Gus Malzahn

Success on Friday night sidelines can translate to Saturday glory


The NFL is proving that making the move from the college football coaching game to the pros may not be as difficult as once perceived. This year’s Super Bowl will see Pete Carroll successfully make the move from USC to the Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks, although he also had 16 years of NFL experience behind him. To get there he had to get by former Pac 12 coaching rival Jim Harbaugh (Stanford). Out east it was another Pac 12 coach, Chip Kelly from Oregon, proving his doubters wrong by leading the Philadelphia Eagles to a division championship and home playoff game. It seems a similar trend has been developing one more level down the ranks.

Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn and Baylor head coach Art Briles help prove a point made in a column on suggesting some of the best coaches in the game are coming from the high school football fields instead of off the college sidelines. It probably goes without much saying that a successful coach at the high school level is going to have some inroads with college programs. After all, successful high school coaches likely have regular visits from college programs checking out their players in the recruiting process. If a high school coach is helping to develop this talent, why would they not be considered for opportunities to join a coaching staff at a college program?

Every coach follows a different path of course. With so many high schools around the country and football teams to coach, not every highly successful coach is going to get a chance to coach in college, and even then it will take some time for them to have a chance to become a successful college coach. It is not as though Malzahn or Briles walked off a high school field and immediately transformed Auburn or Baylor in to a power house. Briles spent three years as a running backs coach at Texas Tech before being named the head coach at Houston. It took Malzahn six years under various roles at Arkansas, Tulsa and Auburn before getting a chance to succeed at Arkansas State and then Auburn.

The point being made is that as colleges start looking at a wider range of potential coaching candidates, it is not a surprise that those who succeed under the Friday night lights are having an impact on Saturdays as well.

Report: Duke Williams injured Auburn teammate with punch in ‘bar rampage’

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 29:  D'haquille Williams #1 of the Auburn Tigers misses a touchdown catch in the first quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the Iron Bowl at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 29, 2014 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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D’haquille Williams may have some additional explaining to do to NFL personnel if another report is accurate.

Monday night, Auburn announced that the star wide receiver had been dismissed from Gus Malzahn‘s football program.  A day later, reports surfaced that Williams’ dismissal came after he went on a weekend “bar rampage” following one of his friends getting the heave-ho from a local drinking establishment over a dress-code issue. It was alleged that Williams had punched a pair of security guards, a bartender’s assistant and an unnamed patron of the bar.

The unnamed, however, now has a name.

According to the ABC affiliate in Montgomery, Ala., and a citing a source close to the AU program, Tigers center Xavier Dampeer‘s jaw was on the receiving end of one of Williams’ alleged punches. The website wrote that “Dampeer has been treated and released from East Alabama Medical Center, according to a worker at the hospital.”

Malzahn was asked Tuesday if any other Tiger players were involved in the incident. “I’m not going to get into any details,” the coach said according to

No charges have been filed in connection to the incident.

“We cannot file charges until the injured person(s) comes forward,” Auburn police chief Paul Register told the television station. “Unless an officer personally sees a fight, no arrests can be made.”

Illini’s leading rusher, Josh Ferguson, officially ruled out vs. Iowa

Josh Ferguson, Jordan Italiano
Associated Press
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If Illinois is going to improve upon its solid 4-1 start to the 2015 season, it’ll have to do so without a significant cog in its offensive machinery.

On the official injury report release Thursday night, the Illini confirmed that Josh Ferguson has been ruled out of Saturday’s game against No. 22 Iowa.  The decision is not exactly a surprise as Ferguson has been doubtful in the run-up to the road game against the Hawkeyes.

Ferguson sustained an injury to his right shoulder in the first quarter of last Saturday’s last-second win over Nebraska, and has been unable to practice at all this week.

Ferguson’s 381 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns and 5.4 yards per carry are all tops on the team.  He’s added 12 receptions for 28 yards and another touchdown coming out of the backfield.

With Ferguson sidelined, the bulk of the running-game load is expected to shift to Ke’Shawn Vaughn.  Through five games, Vaughn is second on the Illini with 325 yards and a pair of touchdowns.