Malzahn presents Auburn as­sis­tants

Lash­lee will coach of­fense; John­son to head the de­fense.

Austin American-Statesman - - C SPORTS -

New Auburn coach Gus Malzahn was flanked by his fresh-faced pro­tege, of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Rhett Lash­lee, and sil­ver­haired de­fen­sive boss El­lis John­son on Fri­day.

He in­tro­duced the 29year-old Lash­lee and 60-year-old John­son at a news con­fer­ence three days af­ter his hir­ing. Lash­lee will make $350,000 a year while John­son re­ceived an $800,000 salary, though Auburn hasn’t re­leased the lengths of their deals or other terms.

Lash­lee’s hire seemed al­most a fore­gone con­clu­sion.

He spent three years as Malzahn’s quar­ter­back at Shiloh Chris­tian High School in Arkansas and has worked un­der him in the prep ranks and at three dif­fer­ent col­leges, in­clud­ing their ini­tial stop in Auburn.

“He’s one of the bright, young and up-and-coming of­fen­sive minds in all of col­lege foot­ball,” Malzahn said. “He’s been my right­hand man at three dif­fer­ent stops in col­lege. At Arkansas he was my right­hand man. I re­lied on him a lot here at Auburn.

“He de­serves a lot of the credit for our of­fen­sive success that we had and of course this past year at Arkansas State, just did a phe­nom­e­nal job. I know ex­actly what I’m get­ting.

“He’s go­ing to give me the flex­i­bil­ity to help with the of­fense and at the same time be a head coach and do the things that coach has to do.”

Malzahn said the two will col­lab­o­rate on play call­ing du­ties in an of­fense built upon a re­lent­lessly fast tempo and a style that is heavy on the run and play­ac­tion passes. It worked well enough in 2010 that the Tigers won a na­tional ti­tle and quar­ter­back Cam New­ton took the Heis­man Tro­phy. Lash­lee spent last sea­son as Malzahn’s of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor at Arkansas State.

John­son, whose hir­ing was an­nounced on Thurs­day, can re­late to the chal­lenge of de­fenses fac­ing Malzahn’s of­fense.

His South Carolina de­fense faced Malzahn and New­ton twice in 2010, los­ing in the reg­u­lar sea­son and the South­east­ern Con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship game.

Wis­con­sin: One of three men ac­cused of at­tack­ing Wis­con­sin run­ning back Mon­tee Ball in Au­gust has reached a deal with pros­e­cu­tors. Wen­dell Ven­er­a­ble, 21, of Madi­son is sched­uled for a plea hear­ing Dec. 17.

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