Training in the SEC could be a throat track, and the deal worked on Sunday as Auburn announced he had fired head coach Gus Malzahn.
Malzahn, who has held office since 2013, was highly respected by Alabama head coach Nick Saban, who shared his thoughts on the coaching move during his Sunday teleconference.
“I have great respect for Gust,” Saban said. “It was hard to play against him when he was the attacking coordinator. As a head coach, it was always hard to play against him. Their teams have always played hard. Their team is always well trained with the ball and special teams on both sides. I have great respect for Gust.
“Sometimes you think about why people do what they do. But I don’t know what the reason is. I certainly think he was an excellent coach and a tough opponent for us to play against in the Iron Bowl every year. I have great respect for Gust and the work he does.
During his time at Auburn, Malzahn was able to defeat Saban and Alabama three times as a result of last season.
But during the rivalry, Malzahn had a huge impact on how Saban and the coaches approached cunning games and the overall style of play.
“I don’t think there’s a question about that,” Saban said when asked about Malzahn’s influence. – Gus’ style of play – he’s not the only one. The whole Baylor influence. Hugh Freeze. These guys have all sorts of roots, I think, come from the same roots in terms of some of the innovations they’ve made and the crimes, the RPOs, that are really changing the game. I think Gus is one – at the forefront of all this.
“I think playing against those guys will almost get you to say, ‘if you can’t beat them, you can even join them.’ I think that’s why we’ve changed some of the things we’re doing here.
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Patrick Dowd is a reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. Follow him on Twitter Pat_Dowd77