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Tip of the visor: Innovative Gus Malzahn, Steve Spurrier
Oct. 21, 2014

South Carolina's Steve Spurrier and Gus Malzahn square off for the first time as head coaches Saturday

By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala.  Auburn's Gus Malzahn talked of Steve Spurrier's influence in every way Tuesday, from Spurrier's days of coaching the Fun 'n Gun at Florida to his success at South Carolina today to his…headwear?

"I used to wear just a regular hat, a boring hat. I started wearing a visor. I thought it was pretty cool," said Malzahn on his way to Saturday's 6:30 p.m. game against South Carolina and the visor-wearing Spurrier.

Both Malzahn and Spurrier have trotted out some of the most explosive offenses in SEC history, and they'll get to match wits for the first time as head coaches in Jordan-Hare Stadium. Malzahn said he's tried to follow some of Spurrier's way of doing things.

"I've always looked up to Coach Spurrier. I've had nothing but respect the way he operates. He has a great offensive mind. I got to know him off the field. He's a super guy. He's one of the best," Malzahn said. 

Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson has coached for both: Malzahn the last two years, Spurrier from 2008-11 at South Carolina.

"From a management style they were very different in their structure, but the one thing they have in common is both of them -- I don’t know if the right word is 'invented' -- but they invented their offense," Johnson said. "Both of them took an offense that they saw as a vision and they both have such command for it because they know exactly what they want to do when you do something on defense. 

"When I used to coach against Coach Spurrier you couldn’t make halftime adjustments or bench adjustments. You better get it adjusted the next play, because if you did something or took something away it wasn’t going to take him another series or halftime adjustment to get you. He knows his offense. He knows when to pull the trigger and if you take something away he knows how you did it and he knows what he’s doing to do to hurt that. That’s the two things both of them do. They have a complete command of their offensive systems because they invented them."

Malzahn said he couldn't help but notice Spurrier when he was running the Fun 'n Gun at Florida.

"I think everybody was intrigued back then," Malzahn said. "He had a different way of doing things and communicating. Anytime anybody is successful and you look up to someone, you try to take things that could help you.

"He's got the air about him. When you look up to somebody, you have that respect. It's really more of a respect deal. He's a great person, a guy from time to time I'll bounce things off of him."

Malzahn said he doesn't "get into the Xs and Os. It's more the wisdom part. He's done it. He's had an unbelievable experience, especially in our league. Anytime you can take something that can help you, it's a big thing."

And then there's golf. Spurrier is famously good. Malzahn can play, too.

"He's better than I am," Malzahn said. "I don't like that, but he is."

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



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