This New, Outspoken Gus Malzahn Is Great for College Football

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

This New, Outspoken Gus Malzahn Is Great for College Football

For the most part, coaches don't want to stir the pot. 

The days of Steve Spurrier saying "you can't spell 'citrus' without 'UT," are long gone, and save for a couple of subtle shots and stances on legislative issues, political correctness has taken hold during "talkin' season."

Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn is changing that—at least a little bit.

The third-year head coach of the Tigers and 2013 SEC champion has shown this offseason that he isn't afraid to stir the pot a little bit. 

Most recently, Malzahn told's Chris Low that the ghosts of last season's Iron Bowl versus Alabama still haunt him, and his Tigers should have lit up the scoreboard.

"We didn't score touchdowns in the red zone. We should have put 60 on them, and we didn't," Malzahn said. "That was the most disappointing thing, when you have a chance to do something special and don't, and then we gave up all those fourth-quarter points."

That's not playing the "what if" game. That's just honesty, plain and simple.

The Tigers settled for four field goals of 25 yards or less in the first half alone, the last of which came on a frantic, mismanaged drive to close out the first 30 minutes of the game, in which Malzahn let far too much time tick off the clock inside the 5-yard line.

Sure, credit is due to Alabama's defense for shutting down Auburn when it counts most. But Malzahn is an offensive coach who believes in his system. Of course, he's going to think about "what might have been" and what he could have done differently.

This comes on the heels of Malzahn's SEC media days appearance where he also took a not-so-subtle jab at the Crimson Tide's newfound emphasis on pace of play.

"Just about everybody in our league has some type of tempo, even the teams that used to gripe about it are actually doing it now," he said.

Again, that's honestly. Alabama averaged 72.7 players per game last year—nine more than it averaged in 2013. 

His honesty isn't exclusive to his intrastate rival. 

Satellite camps have become a hot-button offseason issue over the last two seasons, and new Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh made waves this offseason with several southern camp stops, including one in talent-rich Prattville, Alabama.

"The chances of a team up north coming into our state and a player that us or Alabama wants are slim to none," he said.

He's not wrong.

Neither fullback Kingston Davis nor linebacker Dytarious Johnson—the two class of 2016 prospects from the state who are committed to Michigan—have offers from Auburn or Alabama, according to their 247Sports bios. That's not to say that Malzahn—and all SEC coaches—aren't threatened by Harbaugh.

They are, but mostly because those high-profile coaches and programs are allowed to recruit when coaches in the SEC (and ACC) can't.

Malzahn 2.0 is great for college football.

He's not going to stir the pot like former Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin did with former Florida head coach Urban Meyer prior to the 2009 season, but he's going to be honest when it's time to be honest instead of living in a world of political correctness.

That's OK.

After all, this is football, and as much as it seems like it is life or death for fans, players and coaches, it's still only a game.

Have fun with it.


Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports. Statistics courtesy of cfbstats.comBarrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and national college football video analyst for Bleacher Report as well as a host on Bleacher Report Radio on Sirius 93 XM 208.

Follow Barrett on Twitter: @BarrettSallee.

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