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Auburn Coach Gus Malzahn Gets Raise And Contract Extension

gus malzahnOn the eve of the SEC Championship Game, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn is getting a raise and an extension.

Auburn has given Malzahn a six-year contract extension that will see his salary jump from $2.3 million to $3.85 million.  In addition, he’ll get a quarter-million dollar raise each subsequent year.  By 2019, the final year of the contract, Malzahn will make $5.1 million.

The new deal jumps Malzahn from 11th place in SEC coaches pay to sixth place – ahead of South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier. The announcement comes on the heels of an article this week that linked Malzahn to the University of Texas. Sports Illustrated’s Peter Thamel wrote that “Malzahn has told friends privately that coaching the Longhorns is his dream job.”

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Gus Malzahn On Mizzou’s Defense: “They’re Very Active”

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn meets the media following Wednesday’s practice, talks Missouri Tigers, the upcoming SEC championship game and a rumor linking him to the head coaching job at Texas (read MrSEC’s take on Malzahn and Texas).


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A Letdown In The SEC Championship Game? It’s Possible, Auburn

SZ200_man-falling-off-ladderThis Saturday, third-ranked Auburn will battle Missouri for the Southeastern Conference championship.  A potential slot in the BCS Championship Game will also be at stake.  One prize and the path to another are on the line.

And Auburn had better work to avoid a letdown.

As silly as it sounds, Gus Malzahn will have his work cut out for him this week.  He can’t allow his Tigers to look past the other Tigers on the Georgia Dome field… and he can’t let them bask for too long in the glory of Saturday’s amazing Iron Bowl victory.  After “the Prayer at Jordan-Hare” won AU the Georgia game, the Tigers had a week off to get their heads on straight.  They also had the game of the year in the state of Alabama to focus upon.

Auburn’s players will hear a lot of talk about the BCS standings and the national title game this week.  They’ll likely say all the right things about Missouri, but for a teenager or a 21-year-old, it’ll be hard to ignore the bigger stage that sits just on the other side of the Mizzou and the SEC title game.

Hey, it’s happened before.

In 2001, Tennessee entered its annual grudge match with Florida as a 17-point underdog.  The game had been pushed to the end of the regular season after the 9/11 attacks.  When gametime rolled ’round, the Vols were looking for their first win in Gainesville in three decades.  And that’s exactly what they got.  UT knocked off the Gators 34-32 to position itself for a showdown with Miami in that year’s Rose Bowl, which served as the ’01 BCS title site.

One problem.  The Volunteers had to get over their Florida victory and then focus on LSU.  First things first, as they say.  But Nick Saban’s LSU squad — behind a backup quarterback — upset the flat-footed Vols 31-20 to capture Saban’s first SEC crown and knock Tennessee (and the SEC) right out of the national championship game.

If Malzahn’s smart, he’ll make sure his players know all about that game as Saturday approaches.


(SIDENOTE — Please, Missouri fans, stop looking for reasons to have your feelings hurt.  Auburn came off a miracle win in their most sacred game.  If Mizzou had won on such a miracle against the Tigers’ oldest rival — Kansas — we’d have written beware of a letdown for them, too.  Seeing as how MU fans are always looking for slights — even on sites that have championed their inclusion in the league — it’s doubtful their players will have any problems setting out to “prove” something on Saturday.  Please, enough with the emails.)

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Gus Malzahn: “There’s A Lot Of Firsts This Year”

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn meets the media following the victory of Alabama Saturday night.

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Is Arkansas’ Bielema A Fish Out Of Water?

fish-out-of-waterWhen the out-of-nowhere news of Bret Bielema’s move from Wisconsin to Arkansas first leaked out a year ago, there were gasps from the Dells to the Ozarks.  How in the world did Razorback AD Jeff Long pull off such a coup?

Of the four SEC jobs open, Arkansas scored the man with the best track record as a head coach.  Easily.

Bielema was no up-and-comer.  He was a seven-year vet.  He hadn’t won at a small school, he’d won at one of the top programs in the country.  The 43-year-old had earned three Rose Bowl berths in a row at Wisconsin.  he’d put together a 12-win season, two 11-win seasons, and one 10-win campaign.

