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Friday, December 31, 2010

Gus Malzahn: 'My only focus is helping us win the national championship'

Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn didn’t want to talk about rumors linking him to the vacant Maryland head coaching job Friday, saying he’s only thinking about preparation for Oregon.

“My only focus is helping us win a national championship,” Malzahn said in his first comments to reporters since being linked to the job. “I will have nothing else in my mind other than that.”

Malzahn, who agreed to a contract extension and raise to $1.3 million annually after turning down an offer from Vanderbilt several weeks, interviewed with Maryland 10 days ago, according to ESPN’s Bruce Feldman.

Auburn hasn’t publicly confirmed or denied that report. Tigers head coach Gene Chizik said vaguely that there are “possibilities of contact” between Malzahn and the school.

Asked specifically about the Terrapins, Malzahn didn’t give much insight, preferring to look forward to the Tigers’ matchup with Oregon in the BCS title game in Glendale, Ariz., on Jan. 10.

“Kind of like I’ve said all along regarding head coaching jobs, it’s got to be the right time, the right situation,” he said, not specifically mentioning the Maryland opening. “And right now my only focus is on helping us win the national championship and I’m not going to let anything distract or get in my way of helping us do that.”

Maryland, which announced it would buy out the final year of Ralph Friedgen’s contract Dec. 20, interviewed former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach for the job Thursday.

The meeting with the school’s president, athletics director and search committee went well, according to multiple reports, although the Baltimore Sun reported no offer has been made.

Maryland athletics director Kevin Anderson has said he’d like to make a hire by Jan. 4.

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