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Gus Malzahn hires Chip Lindsey as offensive coordinator

Auburn will reportedly hire Arizona State offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey to the same post, Brett McMurphy reported Saturday morning.

Auburn has now announced the hire. “I’m excited to welcome Chip Lindsey to the Auburn family,” Gus Malzahn said in a statement. “I have the utmost confidence in his ability to lead our offense and his strength in developing quarterbacks makes him the perfect fit. Chip is a man of integrity and character who will fit well within our staff. He has great knowledge and enthusiasm for the game and is a rising star in this profession.” Lindsey was the in-house favorite to land the job all along, sources told FootballScoop, with the target of having him in the fold by this weekend to meet recruits ahead of National Signing Day, which arrives in a week and a half. But as the job sat open for close to two weeks, some on the Plains got, uh, nervous. Lindsey is a Malzahn disciple whose coaching path mirrors that of his mentor. A longtime Alabama high school coach, Lindsey broke into the college game as quarterbacks coach at Troy in 2010 before returning to the Alabama high school ranks in 2011-12. Lindsey consistently impressed Malzahn at Auburn camps during his course as the Tigers' offensive coordinator, and Malzahn brought him aboard as an analyst after returning to the Plains as head coach in 2013.

That season was enough to springboard Lindsey into the upper ranks of the college game. He spent 2014-15 as the offensive coordinator at Southern Miss, then 2016 in the same post at Arizona State. And now he's on his way back to Auburn.

Lindsey's offense broad jumped from 102nd nationally in yards per play in his first season in Hattiesburg all the way to sixth just a year later. He takes over an Auburn offense that concluded 2016 ranked 37th in yards per play, but constantly oscillated between "unstoppable" and "entirely stoppable." The Tigers ranked 87th in yards per play in September, placed sixth in October, then fell back to 76th in November. Auburn will have a new quarterback to work with in high-profile Baylor transfer Jarrett Stidham.

The hiring comes after Malzahn lost a tug-of-war with himself for play-calling duties over his own offense. He spent the 2016 season planning on getting his hands back in the dirt of down-to-down coaching, then gave up play-calling duties a month into the season.

“It hit me pretty hard after the first game (against Clemson),” Malzahn said at the time. “That's how we got to this point. It was very refreshing last week during practice, during preparations. I wasn't coaching angry out there Saturday and I think that was very big. It was very refreshing for me and that's what I'm going to do moving forward.”

Lindsey will replace Rhett Lashlee, who left earlier this month to run his own offense at Connecticut.

“My family and I are very excited to return to Auburn and our home state,” Lindsey said. “Both are very special places to us. I looking forward to reuniting with Coach Malzahn and his staff. They are great coaches and great people. I look forward to being part of something special and helping Auburn win championships.”

As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.