A year ago, Gus Malzahn (pictured) and Mitch Mustain were preparing for a state championship game in Arkansas, this year they are preparing for a different type of championship game: the SEC Championship Game. During the summer, Houston Nutt made the shocking move to hire Malzahn as offensive coordinator despite him being only a successful high school coach at Springdale in Arkansas. At the time if it was unclear weather Malzahn was hired in order to make sure that Mustain, the number one ranked quarterback in the country in the class of '06, was coming to be a razorback or because he was a great offensive mind. Besides Mustain, two other players from the Springdale team that spent much of last year in the top 5 in the nation joined Nutt's calling.
Over the course of this season, Malzahn has showed the world that he is an offensive mastermind. With a team that is loaded with red shirt freshman and sophomores, he has made their offense into the one of the most exciting in the SEC. The hiring of high school coaches as college assistants is nothing new, but they are never hired as offensive and defensive coordinators. Malzahn along with other members of the Razorbacks staff have created an offense that is fun to watch and thought outside the box when it comes to using its best player Darren McFadden. The group has created the "Wildcat" formation, which allows McFadden to operate as quarterback and throw the ball when it is there.
Will the hiring of Malzahn and his success spur other coaches around the country to hire high school coaches as top-level assistants. Here are a couple of high school coaches that could find there ways to college sidelines next season:
- Todd Dodge, Southlake Carroll High School, Texas: The former University of Texas quarterback is an offensive genius, he could find is way to a sideline of a Texas based school.
- Tommy Knotts, Independence High School, Charlotte: Few teams in the country have dominated area schools like they have. Over the last couple of years, they have produced University of Florida starting quarterback Chris Leak as well as other Division I-A players. Knotts would be a good fit for Butch Davis new staff at North Carolina.
- Rush Propst, Hoover High School, Hoover, Alabama: Besides having his own MTV series, he has been a passing guru for the last couple of years. College coaches from all over the country have visited his program in order to learn his passing game. Who ever takes the Alabama join should hire him.