Rhett Lashlee Likely To Have Better Job in 2015, According to USA Today


Jan 2, 2014; Newport Beach, CA, USA; Auburn Tigers offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee at the 2014 BCS National Championship press conference at Newport Beach Marriott. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Today, Dan Wolken of the USA Today ranked “ten college coaches poised to emerge as hot hires” and therefore, could have “better jobs” in 2015. It should surprise no one that Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee made the list (especially since he made a similar list here on the Fansided network).

There is no hotter name in college coaching than Gus Malzahn when it comes to offense – and Chip Kelly of the Philadelphia Eagles may be the only coach in all of football to match him. Therefore, it makes sense that Malzahn’s right hand man, his 31-year old former high school quarterback, could become a hot commodity once the axes begin to fall across the country in 2014.

Make no mistake, Malzahn is the offensive mastermind of the Auburn Tigers high-octane offense. He literally wrote the book on the “Hurry-Up No Huddle” and is still the primary play-caller for the Tigers. However, Lashlee has some traits that would make him a great head coach someday soon.

According to Wolken:

"4. Rhett Lashlee, Auburn offensive coordinator: The Tigers’ 31-year old coordinator has pretty much been side-by-side with Gus Malzahn since playing quarterback for him at Shiloh Christian in Springdale, Ark. But unlike Malzahn, whose socially awkward genius vibe can be off-putting, Lashlee is more at ease in the spotlight and will excel off the field. Nobody knew much about Lashlee until Auburn started winning last season, and even then, Malzahn got most of the credit. But Lashlee’s hand in the offense shouldn’t be underestimated, and if Auburn has another good year he’ll be highly sought-after — even at his age."

It’s true that Lashlee appears very comfortable fielding questions. It first hit me as the Tigers were wrapping up fall camp more than a week ago and the offensive coordinator spent about 20 minutes with the media. You can see in the video of that discussion that Lashlee never misses a beat, answers questions honestly and with personality, and yet remains true to the script of never revealing too much. And while members of the media would rather a coach be loose-lipped, it is better for the football program as a whole when the head coach keeps his true feelings close to his vest.

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With ties to the southeast, Rhett Lashlee would be a smart candidate for teams in the Sun Belt, Conference USA, or American Athletic Conference that may be looking for a new leader for the 2015 season and beyond. And, with head coaches like Kliff Kingsbury taking the reins of major college football programs at an early age, it would not be a shock to see Lashlee get his chance at a bigger program in the Big 12 (Kansas? West Virginia?) or ACC (Virginia?).

However, becoming a head coach isn’t the only “better job” Lashlee could be offered after the season. As I mentioned, he has been operating under Malzahn’s shadow as a play-caller, and might be interested if another big time program offers a boat load of money to come call plays for them.

For example. if Will Muschamp leads Florida to another lackluster season in Gainesville and the Gators fire him and bring in a veteran head coach, they could also offer Lashlee a chance to be the brains of the operation on offense and pay him Chad Morris-type money to do it. The same could happen at (gasp) Alabama if the Lane Kiffin experiment doesn’t work out of if Kiffin leaves to become a head coach again.

Either way, as Wolken sees it, and it’s hard to disagree, Lashlee will have options.