Vanderbilt should hire the Navy coach if he is willing. Malzahn will not be able to recruit the athletes he needs to run his offense at Vanderbilt. The Navy coach has already proven he can recruit and get the athletes that can meet the academic standards at Vanderbilt. He has proven he can win with those athletes based on his system. Why grab a big name guy, Malzahn, who will be unable to get the guys he needs to make his system work. How successful was he before Cam Newton??
Holy smokes! (And if this weren’t a family website I wouldn’t have typed “smokes!”)
According to Jeff Lockridge of The Tennessean, the offer that Vanderbilt has on the table for Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn — I repeat: for Auburn’s offensive coordinator — is worth nearly $3 million per year.
As we noted earlier this evening, it appears that Malzahn is waiting for other jobs that might pop up should Florida hire Bobby Petrino or Dan Mullen to replace Urban Meyer.
Hey, Gus, let MrSEC.com give you some help here, buddy. You lose your offensive line and Cam Newton next year. Your stock’s as high as it’s going to get.
And $3 million in the hand is definitely worth two (MSU and Arkansas) in the bush.
Two sources have told us that the Vandy offer is also a seven-year deal. (We suggested as much early on Wednesday.)
According to Lockridge, “… if (Malzahn) continues to pass, look for Vanderbilt to move on to (James) Franklin or perhaps (Greg) Roman in the very, very near future (and save some money in the process).”
Franklin is the offensive coordinator and coach-in-waiting at Maryland. Roman is the offensive coordinator at Stanford. According to The Tennessean, both coaches “would quickly accept the Vanderbilt job” if offered.
The Washington Post reports that Vanderbilt vice chancellor David Williams — who is running VU’s search — met Franklin while he was an assistant at Kansas State.
“Even back then, he was putting into motion a plan of what it would take to be a head coach,” Williams said. “The other thing is, we were aware that he is the coach-in-waiting at Maryland. Obviously, somebody else recognized some of the same things that we recognized.”
It’s a bit surprising Williams would make such glowing comments just as a means of verifying someone’s candidacy for a job. Reading those words, it almost looks like Williams has already been tabbed as Vandy’s next coach.
A few quick observations:
1. First, let’s give a quick tip of the cap to Vandy officials if they are indeed willing to spend $3 million on a new head coach. Rumors had swirled that VU might go as high as $2 million — it had paid Bobby Johnson about $1.2 million — but $3 million? That’s jawdropping. Expect the number for Franklin or Roman to be closer to $2 million.
2. When you think of previous Vanderbilt coaches a line from an old Doors song comes to mind: No one here gets out alive. But if the $3 million figure is correct, it would be very hard for a coach to say no. Malzahn — who was coaching a high school six years ago! — would be the leagues’ fourth-highest paid coach nestled cushily between Les Miles and Mark Richt. He would be making about $1 million per season more than seven-time SEC Coach of the Year Steve Spurrier, who also has a national championship ring in his possession.
3. Despite so many outlets running with the $3 million claim, the fact that Malzahn isn’t crawling to Nashville on his hands and knees makes me wonder if that figure is legit. Ah, ever the skeptic.
4. While I salute VU for breaking the bank and trying to kick start a new “We’ve now got big TV money” age, I have to stand by my point from a couple of weeks ago: Malzahn is a risk for anyone. It can’t be stated enough that he was coaching high school ball just a few short seasons ago. From Springdale High in Arkansas to a $3 million-a-year salary in the SEC in just five calendar years? That’s a helluva jump.
5. Malzahn’s offense looks awfully good now, but if you take a closer look, questions arise. In his first year in the college ranks, Houston Nutt shackled him as Arkansas’ offensive coordinator. The next two years his offense set records at Tulsa, but Tulsa doesn’t play in the SEC. Last year his offense started fast at Auburn, but the Tigers dropped five of their last six SEC games. This year, Malzahn’s offense rings up points like a pinball machine, but the presence of Newton has a lot to do with that. Would AU’s offense be nearly as prolific with Neil Caudle or Barrett Trotter behind center? And at Vandy, Malzahn would have a lot more Caudles and Trotters than he would Newtons.
6. If Vandy is really offering that kind of cash to Malzahn, it goes to show that the point we’ve made all week — the one that got so many Commodore fans to say naughty things about us — was right. Even with a great deal of cash and a good sales job it’s just not easy to lure a coach to Vanderbilt. The track record is a killer. Eventually, someone will have to change that track record to make Vandy an easier sell down the road. I salute Williams and the Vanderbilt administration for apparently being willing to spend some dough to grab a man who they believe can turn things around. But it was likely from Day One on that VU was going to have to settle for a coordinator or assistant rather than a proven head coach. Not even Ricky Roma could convince a winning head coach to come to a school that’s gone 13-54 in the toughest conference in the nation in the last 10 years.
7. While there’s a big on-field risk in Vandy grabbing Malzahn (especially for that much coin), his hire would be a great thing for Vanderbilt’s reputation and for the SEC’s. You think Vandy hiring the nation’s hottest coordinator — and outspending every school in the league not named Alabama, Florida or LSU — wouldn’t create shock waves in the national media?