Malzahn, Lashlee form dynamic duo on Auburn sideline - Alabamas13.com WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

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Malzahn, Lashlee form dynamic duo on Auburn sideline

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NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -

They may not be Batman and Robin, but they're definitely close.

Gus Malzahn and Rhett Lashlee have been working together for more than 15 years, beginning when Lashlee was a quarterback running Malzahn's system as an eighth grader.

Lashlee eventually led the Shiloh Christian Saints to multiple Arkansas state championships with Malzahn coaching. At BCS media day on Saturday, Malzahn admitted he never thought his high school quarterback would eventually be his offensive coordinator in a national championship game.

"I knew that he was like a coach on the field," Malzahn said. "He thought like a coach when he played, and the great quarterbacks usually do. I knew if he was going to go into the coaching profession, he'd be successful."

Success has followed Malzahn and Lashlee where they've gone together. A national championship at Auburn in 2010 while Malzahn was the offensive coordinator and Lashlee a graduate assistant; a Sun Belt championship while both were at Arkansas State; now, at least a berth in the national championship game at Auburn.

Then, of course, there are those state titles.

"Back then, going to Little Rock and the state championship game was a big deal," Lashlee said. "That's what you worked towards every year. Obviously, when you get to a place like Auburn, this is what you work towards every year. I was a player and he was a coach then, and now it's a little bit different dynamic, but we've been blessed to have some successful teams together."

Former Opelika running back Corey Grant said the relationship is like a father/son, but Lashlee wouldn't go that far.

"It's just, at this point, any relationship you've had for fifteen-plus years," he said. "There are a lot of unspokens. We understand each other, we know the expectations, we kind of know how each other think."

Lashlee has been instrumental in turning Nick Marshall into a premier quarterback, something his head coach realizes.

"He's very good with players, very good under pressure," Malzahn said. "He's smart, and he's got it."

Meanwhile, for the coaches, sometimes it's hard to tell the two apart.

"They're very much alike," said sophomore quarterback and former Central star Jonathan Wallace. "It's like two of the same people walking around."

The team also can't recall ever seeing the two disagree.

"I haven't seen that yet," said former Opelika Bulldog and junior running back Corey Grant. "If I have, they always find some way to merge together to agree on it together."

One thing is for sure. The coaches make an impact on and off the field.

"They're like father figures to me," Wallace said. "I really look up to them and everything they do. They've done a really great job here. Love them to death.

"Love them to death."

Jonathan Huskey

Jonathan comes to News 3 from Fort Smith/Fayetteville, Ark., where he anchored weekends and reported during the week on some of the best high school sports in the state. More>>

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