Chizik key piece of AU’s puzzle, not the staff

The breathless panting after Auburn’s hiring of offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn is a repeat of the media’s orgasmic reporting over the hiring of Tony Franklin. In today’s Mobile Press-Register, Paul Finebaum called Malzhan a “highly respected offensive coordinator.” On his radio show Tuesday afternoon, Finebaum said the Auburn staff looked “formidable.”

I guess Finebaum didn’t ask Houston Nutt what he thought of Malzahn—Malzahn was a poison on the Arkansas staff. Doubt that? How has Nutt fared without Malzhan (pre-Malzahn and post-Malzahn)? Who could doubt that Ole Miss was the third best team in the SEC this season? Nutt’s team defeated Florida in the Swamp and demolished Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl. The lesson? A staff must be of one heart and one mind; a leader must provide that. Nutt’s staff is better without Malzahn. That says more about Malzahn than Nutt.

Malzahn will need to be controlled by a strong leader. Does that sound familiar? Tony Franklin’s personality wasn’t able to be controlled by Tommy Tuberville—Tuberville was the definitive example of hands-off. When you have strong personalities in subordinate positions, it necessitates strong leadership to subjugate individual desires to the corporate purpose.

Franklin couldn’t be subjugated to the greater Auburn good and it wrecked the chemistry of what had been a successful Auburn staff. Tuberville’s hand slipped off the wheel ever so slightly and we all know what happened. The ship heaved-to and lost all its momentum.

Firing Franklin didn’t restore the wind to Auburn’s sails. The ship luffed into the headwinds coming out of Tuscaloosa.

Keeping with the sailing terms, Gene Chizik’s hiring created a mutiny in the Auburn ranks that required seasoned veterans like Pat Dye to come forward and lend their authority to the embattled new skipper. Dye went so far as to throw red meat to Auburn supporters by blaming Auburn’s problems on the great Satan in Tuscaloosa.

There is no doubt Chizik’s title says he commands the Auburn ship. But does he? I’m not pointing to outsiders who meddle like Dye or athletic director Jay Jacobs or boosters. The real test of Chizik’s leadership will be his ability to handle strong personalities in his subordinates.

He failed his first test as a head coach. Odds are he’ll fail at Auburn too. And the coaches he hired only increased the odds of a meltdown. That is unless he rises to the challenge in a tremendous way, and nothing on his resume or in his personality shows that capability. Anyone who genuflects the way Chizik did to get the job is not a leader. He is not powerful; doing obeisance to meddling outsiders isn’t a way to build respect. And what coach can lead without power or respect?

46 Comments

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  1. 1
    Rich

    You are the biggest idiot on the face of the earth. Did you see Nutt’s record at Arkansas prior to Malzahn and Nutt’s records at Arkansas after Malzahn…His last year he had 3 backs that started in the NFL and he struggled to reach a bowl if it weren’t for patsies on the schedule.
    Nutt is a great used car salesman and he had the Ole Miss players buying everything he told them this year. That same crap gets old quick and they want continue shopping for cars on his lot or playing their hearts out for him!

  2. 3
    hogfan

    I suggest you speak to folks that know Malzahn, that are not affiliated with Houston Nutt. Your perceptions of Malzahn are completely wrong. He’s a good coach, and a good human being.

  3. 4
    Greg

    You got it all wrong, Malzahn is an excellent coach, one of the best. Now Houston Nutt that’s different because as soon as Orgeron’s players are gone you will see the real used car salesman Houston “Dork” Nutt.

  4. 6
    Cooper71

    Great column as usual.

    When you have to point to the staff over the head coach (see UT and Aubarn) for positive pub, you have problems.

    Finebaum was also having a big O about Trooper and “what a feared recruiter” he is. No doubt $Trooper$ can recruit, but thats about it. Other than chest bumping. I didn’t expect the slimes (Corch Drunk, Bankerman, Yeller boy etc) over in Lee Cty to lay down for very long with Saban’s big $%^# in them. They’ll fight back with whatever it takes, Aubarn style.

    Finebaum had to change course. Its Jan, aubarn has been beaten to a bloody pulp in recruiting and on the field (5-7, 36-0 etc), therefore fresh meat was needed. Unfortunantly an uninspired Tide tee’d it up for the bald one like so many times before. Its a long way to August for the Finebaum Circus.