Put simply, Bielema was a home run hire.

But to date, he’s looked like a home run hitter in Triple A ball, not the majors.  And that’s not just a knock on his record to date.

You know the situation in Fayetteville this year.  The Hogs entered the season with a roster built to play Bobby Petrino’s spread passing game.  Their defense had never been a strong point under their ex-coach (or under interim coach John L. Smith last season).  A new quarterback would have to be broken in to boot.

So it’s way too early to doubt Bielema’s ability to coach.  Even if his first Arkansas team is 3-7 on the year, 0-6 in the SEC (for the first time ever), and riding a seven-game losing streak.  Such a skid matches the worst runs in school history.

In its last seven games UA has lost by four to Rutgers, by 12 to Texas A&M, by 20 to Florida, by 45 to South Carolina, by 52 to Alabama, by 18 to Auburn, and by 10 to Ole Miss over the weekend.  The Razorbacks are last in the SEC in scoring offense and 13th in scoring defense.

Yes, they’re bad.  Injuries haven’t helped.  But Bielema knows how to coach.  We just wonder if he’s ready to coach in the SEC.

Dragging behind Bielema like a Dickensian chain is his famous February of 2012 comment:


“I can tell you this, we at the Big Ten don’t want to be like the SEC — in any way, shape or form.”


Bielema was hot and bothered by newly-arrived Ohio State coach Urban Meyer daring to break a gentleman’s agreement that Big Ten coaches would not recruit kids already committed to other Big Ten teams.  But the “in any way, shape or form” part of the quote suggests Bielema wasn’t a fan of Mike Slive’s conference in many, many areas… not just its recruiting tactics.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Gus Malzahn On Anthony Swain Injury: “I Can See Why People Question It”

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn addresses a suspicious injury during the Arkansas game and talks Tennessee in his Tuesday session with reporters.

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Auburn Handles Arkansas; Missouri Shuts Down Tennessee

postgame-links-150x1501Auburn 35 – Arkansas 17. Video Highlights

1. Auburn running back Tre Mason racked up 168 rushing yards for the Tigers. The team ran for 233 yards.

2. Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall played despite a shoulder injury. “Nick is one tough customer,” coach Gus Malzahn said.

3. Arkansas dominated time of possession in the first half but failed to take advantage.

4. Arkansas has lost six straight games. That’s the school’s worst losing streak since 1990.

5. Auburn coach Gus Malzahn denied that one of his players faked an injury. “He got hurt. We went and got him. … We don’t tell our kids to fake.”

Missouri 31 – Tennessee 3. Video Highlights

6. Missouri QB Maty Mauk’s “craziness” helped him as he put up 277 yards of total offense against Tennessee.

7. Another thing that helped Mauk: Missouri’s defense shutdown the Vols’ offense.

8. Missouri kicker Andrew Baggett hit the left upright again. “Not again,” Baggett said after the game.

9. Tennessee coach Butch Jones was disappointed in his line play. “They dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.”

10. Vols freshman QB Josh Dobbs “came back with a positive attitude” despite the offense’s struggles.

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SEC Gameday Links: Saturday Night Lights 11/2/2013

gameday-links-150x150Auburn at Arkansas

1. Whether it’s Nick Marshall or Jeremy Johnson at quarterback for Auburn, the Tigers have the same goals: ”I think we’ve still got some people to prove wrong.”

2. Gus Malzahn, Bret Bielema and tonight’s philosophical war.

“3. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Auburn doesn’t try to score 100 points on Arkansas. Not one bit.”

4. It’s not just Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn returning to Arkansas today. It’s also a homecoming of sorts (among others) for Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee.

Tennessee at Missouri

5. If Tennessee is to get its first road victory over a ranked opponent since 2006, they’ll have to do it with true freshman quarterback Joshua Dobbs leading the way.

