As you know, there's been some news about offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn and Vanderbilt out there. Here's what I could whip together after landing in Atlanta:
Talks heated up between Gus Malzahn and Vanderbilt about the school’s head coaching vacancy Sunday, although there are conflicting reports about whether or not Auburn’s offensive coordinator has accepted the job.
The Washington Post reported Sunday night that Malzahn verbally agreed to be the Commodores’ next head coach, saying he is expected to be introduced as early as Monday.
But Vanderbilt denied the report late Sunday night to The Tennessean, although director of communications Rod Williamson said he hoped the report would be accurate soon.
Other reports say the deal is not done. The Birmingham News, citing an unnamed source, said Malzahn is mulling Vanderbilt’s offer and would make a decision either late Sunday or early Monday.
Vanderbilt vice chancellor David Williams told the Associated Press that the school expects to announce its new coach within days. He declined to comment on if the Commodores had offered the job to anyone.
If Malzahn does not take the job, Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin is expected to be offered the job, according to ESPN.
Efforts to reach Malzahn on Sunday were unsuccessful. The coordinator was in New York on Saturday night as Tigers quarterback Cam Newton received the Heisman Trophy.
Auburn officials did not respond to phone calls Sunday.
Auburn Athletics director Jay Jacobs said Friday that the school will do whatever it can to keep Malzahn as coordinator.
“No doubt about it. That's what we're going to do,” he said. “That's certainly Gene (Chizik's) decision, but you get to a point where if you have an opportunity to be a head coach at a BCS college, it's a tough thing not to do sometimes. But we'll certainly do what we think is right, certainly for what Gus has done and means to this program.”
The 45-year-old Malzahn, who has been at Auburn two years, is a hot coaching commodity after guiding the Tigers to a record-setting offensive year in which they led the SEC in total offense, rushing yards and scoring.
Earlier this month, he won the Broyles Award, which is given annually to the nation’s top assistant coach.
Vanderbilt, which went 2-10 also season, showed immediate interest in Malzahn after deciding not to retain the services of Robbie Caldwell, who the school viewed as a stop-gap solution after longtime coach Bobby Johnson abruptly resigned last summer.
A report by The Tennessean late Thursday night said the school had put together an offer in the neighborhood of $3 million per year, which would put Malzahn in the top half of the SEC in terms of salary.
Malzahn received a 43 percent raise last winter to bring his annual salary up to $500,000.
If Malzahn takes the job, it is unclear whether he would stay with Auburn through the BCS title game against Oregon in Glendale, Ariz., on Jan. 10.