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Malzahn won’t allow Nick Marshall to work with QB guru

Nick Marshall Gus Malzahn Getty Images

Over the years, more and more of the top quarterbacks in the country at nearly every have been flocking to George Whitfield.  The guru du jour at the most important position on a football field has worked with the likes of the 2010, 2011 and 2012 Heisman winners, Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III and Johnny Manziel, and is expected to bring the reigning Heisman winner, Jameis Winston, under his growing coaching umbrella as well.

If it’s up to Gus Malzahn, however, a player who could be in play for the 2014 stiff-armed trophy won’t follow suit.

Speaking to Brandon Marcello of, the Auburn head coach was very succinct when it comes to reports that his quarterback, Nick Marshall, will work with Whitfield this offseason — he’s decidedly against it.  In fact, Malzahn sounds very much like he’s outright forbidding it.

“You want them thinking exactly like you want them to think,” Malzahn said. “When you get multiple people working, there’s multiple thoughts, so we want them thinking one way. …

“We’ve never had anyone work with our quarterbacks while they still had eligibility. We feel really good about how we go about it and the success we’ve had before. There won’t be anyone working with our quarterbacks until their eligibility is exhausted.”

So that’s that, apparently.

Marshall, who in his first season as a starter helped lead the Tigers to the BCS title game against Florida State, was reportedly headed to California, along with Winston, to work with Whitfield this summer.  Barring an unexpected development, Winston will still make the pilgrimage.

More times than not, coaches don’t have an issue with their players seeking out Whitfield’s counsel.  Ohio State’s Urban Meyer and Clemson’s Dabo Swinney, for example, had no issues with their quarterbacks, Braxton Miller and Tajh Boyd, respectively, working with Whitfield while they were still in college.

With the blessing of Kevin Sumlin, Manziel began working with Whitfield in the summer of 2013.  Manziel is also working with Whitfield as he prepares for the 2014 NFL draft.

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8 Responses to “Malzahn won’t allow Nick Marshall to work with QB guru”
  1. woebegong says: Mar 3, 2014 8:43 AM

    I think the real reason behind the coaches decision, is the fact that the QB guru, might try and teach him how to be a better passer and less of a runner, in other words a pocket passer. If that happened, he wouldn’t fit into the coaches type of offensive scheme anymore.
    I guess this is good for the coach but bad for Marshall’s chances of ever playing in the Sunday League.

  2. elwaysagenius says: Mar 3, 2014 9:06 AM

    I think the original appeal of Marshall to Malzahn is that he has an athletic guy who he can mold into the type of QB he wants.

  3. Romulus says: Mar 3, 2014 9:18 AM

    Makes sense. He can work with him after but for now he wants his qb to be coached just by him.

  4. gorilladunk says: Mar 3, 2014 9:44 AM

    I’ve grown to think that there is more “sizzle” than steak where Whitfield is concerned. I’m not around during his teaching sessions, but I can say that I haven’t seen a dramatic improvement from any of his “students”. Most of the guys who seem to go to him are already fairly established anyway. I’m sure he could be helpful to a high schooler but by the time guys get to major college programs, their skill set is pretty well established. I don’t think hitting them in the ankles with a broom is going to result in tangible improvement.

  5. normtide says: Mar 3, 2014 2:14 PM

    Gus has a particular style of offense. I certainly don’t blame him for only wanting his voice to be heard. For most other types of offense this wouldn’t be an issue. If he hadn’t had success with Marshall I would maybe call it petty, but you can’t argue with the results so far. I don’t question Saban when it comes to defenses and I won’t question Gus when it comes to offenses.

  6. scfan36 says: Mar 3, 2014 6:26 PM

    Did you really just insinuate that Marshall could win the Heisman?

  7. chinahand11 says: Mar 4, 2014 11:18 AM

    Don’t blame him. He’s done pretty fair with his own coaching staff.

  8. carterpaige says: Mar 4, 2014 4:52 PM

    If one of the primary reasons for attending college is to prepare for a profession whether it be doctor, lawyer, musician etc., then Coach Malzahn is doing Mr. Marshall a great disservice. And, in theory this sort of rigidity could also hinder Auburn’s ability to recruit top rated QB prospects in the future. The purpose of Whitfield’s service is to improve the throwing mechanics of QBs, not to have them unlearn a particular offensive scheme.

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