December 29, 2008

Malzahn: Auburn a dream job

It only took one trip for Gus Malzahn to know Auburn was a special place.

It was Oct. 7, 2006, and Malzahn was the offensive coordinator for visiting Arkansas as they came into Jordan-Hare Stadium as huge underdogs to No. 2 Auburn.

"There's certain places that you go away from and say, 'Man, that's an awesome place,'" Malzahn said. "We actually won that football game that day and the crowd was different. They were classy. The atmosphere was second to none. And I went away from this place, talked to my wife, and (she) said the same thing, you know, in the stands. And I just knew it was something special."

Malzahn was named Auburn's offensive coordinator Sunday after a successful year at Arkansas and two tremendous seasons at Tulsa where his offenses were consistently ranked among the nation's very best.

Malzahn has similar plans for an Auburn offense that has gotten progressively worse over the last four seasons, finishing 2008 ranked 103rd out of 119 teams in total offense. Tulsa is currently ranked No. 2 in the country, averaging 565.1 yards per game, heading into the GMAC Bowl Jan. 6.

"We're going to be a run, play-action team," Malzahn said. "I know a lot of people categorize me as a spread team, and if you really look back at my history, we're going to play smashmouth football. We're going to set up the pass with the run, and I really think the difference is with most run/play-action teams from what we're going to do is we're going to throw the ball vertically down the field and we're going to do that quite often.

"You won't see a whole lot of straight drop-back pass. It's just not who we're going to be. We're going to run downhill. We're going to have a physical, hard-nosed approach. I'm not talking about just the offensive line and just the backs. I'm talking about the receivers and quarterbacks, and I think that's very important to establish that early."

Malzahn said his Auburn offense will be built around the strengths and talent of AU's returning players.

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!