclear to what extent Morris’ injury has changed or to what extent the learning curve has been shortened by COWID-19, as a result of which Auburn was unable to hold spring training or face-to-face meetings during most of the low season.
In any case, there has been no noticeable improvement. Quarterback Bo Knicks, who seemed to have the potential to become a star and was named SEC Rookie of the Year last season, has dropped to a tenth year. Although his success rate improved slightly from 57.6 percent to 60 percent – still far below the SEC average of 64.7 percent – his performance on one attempt was the same as last season, with ten more games in which he scored and five fewer touchdowns.
And this despite the fact that he has one of the top SEC receivers at Seth Williams and one of the most talented young drivers in the country at Tank Bigsby.
Wern had to scratch and claw to beat the double winner in Mississippi and finish the regular season with a score of over 500 points. Then Malzan took off his visor and danced in the dressing room in a festive atmosphere.
Fault! The file name is not specified. Malzan has never lost to Auburn, but he has lost at least four games in each of the last seven seasons. Photo AP/Registration of the Orange County/County Alcopher book
But in less than 24 hours the music stopped and a decision was made. As the Sports Director Allen Green said in a statement announcing Malzan’s resignation, we will immediately start looking for a coach who can help the Auburn program compete at the highest level.
Despite the sixth shot and prayer to Jordan Hare and many other magical moments, the order that Malyan missed, playing Alabama, Georgia and the USL combined on 8-17. Since the first season in 2013, the Tigers have been insignificant at 20:24 against teams with record wins.
From year to year there has been no progress or positive change. Malzan remained what he was, and the attack remained what he was, for better or worse.
Closest to repeating the success of the 2013 season was Auburn’s retirement in 2017, where he defeated two number one teams in Georgia and Alabama to qualify for the SEC championship. A place in the play-offs was possible, and salvation.
But Georgia wasn’t fooled a second time. No speed or movement would surprise them, and after the first touchdown of the first series Auburn didn’t score and lost 28-7.
While Malzan, in his haste, discovered something truly magical, a trick he never really mastered made him discover a new one.
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