AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn head coach Gene Chizik hasn’t lost an assistant yet this offseason and doesn’t plan to.
Chizik said nobody from Louisiana Tech has contacted him about speaking with offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn concerning the Bulldogs’ vacant head coaching position.
Louisiana Tech is looking to replace Derek Dooley, who was hired Friday by Tennessee.
“My goal is to keep our coaching staff in tact,” Chizik said. “We’ve been able to do that and I fully anticipate being able to do that.”
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Malzahn’s name has been popular among Internet message boards for the Bulldogs’ job. The first-year Auburn offensive coordinator made a name for himself as a high school coach in Arkansas, not far from Louisiana Tech’s campus in Ruston, La.
“Obviously there’s going to be hearsay and there’s going to be rumors,” Chizik said. “I think everybody understands how the rumor mill works and how the different things that get out on the Internet sites.
“I think we’ve all been through that. I went through it. I just think there’s a lot of things out there, but I think people know they’re not necessarily fact. ... Those things are going to continue to happen. We can’t control those things, but really and truly we pay them very little attention.”
Linebackers Spencer Pybus and Adam Herring and offensive lineman Vance Smith will not play next season for various medical reasons.
Herring played in eight games last year, starting four times at outside linebacker despite suffering from a bothersome heel injury that required surgery prior to last season. He finished with 12 tackles.
Pybus, an all-freshman SEC pick in 2008, suffered multiple concussions last year that kept him off the field. Smith, who played sparingly in two games, had an undisclosed injury.
“Those are three great kids who absolutely love football and there’s nothing that tears them up more,” Chizik said. “But you got look at what your quality of life is going to be like 30 years from now. At the end of the day, that’s what you have to measure.”
Chizik also said defensive lineman Cam Henderson is no longer with the team or in school. Henderson did not play last season, per Chizik’s decision.
Savage eyes comeback
Defensive back Aairon Savage, who tore his Achilles’ heel last summer, has applied for a medical waiver to gain a sixth year of eligibility.
“We’re very hopeful we’re going to get the sixth year,” Chizik said. “Aaron is very much on board wanting to come back here to play at Auburn.”
Savage made the freshman All-SEC team in 2006, making 53 tackles. But he battled injuries in 2007 that limited him to seven games before missing the 2008 season after tearing a knee ligament in August.
Haiti in his thoughts
Auburn’s staff is trying to help defensive tackle Mike Blanc cope with the devastating earthquake that took place in Haiti earlier this week. Blanc’s father is of Haitian descent.
“We’re trying to do some things right now to help them get in contact with some people and families,” Chizik said. “Right now, there’s still just a lot of confusion there in terms of, you know, being able to contact people.
“It’s a very hard situation to deal with right now. My wife’s talked with these guys. We’re doing all we can to try to help.”
Chizik said the four players suspended for the bowl game — quarterback Tyrik Rollison (undisclosed), H-back Eric Smith (academics) and fullbacks John Douglas (DUI) and Jason King (DUI) — are still in school and members of the team. ... No Auburn juniors declared for the NFL draft. “Unless one snuck out at midnight,” Chizik quipped. “I’m fully anticipating all the juniors that we had hoped were going to return are all back.”