Malzahn presents Auburn assistants
Lashlee will coach offense; Johnson to head the defense.
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.