    Enjoy our top 3 recruiting class, Barn

    Oh and did I mention 36-0?

  5. 7
    Arkansas Fan

    I’m sure if he never thought it would become public, Houston Nutt would call Malzahn a poison. He, according to at least one player, said the same thing to NFL scouts about Peyton Hillis.

    The fact is that Nutt seems to be one of those people that can’t handle being questioned or held accountable. He held the Arkansas media hostage for a decade.

    He used juvenile games to deminish Malzahn’s credibility from the moment he was urged to hire him, like mispronouncing his name. Then allowing other coaches on the staff to nickname him “High School.” He also had friends and family who ridiculed Malzahn and select players.

    Do just a little real research. You’ll find out who the real poison is.

  6. 8
    Auburnisajoke formerly the fan known as Ballplay Indian.

    Cap I see what what your saying. The problem is, you dont have ANY facts to back up some of your arguements. Why do you presume to believe that Malzahn is an egomaniacal A-hole ? Do you have the “scoop” on him ? No………… You dont. It all fabrication. Im not sold on Chizik. But , I do see him putting together a pretty good staff. In particular , on offense. Chizik has proven that he can coach a defense. You may have a point about Chizik not being a tyrant with his thumb on all his staff. Saban does that doesnt he? But where do you get the facts on that assumption ? They are baseless.

    Let me remind you Cap, that being a dictator has some drawbacks too. Have fun replacing Kevin Steele. he was a good coach. He just got tired of that tyrant of a boss.

    I would rather see him puttting together good coaches that may be driven than a bunch of mamby pambys. Also keep in mind that a lot of the problem that we had with Franklin was that he was coming into a staff that had been together for 12 plus YEARS !!!!! What was he gonna change ? Nothing. They were never gonna do it any other way but thiers. These guys are coming into a brand new administration. I think that will help more than hurt.

    I think that the new version of the spread will probably be more succesfull this year not because of the new coach, but because of the abscence of the old coaches.

  7. 9
    CollegeFootballFan

    It might help to do a little research. Arkansas (and Nutt) had back to back losing seasons before Malzahn arrived.

    In 2006 Arkansas won 10 straight games and earned it’s only outright SEC west title, all with Malzahn as OC.

    In 2007(after Nutt ran Malzahn off) Arkansas lost it’s first three SEC games.

  8. 10
    OpineOnSwine

    You couldn’t be more inaccurate. The “poison” is/was Nutt and his cronies and posse.

    While the hiring of Chizik was indeed curious, his hiring of Gus was brilliant. Malzahn is first of all an individual of impeccable character and secondly a brilliant offensive football coach. He is the only redeeming thing I see of the Chizik hire.

    Houston Nutt is a fake, a phony, a facade, a snake-oil salesman of the highest rank and Ole Miss and you will discover that in due time.

    You really should get your facts straight before you make a fool of yourself.

  9. 11
    Cooper71

    Ballplay Indian…

    Where are your facts to back up that Steele left because Saban is a “tyrant”?
    Hmmmmmmm?

    Thats what I thought.

    Don’t worry, Steele will be easily replaced. Assts come and go, unless you were an Ole Piss hack on Tubbys staff.

  10. 12
    Auburnisajoke formerly the fan known as Ballplay Indian.

    Thats exactly my point there Coop. I have no facts. Just an opinion. Thats all his article is form Cap. An opinion…………One with zero facts to back it up.

    And those Ole Piss Hacks owned bama for an awwwwefully long time.

  11. 13
    joseph johannson

    Auburnisajoke:

    That crony Ole Piss Mafia owned who again?! Oh, MIKE SHULA, NOT Alabama. You are arguing over AU owning TERRIBLE ALABAMA TEAMS!!! Same old Auburn argument, same old retorts. ALABAMA STUNK DURING THE AUBURN STREAK, NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU SHOVE THE FLUKE 10-win SEASONS OF FRAN AND SHULA WHO WILL BE IN THE BREADLINE AGAIN BEFORE LONG.

  12. 15
    SportsInsiderGuy.com

    Greetings Sports Fans!
    I hope everyone will had a Happy Christmas and a Great New Year’s Eve.

