HOOVER, Ala. — Gus Malzahn usually places his entire offensive staff on the sideline on game days.
That approach appears likely to change this upcoming season as the Auburn coach continues to focus more on X’s and O’s than the CEO role many head coaches assume.
Offensive line coach Herb Hand appears to be the likely candidate — rather than a graduate assistant — to sit in the press box and help Malzahn dissect defenses this fall. The move is not necessarily unexpected. The duo handled the offense in the same fashion during their time together at Tulsa in 2007 and 2008, when the Hurricane led the entire nation in offense with Hand and Malzahn as co-coordinators.
“Herb is a guy that was upstairs and I was downstairs at Tulsa, and you could see that,” Malzahn said at SEC Media Days. “That is a possibility and that’s kinda what I’m talking about. I’m not ready to say that yet until we get through fall camp.”
Offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee usually watches the secondary while Malzahn examines the defensive front and linebackers when the Tigers are on offense. Meanwhile, Malzahn is also running the entire team as the head coach. Hand’s inclusion in the press box could help the Tigers on the field — and get the Tigers’ uptempo offense running at high speed after hitting a speed bump in 2015.
All Auburn offensive coaches were on the sideline last season. Hand coached along the sideline in Auburn’s A-Day spring game in April.
“We’re still working through that and I think at the end of fall camp we’ll have everything really defined,” Malzahn said. “We’re close but we’ve got a couple things we’re going to work through and we’ll have a good plan.”