What Gus Malzahn Hiring at Auburn Means for the Quarterback Controversy

Ian BergCorrespondent IDecember 4, 2012

Jan 10, 2011; Glendale, AZ, USA; Auburn Tigers offensive coordinator  Gus Malzahn with the offense during the first half of the 2011 BCS National Championship game against the Oregon Ducks at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Auburn University has officially announced Gus Malzahn as the next head coach for the Tigers. 

Malzahn was Auburn's offensive coordinator from 2009 to 2011 and helped guide the Tigers to a national title in 2010. More impressively, he helped develop an injured Chris Todd into a record-setting quarterback in 2009. 

History shows that Malzahn produces great quarterback play wherever he lands, with only 2011 breeding negative quarterbacking results during his seven-year college coaching career. Expect the quarterback issues at Auburn to disappear in a few short months. 

Gus Malzahn has a system that favors the talent that is on Auburn’s roster already—especially at the quarterback position. 

Kiehl Frazier grew up in the Malzahn offense throughout high school, and Jonathan Wallace was a spread quarterback. Of the two, Wallace has been the most consistent and has been the safest with the football. 

With Malzahn leading the charge, both quarterbacks will get an even shot at the job, with the winner becoming an all-star in the return of the Malzahn system. 

Malzahn takes pride in quarterback development, and he will ensure that the key to his offense has all the right tools to succeed. The quarterback position is a major asset in the Malzahn offense, and that won’t change when he arrives back at Auburn. 

The Tigers wanted to return to the spread, and with Malzahn, they will do just that. It will be a return to 2009 and 2010 for Auburn. In 2011, the offense looked like it was being held back, and that hurt the productivity of the plays and quarterback. 

Auburn needs an offensive leader, and it needs someone to develop its quarterbacks. There is no better hire right now than Malzahn to handle that duty. 

Every year as a college coach, Malzahn has coached a new quarterback, and every year, his signal-callers tend to overachieve. It started at Arkansas, where he coached a freshman—Mitch Mustain—to an 8-0 record. 

He then went to Tulsa and coached the Golden Hurricanes to the top spot offensively in college football. 

In 2007, the Malzahn offense was No. 1 in the country, and quarterback Paul Smith finished No. 2 in total offense and No. 4 in passing efficiency. The Golden Hurricanes averaged 371 passing yards a game, making them the No. 3 overall unit in the country. 

In 2008, the Tulsa offense shifted with its talent and became the No. 7 rushing offense in the country, gaining 254.85 yards on the ground. The Golden Hurricanes maintained a top-10 passing offense, ranking seventh in passing that year as well. 

David Johnson was Malzahn’s third quarterback in three years, and he finished No. 2 in passer efficiency and No. 10 in total offense. 


Malzahn also coached Chris Todd during his senior year. That season, Todd threw for 22 touchdowns—which broke the Auburn record at the time—and 2,612 passing yards. He was able to tie the Auburn record for passing touchdowns in a game with his five scoring tosses against Ball State. 

Todd also led an amazing comeback against West Virginia in the rain in which he threw four touchdowns. 

In 2008, Todd only started five games, throwing for 903 yards and five touchdowns. His shoulder injury sidelined him often, but he was very ineffective without Malzahn coaching him. 

Of course, there was Cam Newton, but adding him to the conversation doesn’t do much. Although, it was the Malzahn system that Newton rode to stardom and is the vehicle that is helping him succeed in the NFL. 

This past season, Malzahn’s only one as the head coach at Arkansas State, he led the Red Wolves to a Sun Belt Conference title and had fielded the No. 17 total offense in the country. His team was No. 13 in passing efficiency, No. 21 in scoring and No. 21 in rushing offense. 

Starting quarterback Ryan Aplin—Malzahn’s seventh quarterback in seven years—finished No. 18 in passing efficiency and No. 20 in total offense. 

This offense will be as fast as ever, and it will produce a ton of yards in Malzahn’s inaugural season on the Plains.