Gus Malzahn: Former Auburn OC Ready for Next Step with Arkansas State

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IDecember 14, 2011

Gus Malzahn has been an assistant coach for a while now.

Now it's his time to shine.

Malzahn, who was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Auburn Tigers last season when they won the championship behind Cam Newton, has reportedly agreed to be head coach of Arkansas State, per ESPN.

Malzahn, who also was the offensive coordinator and receivers coach with in-state rival Arkansas in 2006, has more than paid his dues. Although this will be his first stint as a head coach, he's widely regarded as a good coach in general, and that figures to make Red Wolves fans happy.

As an OC, Auburn liked Malzahn so much that they paid him $1.3 million per year starting in 2009. In 2010, he was named top college assistant coach in the country.

Under Hugh Freeze, who has now left for Ole Miss, Arkansas State went 10-2 this season, scoring 33.5 points per game, which ranked them 28th in the nation. They also ranked 17th in passing yards per game. The hope is that under Malzahn, the Red Wolves can have an even more explosive offense.

Arkansas State also has a good defense, which should set Malzahn up nicely. They allowed just 19.3 points per game, ranking 15th in the country.

There will be a lot of expectations for Malzahn at Arkansas State after the work Freeze did, but he has experience in the all-powerful SEC, and that could prove huge in the Sun Belt Conference, which is widely regarded as one of the worst conferences in the nation.

In Malzahn, the Red Wolves have not only gotten a top coach, they've gotten a coach who has had enough time as an assistant to take control of a team.

Malzahn will be missed at Auburn, but you can bet Arkansas State will welcome him with open arms.

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