The departure of OC Rhett Lashlee to UCONN surprised many people within the Auburn family.

Lashlee had been a long-time disciple under head coach Gus Malzahn. Malzahn relinquished play-calling responsibilities to Lashlee this season, and it appeared as if the two had a strong partnership on The Plains.

Well, looks can be deceiving.

Lashlee took a $250,000 pay cut when leaving for Connecticut. Leaving from an SEC program to take the same position within the AAC isn’t common. When looking into the specifics, there may be more to the story.

According to a report from, there’s an on-going power struggle between Malzahn and the powers that may be over the vacant OC search. Malzahn prefers to pursue Arizona State OC Chip Lindsey and North Carolina State OC Eliah Drinkwitz — two individuals with whom he has a prior relationship with.

Influential individuals within the program, on the other hand, are reportedly in favor of hiring someone without close ties to Malzahn.

This will be something to watch for in the next two weeks. National Signing Day is on Feb. 1. Recruits — both committed and uncommitted — will undoubtedly be wanting to know who’ll be calling the plays.

On the other side of the proverbial coin, Malzahn’s been under some scrutiny after a slow start to the 2016 season. This hire is certainly a significant one — particularly as it pertains to his future job security.