    Latest scoops? Well, button down your caps, becasue you are avout to be blown away!

    Arthur Gustav Malzahn the III, has been given the nod as the new offensive coordinator at Auburn after a very, very, brief stint as the offensive Co-Coordinator at Tulsa… Is he the real deal? Who knows, but the buzz around A-town is that Malzahn is the real deal if he has another coordinator helping him.

    Meanwhile, Trooper Taylor and his Do-rag have made it official, Afro-sheen and Geri Curls will be mnaking a comeback (after a brief 9 month hiatus) on the plains. Next up? “Member’s Only” Jackets and NWA “Straight outta compton.” Stay tuned to see if Jimmy Raines can get jiggy with it.

    Also in an off the field exclusive:
    Pat Dye Vs. Tommy Tuberville.
    Pat Dye is pushing the BOT to remove andy and every object that has the name Tummy Tuberville atached to it. When interviewed Tommy stuck up a finger and said “I’m rich beyatch!!”
    Sadly Quasi-journalist Phillip Marshall had to get a tatoo removed from his backside. All the people at InsideSportsGuy.com wish Phillip a speedy recovery after getting the skin ripped off of his gelatanous backside.

    Terry “Tator tot” Bowden took over the reigns at UNA this week. Both the UNA faithful and Bowden are very happy with the hire.
    At the Press conference Bowden said:
    “WoW! This is a huge step up from my last Coaching job!”

  13. 17
    julio

    That’s hilarious cappy. Translation of this article-

    “Oh, sh*%, Chizik is actually putting together a really good staff and it is increasingly evident that our hope that he was nothing more than a Dye/Lowder puppet who would hire nothing but former AU players was blatantaly misplaced. Auburn’s actually getting good press right now on the heels of us getting smoked and outcoached in the Sugar Bowl. Ford God sakes, man, say something quick to spin the tables and convince all those crazy objective observers that they were wrong in unanimously praising the Malzahn hire by stating that he was a “poison” to the Ark. staff, praying that everyone will forget that the single year Malzahn was at Ark. was the single most succesful offensive season of Nutt’s entire tenure!! Ignore the fact that he has led the nation in offense for 2 years running at Tulsa!! Look away people, there’s nothing to see in Auburn!! Continue to worship all things Saban and ignore these detractors!!”

  14. 18
    Bamaman

    Julio, the man doing the hiring, Pat Dye I mean Coach Cheesewhiz would be hiring former Auburn players if they weren’t to busy turning him down and btw it is not to hard to be successful with a backfield of McFadden and Jones just ask Borges who became jobless after Williams and Brown, but hey I am glad you have that warm and fuzzy feeling like you did when Franklin was hired. Have you checked lately where Aub’s recruiting is ranked versus Bama? You will see the effects of your former coach’s lack of effort for years to come in the form of repeated 36-0’s. Just like Brando said on Finebaum today, Aub is the national football punchline.

  15. 20
    Auburnisajoke formerly the fan known as Ballplay Indian.

    Sportsinsiderguy………That is pure gold my friend. You arent right.

    Joseph…..I know the streak is over there doosher. But your boy coop brought up the past , not me.

  16. 21
    julio

    Geez Bamaman, at least make it a little difficult to prove what an idiot you are. You say it’s hard not to be successful with McFadden and Jones, implying that was the reason for Malzahn’s success? Ark had them both in 05 (without Malzahn) and went 4-7. Malzahn comes onboard in 06 and Ark goes 10-4, (7-1 in the SEC), winning the West and losing to eventual NC Fla in the Champ. game. How’d they do in 07 after “the poison” Malzahn left?? With McFadden and Jones, who were then even more mature and developed, they fell to 8-5. Furthermore, you make an even greater point for Malzahn by bringing up Ronnie and Carnell. Without a good OC in 03, Auburn could only manage 8-5 even with those studs in the backfield. A good OC named Borges comes in in 04 and properly utilizes their talent and goes 13-0 the next year. Any other “points” you want to astound us with??

    BTW, Malzahn looked really pathetic last night. All he did was put up 632 yds of offense against the 22nd ranked team in the country in the pouring down rain in a 45-13 beatdown. Yeah, he was a real stupid hire.

