SEC

Is Malzahn-Bielema a budding SEC feud?

Updated: 2013-10-30T18:42:13Z

At the Southeastern Conference football media days in July, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn got into a spat with Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, who had suggested rules to slow the pace of games.

Malzahn, who as the head coach at Springdale High School in Arkansas wrote a book called “The Hurry-Up, No-Huddle: An Offensive Philosophy,” wasn’t amused.

“When I first heard that … I thought he was joking,” Malzahn said.

On Saturday, Malzahn visits Arkansas, returning to the area where he coached not only high school but served as the Razorbacks’ offensive coordinator in 2006.

And there’s another disagreement between the coaches.

Earlier in the week, Bielema accused Auburn of not providing complete game tape, saying on one play, the TV copy sent by Auburn doesn’t include an angle wide enough to see an entire “swinging gate” formation of a two-point conversion play.

Bielema brought up the issue at his Monday news conference, then tried to douse it.

“I’m sure it’s a glitch,” he said. “I know Gus stands for everything that’s right and (has) great faith in doing things right.”

Malzahn said the SEC is aware of the matter.

He returns to Arkansas with one of the nation’s surprise teams.

The Tigers, 11th in the BCS standings, are 7-1 overall and are the only team in the SEC West that’s within one game of Alabama in the standing. Auburn lost at LSU but won at Texas A&M, moving into second place.

Auburn has been improving every week and has the league’s top rushing offense at 315 yards per game.

Quarterback Nick Marshall, who led Garden City Community College to a 7-4 record last season, is the second leading rusher among SEC quarterbacks at 461 yards.

But it was on one of those runs last week against Florida Atlantic that Marshall injured his shoulder, opting for contact against a defensive player instead of going out of bounds.

“He practiced (Tuesday), but he’s day-to-day, and it might be a game-time decision,” Malzahn said. “He’s a tough competitor.”

To reach Blair Kerkhoff, call 816-234-4730 or send email to bkerkhoff@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/BlairKerkhoff.

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