AUBURN, Ala. — Florida will have a coaching vacancy at the end of the regular season. On Sunday, it was revealed Will Muschamp won't return as the Gators' coach in 2015.
In a news conference Monday, Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley expressed his desire for the next coach to be familiar with offense, a departure from the defensive-minded Muschamp.
“We would obviously like an individual that's been successful on the offensive side of the ball,” Foley told reporters. “That's what the Gator Nation wants and we see that. That's what we're certainly going to try to provide for them. “
That's why it's no surprise Gus Malzahn's named has already been bandied about. Auburn's coach is regarded as an offensive genius, with his team ranking among the top four in the Southeastern Conference in scoring (35.5 points per game; fourth), total offense (485.5 yards per game; second) and rushing offense (272.8 ypg; first). The Tigers have scored more than 30 points 19 times in Malzahn's 24 games as coach, and have only been held to single-digits once, with that coming last week in a 34-7 loss to Georgia.
When asked about the reports surrounding Florida, Malzahn brushed off the speculation.
"I've got one of the best jobs in college football here in Auburn," he said during his weekly press conference Tuesday, "and I'm totally committed to that."
This isn't the first time Malzahn's name has been in the rumor mill for a job at a powerhouse program. Last year, Malzahn was considered as a potential candidate at Texas, which eventually hired Charlie Strong. Malzahn's name was also connected to the Cleveland Browns' opening, which was filled by then-Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.
Malzahn instead re-upped with Auburn, agreeing to a six-year, $26.85 million contract the day before the SEC championship game.. The second-year coach made $3.85 million this season, with that number rising by $250,000 in each subsequent year, setting him up to make $5.1 million in 2019.