The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

January 11, 2014

Malzahn finds motivation in search for redemption

(Continued)

"We've got one of the best staffs in college football and we'll do everything in our power to keep them together," Malzahn said.

He's also optimistic about the strides Marshall can make with considerably more time in the system. The junior college transfer directed the nation's top running offense and passed for 217 yards and two touchdowns against the Seminoles. Malzahn has never had a starting quarterback return as a college coach.

"We're very excited about the spring with Nick," Malzahn said. "We got a lot of information throughout the season, and we'll really go back and build around his strengths even more. What he did in one year, not going through spring and not winning the job until two weeks before the season, was phenomenal. I don't know if there's ever been a situation similar to that.

"I really think that his upside is very high. He's a natural leader."

Malzahn said that former starting quarterback Kiehl Frazier, who worked in the secondary and at receiver this season, is transferring for his final season to play quarterback elsewhere.

"He just felt like at this time he felt like he wanted to go somewhere and play quarterback," Malzahn said of the former USA Today national offensive player of the year. "We wish him the best. He's a winner and he'll do well."

Former tight end signee Ricky Parks is returning to the team as a walk on, Malzahn said. Parks was dismissed from the team in August 2013 for an undisclosed violation of team rules.

"He's walking on and we're going to give him an opportunity to prove himself," Malzahn said.

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