Gus Malzahn's first words as the head coach at Auburn were the only words they could be, "War Eagle!"
Malzahn came across confident and ready to take the reins of the Auburn press conference on Tuesday night, gripping the podium like he was watching a 3rd-and-goal. Malzahn leaves behind a 9-3 Arkansas State team headed to the GoDaddy.com Bowl. He said he had not yet spoken with the Arkansas State adminstration but added, "I'm 100 percent committed to Auburn and getting this thing going as soon as possible."
The credentials Malzahn brings to the job are unique. On one hand, he had a very successful run as the offensive coordinator at Auburn that ended less than 365 days ago. On the other hand, he takes over a BCS program just seven years after breaking into college football for the first time.
Malzahn thinks he is ready for the high stakes that come with the Auburn job, saying that his time at the high school level prepared him for the task of being a head coach on game day. "For college football, it's the off the field that you've got to get used to," said Malzahn. "Being a head football coach is very natural to me."
Malzhan very quickly laid out his vision for how Auburn will be constructed under his watch. "We will have a up tempo, fast-paced offense," he said. "We will run the ball, that will be our staple. We will be attacking in all areas. We will be multiple up front. I think you've got to do both, odd and even. That's what gives offenses trouble."
Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs stated that Malzahn will receive a five-year, $11.5 million contract.
It strikes me that $2.3 M salary for Gus allows a good bit of room for assistants...— FootballScoop Staff (@footballscoop) December 5, 2012
Who exactly will assist him is an issue Malzahn will be patient on. "I'm going to take my time find the right person, wherever he is," Malzahn explained. "I'm going to get the best fit for Auburn. No matter if it's guys that are here, guys that were (at Arkansas State), or guys elsewhere."
Malzahn's familiarity with the roster, he recruited all of the upperclassmen, will certainly allow him to hit the ground running. "I think it's a huge advantage," Malzahn said of his working knowledge with the roster. "Not only the offensive guys but the defensive guys, I'm very familiar with them."
Malzahn is very familiar with Auburn, its resources and, most importantly, its expectations. Like everything else he does in coaching, Malzahn attacked those expectations aggressively, stating, "My goal is to get Auburn back to a championship level."