History Repeats Itself For Gus Malzahn

Twelve months ago, freshman Michael Dyer was the hero of Auburn’s national championship season. On first and ten, of a tie game with 2:10 remaining, Dyer was tackled after a six yard run. At least, that’s what the Oregon defense thought As Dyer unwittingly got up, he never let go of the football and his teammates on the sideline began signaling for him to run. Replays showed that his body never touched the ground after he landed on top of a defender.

After rushing for 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns as a sophomore, Dyer has decided to leave the Auburn program. The most interesting part of this story is where he’s decided to play his junior season. Dyer will become the second Auburn icon from last year’s national championship to leave the SEC powerhouse for tiny Arkansas State. The other is Auburn offensive coordinator, Gus Malzahn who will take over the head coaching position.

I’ve always lived under the assertion that Mahlzahn deserved a majority of the credit for Auburn’s national championship season than Chizik. Last month, Malzahn’s wife revealed that Chizik never actually wanted Cam Newton and that Newton’s recruitment was mostly a result of Mahlzahn’s offensive genius.

This isn’t the first time, Malzahn has led an SEC program to the peak of its potential before jumping ship soon after. Six years ago, Malzahn won back-to-back state championships as head coach of Springdale High School. After Malzahn decided to take the offensive coordinator job at Arkansas under Houston Nutt. Mitch Mustain, Damian Williams were among four players who joined Malzahn at Arkansas.

The next year, Mustain and Williams were contributors on a Razorback team that started the season 8-0 and won the SEC West. After a falling out between Nutt and Malzahn over the play calling and the Razorbacks no-huddle spread offense, Malzahn departed for Tulsa. Mustain and Williams transferred to USC but not before ripping Nutt. The next season, Nutt resigned as head coach.

Prior to Auburn’s Chick-fil-A Bowl appearance Dyer was suspended for a violation of team rules but it did not appear to be something that couldn’t be forgotten by next fall.

Michael Dyer is just one player and he may end up deciding that he’s too talented to play in the Sun Belt Conference. However, Dyer represents the impact that Malzahn made on Auburn football. I can’t imagine Gene Chizik again reaching the SEC West mountain-top without Gus Malzahn’s offensive mind. Just ask Houston Nutt.