Remember when Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn was thought to be a shoe-in for virtually any head coach opening in the land?
The “guru” was all the talk, with his unconventional offense that put up big numbers. It’s why Vanderbilt reportedly wanted him to fill the spot James Franklin eventually took.
Well, the only stock that has dropped faster and harder is the variety with Bernie Madoff’s signature on it.
All season, wherever a coach was on the way out, it was rumored that Gus was on the way in.
Ole Miss? As Houston Nutt’s tenure expired, Gus was going to Oxford. Reality? Helloooo former Arkansas offensive coordinator Hugh Freeze.
North Carolina? As Butch Davis made his way toward the exit, the thought was that Chapel Hill would be a perfect spot in the ACC for ole Gus. Reality? Helloooo former Southern Miss head coach, Larry Fedora.
Kansas? Well, at least there’s the Jayhawks, right? Helloooo former Florida offensive coordinator, and failure in the college ranks, Charlie Weis.
At one time late this football season, there were seventeen (17) openings for head coaches around the country.
How many of these has the Guru Malzahn snagged, or even sniffed?
Zero (0). One has to wonder why.
One possibility is what I have preached all along. That Gus Malzahn’s offense, what I’ve termed for three years as the “Dipsy-doo, Trickeroo Offense ©,” is nothing more than a bag of tricks–a shipment of smoke and mirrors that he opens every Saturday, built on hurrying to the line of scrimmage to see which finesse flag-football gimmick might work when the defense isn’t yet ready.
Is it possible that the Dipsy-Doo, Trickeroo © has run its course in a league that plays “man football?” Or is it possible that Cam Newton, from all appearances, single-handedly validated this embarrassing style of football with his freakish, once-in-a-lifetime dominating ability?
Facts don’t lie. With Cam Newton in 2010 Auburn was 14-0. Without him, in 2009 and 2011, Auburn was 7-5.
Somebody get Urban Meyer on the phone and ask him what it’s like once Nick Saban puts a bow on your unconventional offense. It ain’t pretty, and heart trouble may follow.
But maybe there’s another reason schools with openings are avoiding Gus Malzahn like dog droppings on the sidewalk.
Maybe her name is Kristi. Kristi Malzahn to be exact.
By now if you haven’t seen the video of Kristi being interviewed at Cross Church back home in Arkansas, it’s too late. No matter where you go to find it, this is what you see:
Or on YouTube, this:
The video surfaced just before the Alabama game, and was inflamatory to say the least. In it Kristi talks about Michael Dyer’s attitude issues and how hot she thinks Cam Newton is (again in a church setting).
She openly mocks the speech of coaching great Lou Holtz, talks about how much she hates Alabama (does the Bible condone hatred?), and belittles her husband for only being able to manage 22 points against Oregon. Heaven help the man if he doesn’t measure up elsewhere.
And folks, this is only the beginning.
In stark contrast, perhaps there is no better diplomat for University Alabama football and even athletics in general than Alabama head coach Nick Saban’s wife, Terry.
You might even call Terry Saban the anti-Kristi. Classy. Well-spoken. Reserved, yet ready to speak with respect about her husband, though able to cast a light on him to bring out his “human side.”
It’s been said that behind every good man is a great woman, and that certainly appears to be the case with Alabama head coach Nick Saban.
As for Gus, from sheer appearances alone, behind him appears to be a loose-knit kook who loves the limelight and the chance to run her mouth.
And, maybe, because of her, and the radioactivity she might bring with her to any football program, Gus might just be stuck in Auburn for another year or two…until he is fired for being what I have believed him to be all along:
A 7-5 coordinator in a league that, over time, chews up and spits out gimmick offenses.
There is still hope, however. Kheil Frazier may just turn out to be the Cam Newton reincarnate that our little Aubies hyped him to be. Of course, Gus will have to incorporate the forward pass into his repertoire to make this a reality.
And there are still schools looking for head coaches. Though I wouldn’t expect him to turn up at places like Hawaii, Arizona State, Southern Miss or Texas A&M.
You might be more likely to see him at Arkansas State. Or Colby College. Or Ferris State. Places with current openings that will hire a coach as long as his wife agrees to wear one of these:
In closing, I believe I speak for all Alabama fans when I say I hope Gus and Kristi are at Auburn for a long, long time. The impressive display he mustered on November 26 was one for the ages…and the DVR.
But for a woman who apparently loves words, you do have to wonder what words have been shared with Kristi in private since her fateful interview in Arkansas…an interview that may have cost her family millions.
That Vandy job looks pretty good now, doesn’t it Gus? Did Kristi cost him a head coaching job? It’s hard to say. But whether she cost him that shot, or simply fueled public perception that she isn’t ready to be a head coach’s first-lady…or simply caused embarassment…her act behind that microphone appears to have come at a higher price than expected.
[UPDATE: Since the original publishing of this article on December 9, ole Gus has accepted what most agree is one of the top jobs in college football: Arkansas State, for a reportedly $550,000 pay cut. Read more on this amazing opportunity here.]