Nick Saban on Auburn firing Gus Malzahn: ‘Sometimes you wonder why people do what they do’




Nick Saban on Auburn firing Gus Malzahn: ‘Sometimes you wonder why people do what they do’

Hours after Auburn fired coach Gus Malzahn after eight seasons, Alabama coach Nick Saban called Malzahn an “outstanding coach” and wondered why the move was made.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Gus,” Saban said. “He was difficult to play against when he was the offensive coordinator. He’s always been difficult to play against as a head coach. Their teams always played hard. Their team is always well-coached on both sides of the ball and special teams. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Gus.

“Sometimes you wonder why people do what they do. But I don’t know what the reasons are. I certainly think he’s an outstanding coach and has been a tough adversary for us to have to play against in the Iron Bowl every year. I have a lot of respect for Gus and the job he’s done.”

RELATED: Auburn sends powerful message in firing Gus Malzahn

Malzahn’s teams beat Alabama three times in the Iron Bowl -- in 2013, 2017 and 2019. Saban said Sunday that Malzahn’s offense had an influence on the Tide adapting from a power run-based offensive style.

“I don’t think there’s any question about it,” Saban said. “Gus’ style of play -- he’s not the only one. The whole sort of Baylor influence. Hugh Freeze. Those guys have all sort of come I think from the same roots in terms of some of the innovations they’ve made and tempo offenses, RPOs, really changing the game.

“I think Gus has been one of the -- at the forefront of all that. I guess playing against those guys, you almost at least get to the point where you say, ‘If you can’t beat ‘em, you might as well join ‘em.’ I guess that’s why we changed some of the things that we do around here.”

RELATED: Top Auburn candidates to replace Gus Malzahn

Mike Rodak is an Alabama beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @mikerodak.

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