  17. 22
    Bamaman

    Oh my god Julio, I think I have heard all this rhetoric before about this time last year when the creator of the spread was hired and Aub was going to be putting a 1000 yds of offense on the field every game. The man was playing BALL STATE last night idiot a team that Auburn could probably beat, but we will see about that also since they are on your schedule next year. So tell me Julio, with these genious hires like 5-19 Chizik and 6-45 Roof who btw had the number 79th rated defense last year, how many games do you think yall will win next year with these special recruiting classes you keep hauling in?

    36-0 RTR!

  18. 24
    Auburnisajoke formerly the fan known as Ballplay Indian.

    I know that this is going to sound real crazy boys, but listen. Julio is right in the fact that Malzahn is considered widely to be a great O.C. And that everyone (including bammer Finebaum) says that his staff is shaping up. So he is not a bad pick as some of you are saying.

    On the flip side,Bamaman is right. Chizik still has to justify himself and his lackluster Iowa performance. He hasnt proved anything to me yet. That goes for his coordinator picks as well.

    In short, the truth is in the middle. Lets let them play before we predict the future.

    I know that sounds crazy coming from me.

  19. 25
    Bamaman

    Julio, do you even realize what jibberish you write? You said “Borges comes in 04 utilizes their talent and goes 13-0, any other points you want to astound us with? My point was after Williams and Brown left Borges offensive production went down every year after causing Tubby to fire him and hire the genious Franklin, and McFadden was injured most of 07 leading to a drop-off with Ark, not because Malzahn was run off. . . dipshit.

  20. 26
    julio

    Bamaman, you really need to just hush up so you’ll quit embarrasing yourself. First of all, Auburn’s offensive production actually went up in 05, the year after Ronnie and Carnell left. In fact, Auburn led the SEC in scoring offense in 05. It was only in 06 and especially 07 when the production went down, largely due to a lack of receivers. As to McFadden, the only time he was injured in 2007 was a potential concussion near the very end of the Bama game (which saved Bama from losing, because he had about 200 yds rushing at that point). He had more yds rushing in 07 than he did in 06, despite your BS about a “dropoff”. 2006 was the year he was injured, because he broke his toe in a fight outside a nightclub right before the season. Now then, would you care to clarify yoru statement about the reasons for Ark.’s dropoff from 06 to 07?? No, I’m sure you’ll just post some unrelated blabber about Franklin or Chizik in a pathetic attempt to mask the fact that you just posted a novel of alleged “facts” that were complete BS.

  21. 27
    Bamaman

    Julio, you are a joke, period. This coming from someone Aubsessed with all things Bama that you are constantly on a BAMA website trying to spin your pathetic Auburn bs, so do us all a favor and go to your loser website, and I would love to give you an opportunity to hush me up.

  22. 28
    Auburnisajoke formerly the fan known as Ballplay Indian.

    Bamaman…………Facts are like kryptonite to a bammer.

    Julio just nuttkicked you my friend.

  23. 30
    julio

    So bamaman, I guess the answer is “No, I admit I blatantly misstated the facts regarding Auburn and Ark. so I have nothing to clarify.”

    P.S. Thanks for adding the cherry on top by telling me how much you’d love to give me the opportunity to hush you up. It’s always nice to know that I’ve pissed you off so much that you’ve resorted to veiled threats of violence.

  24. 31
    Bamaman

    Julio, thanks for admitting you constantly misstate info, the fact is you have no shame man, you speak of me embarrassing myself while you are on big brother’s website trying to spin anything you can about your loser program. I don’t get pissed for 365 days after a 36-0 ass whipping. I just love the fact you have to spend your time looking up stats to try and prove me wrong, and I am also sorry about talking about your two coaches with a combined head coaching record of 11-64, hell, yall will probably win a NC next year.

  25. 32
    Auburnisajoke formerly the fan known as Ballplay Indian.

    Bamaboy is awfully ill today isnt he ? You keep it up and your daddy julio is gonna make you go take a nap.