6. South Carolina and Georgia are Tennessee fans today.

7. Missouri coach Gary Pinkel is 15-4 against FBS head coaches in their first season at their schools.

8. Mizzou kicker Andrew Baggett made the game-winning field goal against Tennessee last year.

Alabama State at Kentucky

9. Kentucky expects Alabama State to have an effective pass rush.

10. But Kentucky’s advantages in this game are abundant and obvious.

UTEP at Texas A&M

11. Texas A&M has a 6-2 record - identical to what it was last year at this time.  The difference?  The buzz is not nearly as great.

12. Texas A&M’s Mike Evans is a wide receiver, a potential Heisman candidate, and a father.  ”I’m more mature now, and I have something to play for now.”

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SEC Headlines 11/1/2013

headlines-friSEC Football

1. Weather could play a role in the Florida-Georgia game.  Who benefits from rainy,wet conditions?

2. What about Florida running back Kelvin Taylor? Georgia allows the most yards per carry outside the tackles in the SEC

3. Only six people have both played and coached in the Florida-Georgia game.

4. Georgia receiver Justin Scott-Wesley – out for the year with a knee injury - arrested on a marijuana charge.

5. Auburn-Arkansas and Gus Malzahn’s return to his home state.  ”He’s coming into town to do a job. It’s not a welcome home party, it’s not a social event.”

6. Arkansas coach Bret Bielema on what he and Malzahn will talk about before the game.  ”I have no idea.”

7. Will the Razorbacks defense be up to the challenge?  Defensive coordinator Chris Ash: “I like our plan.”

8. An appreciation for South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw: “All he does is grit his teeth and play understated, yet almost perfect, football…”

9. South Carolina kicker Elliott Fry checks his blood sugar about eight times a day - has Type 1 diabetes.

10. Mississippi State’s offense has scored 10 second-half points in the last three games.

11. One view of Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk: “Mauk is a kind of high-risk, high-reward proposition at quarterback.”

12. Tennessee tackle Ja’Wuan James on freshman quarterback Joshua Dobbs:  ”I don’t want to say perfect, but there’s nothing really bad about the kid.”

12A. Update: NCAA declares Maurice Coach permanently ineligible.  UT will appeal.

13. Kentucky running back Raymond Sanders keeps thinking about the potential game-winning touchdown he almost broke against Mississippi State.  ”It’s been a chip on my shoulder.”

14. Vanderbilt safety Kenny Ladlar leads the SEC in solo tackles and forced fumbles.

15. Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin on scheduling in the SEC: “I think the thing that’s different about the SEC that people aren’t used to is nonconference opponents late in the year.”

16. Criticized earlier in the year, the Alabama offensive line is starting to click.  Nick Saban: ”We have improved. ”

17. Recalling the 2011 Alabama-LSU regular season game. “It was a festival all week.”

Practice/Injury Reports

18. Don’t expect a decision on Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall until right before kickoff.

19. Good news for Missouri.  Cornerback E.J. Gaines expected to return to the lineup Saturday against Tennessee.

SEC Basketball

20. Ole Miss gets a chance to see its lineup without suspended guard Marshall Henderson - Rebels play an exhibition game against USC-Aiken.

21. Ole Miss AD Ross Bjork: “There are a lot of things in place to monitor him, and as he goes through this he’s getting better every single day.”

22. Arkansas coach Mike Anderson: “The biggest question mark as we move past the Red-White game is will we be able to stop somebody?”

23. Kentucky coach John Calipari on a less-physical approach this year: “It’s not football. And I’m glad it’s not football with us having to be in the SEC playing football.”

24. Missouri needs production from its newcomers in the front court this year.


25. Are Florida State Jameis Winston and Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel polar opposites?

26. Storm clouds for Major League Baseball?  Average viewer of the World Series this year is 54.4 years old.

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Family Emergency For Auburn’s Johnathan Ford

Johnathan FordAuburn coach Gus Malzahn says cornerback Johnathan Ford has missed practice this week due to a family emergency.  He might not be available for this weeks’ game against Arkansas.

“We don’t know yet,” Malzahn said. “He had a family emergency he’s having to deal with. That’s all I’d rather say.”

The freshman Ford not only plays cornerback but also special teams and running back.  He has 73 yards on six carries for the offense and five tackles and a pass breakup on defense.

The 7-1 Tigers travel to Arkansas to play the 3-5 Razorbacks Saturday.

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