Vanderbilt prepared to pay big money

It looks like Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn is the guy Vanderbilt wants, and the Commodores are prepared to pay big money to get him.

While no offer has been officially extended, Vanderbilt is putting together a package that would place Malzahn's salary in the upper half of SEC coaches, which is saying something when you consider what those guys made this season.

According to a recent USA Today study, Ole Miss' Houston Nutt was the sixth highest paid coach in the SEC this season and earned $2,509,000. The package for Malzahn could exceed that figure.

Vanderbilt is a private university and doesn't release salary information, but Bobby Johnson was believed to be making somewhere between $1 million and $1.5 million when he retired this year.

The Commodores want an offensive-minded coach, which is why Malzahn is at the top of their list. He was in town this week talking with school officials. Chances are no decisions will be made until this weekend at the earliest. Vanderbilt also wants to talk with Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo. Navy plays Army on Saturday. The other guy heavily involved is Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin, who's had multiple interviews with Vanderbilt officials.