Malzhan to Vanderbilt
Former Arkansas assistant coach Gus Malzhan has left his job as Offensive Coordinator for Auburn to become head coach at Vanderbilt. #1 Auburn has had an overpowering offense this year, and Malzhan deserves much of the credit. Of course, so does Heisman trophy winner Cam Newton, the Tiger's QB.
*********UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE
Auburn has managed to hang on to Malzhan by giving him a huge raise.
Vanderbilt has consistently been a cellar-dweller in the hyper-powerful SEC. As a small private school in a league of big state schools it is at a massive financial and institutional disadvantage. Malzhan has never faced a challenge as big as turning Vandy into an SEC grid iron winner. Can he pull it off?
I wouldn't bet against him. The key is recruiting and Malzhan has a strong selling point for offensive recruits. He can tell the top QB prospects in the nation that he will put them in a system that will maximize their potential. Young wide receivers can be coaxed to a school where they throw forty times again and still win. Offensive linemen can be a part of a dominant high-scoring machine. Malzhan has a case he can make to talented recruits- on offense.
His best strategy will be to use his well-earned reputation as an offensive genius to land a batch of high-powered offensive players and then try to outscore people. Actually, Auburn has taken that strategy to the BCS title game. For Malzhan, going .500 in the SEC would be a laudable goal. What's the next step? A head coaching job at a school that gives him the base he needs to recruit good players on BOTH sides of the ball. Still, winning at Vandy in the SEC will be very satisfying, especially victories over a Houston Nut led Ole Miss.