  26. 33
    julio

    ok bamaman, I’m officially bored with your temper tantrums now. Also, it takes too long to type out yor name so I think I will heretofore refer to you simply as BM. (Wait, I can’t do that because it sounds like an acronym for bowel movement…on second thought, that’s perfect. See ya later BM.)

  27. 34
    julio

    Why do all of you bammers accuse me of being a spinmeister? I am not gay, I just happen to like boys more than women and I will not root for a football team that can’t even make it to a bowl game, I just happen to like Auburn.

  28. 35
    Bamaman

    Julio, I am also tired of looking at your Aub bs on big brother’s site and typing your name so I will start referring to you by your real name. . .asswipe. Goodbye asswipe

    36-0 learn to love it!RTR!

  29. 36
    Bamaman

    Auburnisajoke, after getting stuck with a name like that for some reason, oh yeah now I remember why, it is obvious that I’m yo daddy.

  30. 38
    Auburnisajoke formerly the fan known as Ballplay Indian.

    Bama , I hope you know I was kidding.

    As far as the 36-0 deal goes, ride that horse hard brother. I wont pull excuses out of my tail like Ive heard for the SIX years before this one.

    But that being as it is , dont think that Bama will run 6 in a row. It wont happen. Yall are recruiting well no doubt. Yall will be strong soon , no doubt. BUT………We all saw what happened when yall lost ONE key player in the Bowl game. And you lose more valuable players this year as well. Caldwell will be sorely missed. And like I heard in the spring about Cox, yall will soon miss JPW. I know that sounds crazy, but he was a good quarterback.

    I cant overstate how bad the abscence of two all – American lineman will be for yall.

    On the flip side, Auburn is goona have Lots of experience on defense. And lets face it we cant do any worse on offense.

    I know its going to sound stupid, but I like our chances next year. Possibly 8 or 9 wins.

  31. 39
    OMNIPRESENT

    BI,
    Seriuosly bro ya think JPW was A Good QB?
    I think he SUCKED! I also think if they woulda had a better QB they may of had a better chance of winning that UTES game?
    JMO

    WPB!!!

  32. 40
    Bamaman

    Ballplay, I know you were kidding as was I, but I will have to agree with Omni on JPW, he ranked 96th in passing last year and if Aub can run 6 in a row what makes you think Bama can’t???? We are losing one starter on d and with a qb with passing skills like McElroy or Star Jackson and the backfield of rb’s we have it will improve, you got beat badly this year by the weakest team you will face for years, that is just a fact.

  33. 42
    Bamaman

    Ballplay btw, on second thought from post above if Aub can run 6 we can run at least 9, oh yeah we already did that.

  34. 43
    Auburnisajoke formerly the fan known as Ballplay Indian.

    Omni….Yes, he did do well for the Tide. He holds every record for the position. Yes he stunk it up against the Utes. But only because he was running for his life. JPW had a VERY good year for Alabama. While he didnt win the Johnny Unitas award, he pretty much played mistake free football. Thats just my Opinion………………..He was a very experienced QB. Yall will see next year just how bad he didnt suck.

    Bama, Its possible that yall could run up a 6 win streak. Ill never say never about that. I just seriously doubt it.And I dont think that you or your other bammer buddies realise just how great of an offensive line you had. They made Glenn Coffee look like Barry Freekin Sanders. You didnt read all of what I said appearantly. I said yall would be strong for years. For an offense to really thrive, you must have a great O-line. And experience at QB. Just my opinion.

  35. 44
    Rich

    DMAC was health in 07 even though he had a much better season in 06 when he broke his toe and Gus was at the helm.

    Gus will be a big help and make Chizik look like a good hire, because like every good leader you are much better off if you have smarter people working for you!

  36. 45
    Bamaman

    Ballplay, you know I respect your opinion because you are open minded but he still ranked 96th in passing because we utilized the run so much. I just don’t think he is a very accurate passer. Did you see the clip I sent Omni above? You being an outdoorsman will appreciate that

  37. 46
    OMNIPRESENT

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA

    yea i know shes BIG REAL BIG but she can su?? a go>> Ball ….. Well you know 🙂
    That was funny but i posted the wrong link
    and BI like BM said he was 96 in passing theres only 116 schools those records will be broken 10 times before you or I go Brother1

    Check this bammer out
    PERSONIFIED!!

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