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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ASU offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee has plenty of others. Lashlee has played for and worked alongside Malzahn and knows his boss’ commitment to perfection as well as anyone.

Lashlee was a quarterback at Shiloh Christian in 2000 when he learned that lesson after a late interception against Charleston in a state semifinal game.

While the miscue wound up having little impact on the outcome, and likely wasn’t going to have an impact on the outcome, Malzahn was livid. Lashlee was walking toward the sidelines when an assistant coach met the quarterback on the field and escorted him to an area as far from Malzahn as possible. Two other assistants had to restrain Malzahn after the interception.

“He told me he wanted to kill me and I think he meant it,” Lashlee said. “You laugh at those moments now, but it tells you a lot about the way he is. He never wanted us to settle for average or good.”

Arkansas State players have seen that quality in their coach already. Malzahn rarely seemed pleased with what he interpreted as a lack of attention to detail from the Red Wolves early in spring camp.

Little things often caught Malzahn’s watchful eye. Criticism wasn’t limited to the execution of a play or its net result. Maybe a run netted 6 yards, but had all 11 players done their job it could have been a 60-yard touchdown.

Players quickly learned to pay attention to everything. Even the way the Red Wolves broke a huddle and worked their way to the line of scrimmage mattered.

“It’s the little things we do that will put us over the edge and make us the best team possible. We know he’s going to harp on that every day,” quarterback Ryan Aplin said. “We have to get that right.”

(Meet more familiar names coming back to push Arkansas State to the next level. Michael Dyer, John Thompson and J.B. Grimes all punch their return ticket in the digital edition of's 2012 Football Preview.)

Fast Forward

Not only do ASU players have to get it right, they have to do it a frenetic pace.

And the Red Wolves entered the spring thinking they knew what up-tempo meant.



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