AUBURN, Ala. (WIAT) – CBS 42 Sports Anchor Simone Eli sat down with Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn to preview the 2018 season. Malzahn talks his contract extension, the Alabama vs. Auburn rivalry, his relationship with Nick Saban, and much more!
SIMONE: This off-season you signed a new contract, obviously you are committing your time here in Auburn, does is add pressure or take away for you, as an SEC coach, does it make you more relaxed?
GUS: No, I just think more than anything we have a stable program, in this day and age there’s not a whole lot of stability in our league. I think that’s going to be a huge advantage for us moving forward. As far as pressure, I put believable pressure on myself no matter what I make, where I’m at or what. But I think more than anything it’s stability and that’s going to help us long term.
SIMONE: You have been around a lot of great quarterbacks, Jarrett Stidham, is he in the elite conversation and if so, what could his pro career look like?
GUS: There is no doubt that he is going to play at the next level. He has all the tools and intangibles, what he did last year coming in with the new coordinator, new teammates, new offense, and the newcomer of the year in our conference, he has a better understanding of everything. He’s in a good position to have a very good year and this is his team, this is his moment. I’m glad he’s our quarterback.
SIMONE: You talked about this at SEC media days, you talk about it quite often, having your back to back rivals virtually in back to back weeks, you play them on the road or at home. This year it’s on the road. How challenging is that, you play one of the toughest schedules in college football?
GUS: Yeah, it’s challenging I don’t think anyone else has to do it but that’s the schedule we’ve been given. We know what it’s like and you just have to raise your level and you have to get it done.
SIMONE: Do you give your guys a different message during this preseason looking at that knowing it’s going to be a tough couple weeks?
GUS: I think at the very first of fall camp you can see the big picture, and you can set the plan for the big picture, then you have to flip the switch and take it one game at a time. So we’ve already flipped the switch, nothing else is on our mind but Washington. We will have our hands full with that group. They are a very good team, maybe one of the most complete teams in all of college football. It will be a good test for where we’re at. But yes, are one game at a time right now.
SIMONE: You have made a name for yourself in college football. You’ve had the success that you have had every level. But you are in a very unique position being at Auburn. You share a state and recruits and tons of things, fans with a school right down the road, Alabama, a great program right now with Coach Saban. How challenging is that what is your life like in that regard?
GUS: It is part of being at Auburn, I like it. I like the fact that they are in the state with us. I like the fact that their our rival, so you have to embrace it.
SIMONE: do you have a relationship with Nick Saban?
GUS: It’s professional, he coaches for them I coach for Auburn it’s professional.
SIMONE: You signed your contract extension, you’re going to be in Auburn, you want to be in Auburn. Do you feel like your career and coaching could and on The Plains?
GUS: You know, I would like to do that, there’s no doubt. I think we’re at a point now where we have a chance to do something special the next two, three, four years, it’s all set up. We have to do it but it’s a really exciting time to be an Auburn Tiger.