Video: Gus Malzahn Wastes No Time In Getting ASU Red Wolves To Think ‘Big-Time'

by Chris Bahn  on Tuesday, Jul. 17, 2012 12:00 am  

Arkansas State head football coach Gus Malzahn returns to his home state. (Photo by Mark Wagner)

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Vanderbilt and Maryland came calling after the 2010 national championship season at Auburn. Malzahn passed, waiting for another opportunity.

Auburn paid him $1.3 million last year. Defensive coordinators across the SEC hated facing his teams.

Yet the 2011 Broyles Award winner, given annually to the nation’s top assistant coach, says he identifies best with guys who run the state’s 215 high school football programs.

Many of those coaches still consider Malzahn one of their own.

“I think he enjoyed the journey,” Pulaski Academy Coach Kevin Kelley said. “I think he takes some pride in the fact he learned it on his own or learned it from high school coaches.”

Details Matter

Progress happens slowly in an east Arkansas farming community like Hughes. In some ways the town is very much like it was two decades ago when Malzahn began his coaching career.

That isn’t why Michael Bradley, former Hughes Blue Devils fullback, still keeps a VCR around the house, however. Bradley has plenty of technology at his disposal, but enjoys having a way to watch his old game tapes.

Bradley, who farms with his father, was part of the Blue Devils team that Malzahn coached to the 1994 state title game. Bradley still marvels at what he sees on tape.

“It’s amazing to watch,” Bradley said. “What really stands out is how well we executed. That’s got a lot to do with how detailed he was. We were very disciplined. You did your job or you didn’t have it long.”

Attention to detail has always been one of Malzahn’s strong suits. He leaves little to chance and does not respond well when things don’t go according to plan.

Malzahn isn’t above benching a player as Bradley recalls. That’s one example of what happens when the coach perceives someone being sloppy.



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