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A Day at ESPN: Gus Malzahn talks Auburn...and then some

July 21, 2014

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Auburn's Gus Malzahn on the SportsCenter set

By Charles Goldberg

BRISTOL, Conn. -- Somewhere among the 14 interviews -- sometime before the presentation of 40 pieces of bubblegum, or one radio interview after another, or a TV appearance or six, or talking on the shiny new SportsCenter set -- Gus Malzahn was asked about Halloween.  

Yep, scary Halloween.  

"What's your biggest fear?" inquiring minds wanted to know. 

"Losing," the Auburn coach said.

Malzahn's six-hour visit to the ESPN "Car Wash," where SEC coaches are put through the wringer, featured a 4:30ish a.m. flight up, an afternoon flight back, and talk of quarterback Nick Marshall, Auburn's run to the national title game last year and the prospects of returning this season.  

It started with talk of his favorite moments from last season (the fans after the Iron Bowl) to talk of Cam Newton ("I've said it before, he has the potential to be the best that ever played.") 

Fast friend and Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze called Malzahn a "trailblazer" for bringing fast-paced offenses to the SEC.

Malzahn was in his element breaking down plays for SEC Film Room, soon to be on the SEC Network channel near you.  

That's where he talked about Ricardo Louis' unlikely touchdown catch against Georgia last season.  

"I didn't see it." 

Not live, anyway. Not when the pass was supposed to go to Sammie Coates for a first down.  

"I'm watching Sammie Coates, and there he is right there, not seeing the ball go up," Malzahn said. "The ball went up and I put my head down. Then I heard offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee say Ricardo Louis caught it.  

"It was one of those player conversations. Ricardo Louis looks at Nick and says, 'Give me a chance. I want to make a play.' I didn't think it was going to be that. Nick did." 

And so it went, from there to there, from College Football Live to SportsCenter, from a Roundtable with fellow coaches Mark Richt and Les Miles, to an ESPNU podcast, to Numbers Never Lie (where he got the 40 pieces of bubblegum) to radio, to the ESPN webpage guys to the airplane back home.  

There was the talk of defensive lineman Carl Lawson, and his determined desire to return this season after knee surgery. And the ups and downs of football, like when Auburn won the national championship in 2010, then slipped in 2011.

"But this time is completely different," Malzahn said. "We have a lot more people coming back."

There surely must have been a timeline for the day... Wait, there was, thanks to Twitter: 

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:

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