Malzahn focused solely on SEC title game

Psst South Carolina, Malzahn has a secret for you, WATCH OUT!

It’s open season on Gus Malzahn head coaching rumors.

The Auburn offensive coordinator’s name has already cropped up in connection to openings at Vanderbilt and Colorado, and he’s sure to be linked to more head jobs as they come open.

But Malzahn doesn’t want to hear any of it.

“The only thing I’m focused on is this game and trying to do the best job I can to help our team,” Malzahn said. “I don’t pay much attention to it. I guess it would be a little flattering that your name is out there, but I don’t get caught up in that.”

Malzahn said earlier this season that he is happy at Auburn and is not in quite the hurry to be a head coach as many might think he is.

He took a similar, humble approach to being named one of the five finalists for the Frank Broyles Award, given annually to the nation’s top assistant coach.

“Any time you’re up for an award like that, you think about the Curtis Lupers, the Trooper Taylors, the Jeff Grimes, the Jay Boulwares,” he said. “It’s a team deal here. It’s a team award. I’m flattered to be considered.”

Malzahn said he knows Broyles from watching him as Arkansas’ head coach and athletic director growing up, and Malzahn was offensive coordinator for the Razorbacks toward the end of Broyles’ run as AD.

“He’s one of the legends,” Malzahn said.

Fairley careful
Tigers junior defensive tackle Nick Fairley said coach Gene Chizik and Auburn’s staff spoke to him before the Alabama game to alert him that the referees would probably be watching him more closely after the controversy surrounding his performance against Georgia two weeks prior.

“Yeah, they warned me. They said tone it down a little bit, tone it down here,” Fairley said. “It’s all right. I’ve just got to calm down a little more.”

On his first sack, Fairley was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after a celebration, a play that turned a third-down stop into an eventual Alabama score.

“Yeah, it shocked me,” Fairley said. “Like I said, it’s my fault. It’s never the referee’s fault. I probably overreacted just a little bit. So, understandable. You can’t fault him for that.”

Auburn feeling fine?
It’s been three weeks — Nov. 9 — since junior quarterback Cam Newton last spoke with the media.

If Auburn keeps up that policy after the SEC Championship Game, it may cost the university.

SEC rules mandate “all coaches and student athletes from each team” must be available for interview after the game, each team’s locker room must be open for a half-hour, and “players must be available to the media for at least 30 minutes” after a customary 10-minute cooling off period.

“Failure to comply with these rules and regulations may subject the coach and/or the institution to a fine by the Commissioner,” the rules state.

An SEC spokesman said both South Carolina and Auburn have been notified of these rules, and the policies have yet to be violated in the title game’s history.

Championship game viewing
Auburn fans who can’t make it to the Georgia Dome on Saturday can still watch it on the big screen at the Auburn Arena.

The CBS broadcast — scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday — will be shown in its entirety on the arena’s high-definition videoboards following the women’s basketball game against Temple, which will tip off at 1 p.m. Saturday.

dmorrison@oanow.com | 737-2568

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