“A guy that scores a lot of points,” Chizik said.
He’ll be hard-pressed to find one who does it better than the man he’s replacing. Gus Malzahn on Wednesday officially accepted the job as head coach at Arkansas State, but the good news for Chizik is he’ll stay on as offensive coordinator for the Tigers through the Dec. 31 Chick-fil-A Bowl game with Virginia.
“Gus and I have a great relationship and he’s going to be missed around here,” Chizik said. “But certainly him wanting to stay was big. I didn’t have to beg him. He really, really wanted to stay, which was a great thing. He loves Auburn and the players here and he was very adamant about wanting to coach in the bowl game, which was great.”
Auburn quarterback Clint Moseley says he has mixed feelings about Malzahn’s departure.
“On one hand I’m happy for him. On the other hand I’m sad to see him go,” Moseley said. “He’s done a lot of good things for me personally and a lot of great things for this program. He’s definitely going to be missed, there’s nothing to debate about that. It’s a little weird — I don’t really know what to think right now, I don’t know how to feel about it honestly.”
Chizik has been proud of this staff’s continuity. Up until last week, defensive line coach Tracy Rocker, who left after last season to take a similar position with the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, had been the only coach to leave off the staff he originally hired three years ago.
Then last week, defensive coordinator Ted Roof left to take a similar position with Central Florida.
Chizik is serving as interim defensive coordinator and line coach in place of Roof.
And although neither Roof’s nor Malzahn’s departure was unexpected, it leaves Chizik in a position where has to replace both coordinators.
“Obviously, when you’re in this profession you understand that staff change is something that occurs quite often,” Chizik said. “Obviously, yes, the importance of stability in your staff is big. But the bottom line is when you’ve won a national championship and you’ve had a lot of success, people are going to have other opportunities. This is a situation that I feel very confident that we’re going to hire some great people here, just like we did previously.”
Chizik said he’s not necessarily looking for an offensive coordinator who coaches the same spread offense that Malzahn preaches.
“Going down the road of hiring an offensive coordinator, it’s not going to be necessarily what type of style this particular guy runs,” he said. “It’s going to be a lot of different things. We’ve recruited a lot of good players here. We’ve recruited a lot of skill players, we’ve recruited a lot of offensive line and a lot of good quarterbacks. Whatever offense we decide to go to, whatever that might be, we’ll work around what our personnel dictates we can do. But that will always be the case, no matter what offense or defense you’re running, you’ve got to work with what you have.”
Moseley, however, has one wish when it comes to offensive style.
“I have no control over that, but the only thing I hope is they don’t bring in an option attack,” he said. “Everything else, I’ll be happy. As we throw the ball a bit and I don’t have to run it every down, I’ll be happy. I know Coach Chiz will make the right decision for the players we have. I don’t think anybody will debate about that. As long as it’s not option, I think I’ll be happy.”
Chizik said he will take his time on both hires.
“I don’t put timelines on either one,” he said. “I’m going to do my due diligence and get what I feel like is the best fit for Auburn. Period. Like I’ve said, our guys on our staff that we put together three years ago, it’s a great staff. People want our guys. So I feel very confident again that we’re going to get the right guys in and whatever the timeline is and however that unfolds, it unfolds in that time period. Obviously, the sooner the better, we know that but that certainly doesn’t override the fact that we’re hiring the right guy.”