NCF Nation: Neil Caudle

Posted by's Chris Low

The spread is back at Auburn.

That's right. Another spring, another new offense.

  AP Photo/Dave Martin
  Gus Malzahn's version of the spread offense has worked wherever he has coached.

This time, it's Gus Malzahn bringing his version of the spread to the Plains. He's not real interested in what they've done before at Auburn, how miserably the spread failed last season at Auburn or how his offense might be perceived around the SEC.

It's worked everywhere Malzahn has been, and that's good enough for him.

"Nowadays, there are so many versions of what people call the spread," Malzahn said. "We're going to have a physical, hard-nosed attitude, and that's the No. 1 thing we want to do. You look back at the history of Auburn, and that's kind of been their trademark. We'll focus on running the ball downhill and be a run/play-action pass team. That's a little bit different than what they did here last year.

"It's a new start, and we'll see what happens."

First-year Auburn coach Gene Chizik, who has a defensive background, didn't have to look long to find his offensive coordinator. He wanted somebody who was creative and wanted somebody who was proven.

Those prerequisites led him straight to Malzahn, whose offenses at Tulsa were ranked first nationally in total offense each of the past two seasons. Malzahn had also previously coached in the SEC when he was at Arkansas as offensive coordinator in 2006. Moreover, he's one of the people who engineered the rebirth of the single wing that's now the rage in college football.

At Arkansas, they called it the Wild Hog. They call it the Wild Rebel at Ole Miss, and it's also known as the Wildcat package. Even the Miami Dolphins ran some of it last season with Ronnie Brown. Malzahn's been running it since he was coaching at Springdale High School in Arkansas.

Malzahn has already identified some candidates to run it at Auburn, namely Mario Fannin.

But a more pressing priority this spring is finding his quarterback. Notice he didn't say "quarterbacks." Malzahn wants one guy and hopes to find him this spring. The Tigers open practice on March 24.

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