VegasInsider.com
VI Mobile Scores and Betting OddsVI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds Be Social
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Horses
Soccer
Boxing/MMA
More
Betting Tools

 
Malzahn taking aim at Auburn's talent, attitude

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) - Bo Jackson says new Auburn coach Gus Malzahn must build the program from the ground up and start by putting down a solid foundation.

Advertisement
Malzahn inherits a Tigers team with virtually every starter returning next season but plenty of uncertainty at quarterback and many other positions from a team that had a number of issues on both sides of the ball - and away from the field. So Jackson is preaching patience.

``I think what Gus Malzahn is facing right now, he's facing an empty lot,'' said Jackson, the 1985 Heisman Trophy winner and part of the four-man search committee. ``He's got to go move dirt. Lay a foundation and start to build a house. He's got to rebuild that house. That's what he plans on doing.''

Auburn gave Malzahn a five-year, $11.5 million deal Tuesday with focus on restoring the team to championship caliber and bringing more discipline to a program that endured a number of off-the-field issues under Gene Chizik.

He has signed a letter of agreement that pays up to $1.5 million a year in performance bonuses. The letter, released by Auburn on Wednesday, says he will be owed his $500,000 base salary for the rest of his contract if fired without cause. He won't be owed anything if fired with cause, including rules violations or ``serious personal misconduct.''

Auburn will pay his $700,000 buyoout to Arkansas State as a loan, forgiving 20 percent each year Malzahn remains. Jackson is optimistic that he'll be there awhile.

The former NFL and Major League Baseball player used words like ``passion,'' ``tenacity'' and ``hungry'' to describe Malzahn's pitch and demeanor in his interview with the search committee. He also praised his willingness ``to come into a hornet's nest like this and say, `My job is to rebuild this program, to get these kids back to the winning ways these kids are used to.'''

That challenge extends well beyond Xs and Os.

The Tigers wilted against top competition, getting routed by No. 10 Texas A&M (63-21), No. 6 Georgia (38-0) and No. 2 Alabama (49-0) and also had center Reese Dismukes and freshman quarterback Zeke Pike arrested for public intoxication over the summer. Chizik dismissed Pike from the team.

Search committee member Mac Crawford, a Nashville businessman, said discipline was one of the first topics brought up with Malzahn.

``We talked about it a long time and we were very satisfied with the answers that he gave to us,'' said Crawford, a former Auburn fullback who was chairman of the board at CVSCaremark and CEO/chairman of CaremarkRx.

Freshman quarterback Jonathan Wallace said discipline was an issue last season ``but that's something that can be fixed.''

``Just a matter of us being accountable with each other,'' said Wallace, who started the final four games. ``That's the biggest thing, just looking out for each other and making sure that we're not doing anything that we don't need to be doing.''

The Tigers do have big holes to fill, despite returning 18 players who started on offense or defense in the finale against Alabama. They're losing their only consistently productive receiver, Emory Blake, No. 2 rusher Onterio McCalebb and leading tackler Daren Bates. Defensive end Corey Lemonier also hasn't said if he'll return for his senior season or enter the NFL draft.

But Malzahn said it goes beyond talent to attitude.

``We do have some talent, and we have some deficiencies, and what I've got to do is identify the deficiencies and address those immediately and also the mindset,'' he said. ``The mindset and expectations mentally and physically of our players. So we've got some work to do, but I know the areas we need to improve on and we're going to address those.''

Crawford has experience reviving companies, and finds correlations in Malzahn's challenge.

``Let's face it, this is a turnaround situation,'' Crawford said in a phone interview Wednesday. ``This is a team that won three ballgames last season, and he has got to get the kids back to where they have a winning attitude, heading in the right direction. We've got good kids at Auburn.

``I've always done turnarounds in my corporate career and any time you go in, getting the right people in the right places and doing it the way you think should be done - that's what Gus has to do. You just can't expect it to happen overnight.''

Malzahn does have a track record for reviving offenses quickly, even before Cam Newton's arrival in 2010. The Tigers improved from 110th in scoring in 2008 to 16th the following season with Chris Todd at quarterback.

Malzahn also directed Tulsa offenses that led the nation in total offense in 2007 and 2008.

Wallace, one of three quarterbacks with multiple starts returning, said he attended every Auburn home game during the national championship season two years ago. He also saw what Texas A&M and Johnny Manziel did this season with a similarly uptempo offense.

``It's exciting. It really is, just being able to go there and just run all over the defense if you execute as well as you need to,'' said Wallace, who signed after Malzahn left for Arkansas State. ``It's a really fun offense. You've really got to put in all the work that's needed to be very successful in this offense.''

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

  
HEADLINES
Edwards: Friday's Tip Sheet
Mejia: The Dozen: Thanksgiving Leftovers
Bookmaker: Friday's Best Bets
BetOnline.ag: Fading Alabama
ASA: Big Ten Report - Week 13
Williams: Pac-12 Report - Week 13
Williams: Big 12 Report - Week 13
Williams: ACC Report - Week 13
Lawrence: Inside the Stats - Week 13
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NCAAFB College Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NCAA FB Hot Streaks
9-2 L11, 15-4 Run, 20-4 L10 Sat.
5-0 Sat, 19-8 L4 Saturdays, +1,285 TY
9-2 L11 G-Plays, 15-6 L21 Picks
8-1 Sat, 9-1 Run, 10-2 L12 Totals
5-2 Sat, 51-26 L10 Sat, +1,635 TY
10-4 GPlays, 24-12 Run, +1,320 TY
12-6 L18 G-Plays, +1,242 Overall
12-4 L2 Sat., 16-6 Run, 7-3 G-Plays
18-9 L27 G-Plays, 13-5 Thursdays TY
14-7 L21 Picks, 8-3 L11 G-Plays
22-10 Run, 26-11 L8 Saturdays
4-0 Fri, 28-16 Run, 28-12 G-Plays
3-1 G-Plays, 10-6 L2 Sat, 14-8 L22
+1,041 CFB Picks This Season
3-1 Saturday, 4-1 L5 Guarantees
5-2 Record L2 Saturdays
6-1 L7 Guaranteed Plays
10-5 Saturday, 32-15 L47 Totals
5-2 Last Week, 12-4 L16 G-Plays
7-3 L10 Guaranteed Plays
12-6 Last 18 NCAA Picks
4-0 Record Tuesday
NCAA FB College Football Expert Picks - Missouri Tigers at Arkansas Razaorbacks
2017 CFB SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Scott Pritchard + 2379
Vince Akins + 1635
Gary Bart + 1320
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 960
Scott Pritchard + 700
Pat Hawkins + 580
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Scott Pritchard 70 %
Vince Akins 60 %
Andy Iskoe 60 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 1475
Scott Pritchard + 1074
Bruce Marshall + 563
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Scott Pritchard + 1134
Kyle Hunter + 1002
Pat Hawkins + 660
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Mark Franco + 780
Marc Lawrence + 771
Gary Bart + 723
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership