Gus Malzahn’s eight-year run with Auburn came to an end this weekend.
Despite winning a National Championship in 2013, earning three Iron Bowl victories, and amassing a decent 68-35 mark throughout his tenure, Malzahn hadn’t experienced enough recent success to warrant being kept around.
On Monday, Alabama head coach Nick Saban offered his thoughts on Malzahn’s termination.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Gus,” he said.
“He was difficult to play against when he was the offensive coordinator. He’s always been difficult to play against as a head coach. Their teams always played hard. Their team is always well-coached on both sides of the ball and special teams. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Gus.”
Saban did’t stop there.
“Sometimes you wonder why people do what they do,” he continued.
“But I don’t know what the reasons are. I certainly think he’s an outstanding coach and has been a tough adversary for us to have to play against in the Iron Bowl every year. I have a lot of respect for Gus and the job he’s done.”
As far as Saban is concerned, Malzahn left a permanent mark on SEC football.
“I don’t think there’s any question about it,” he said.
“Gus’ style of play — he’s not the only one. The whole sort of Baylor influence. Hugh Freeze. Those guys have all sort of come I think from the same roots in terms of some of the innovations they’ve made and tempo offenses, RPOs, really changing the game.
“I think Gus has been one of the — at the forefront of all that,” he continued. “I guess playing against those guys, you almost at least get to the point where you say, ‘If you can’t beat ‘em, you might as well join ‘em.’ I guess that’s why we changed some of the things that we do around here.”
It will be interesting to see where Malzahn lands from here. Clearly he is still immensely respected around college football, so he likely won’t be without a job for long.