The SEC football world was somewhat stunned Wednesday night when it was announced that Auburn OC Rhett Lashlee was leaving for UConn for the same position.

Of course, everyone is wondering why he would leave Auburn for a school like UConn. It’s probably much simpler than what everyone believes. Perhaps he wants to take everything he’s learned from Gus Malzahn, get out from underneath his shadow a bit and get a clearer path to becoming a head coach once he’s more proven as a coordinator.

What Gus Malzahn said about Lashlee leaving Auburn for UConn

Lashlee explained his decision to leave for UConn on Auburn’s official website,

“It’s probably one of the hardest decisions I’ve made, definitely in my professional career,” Lashlee said. “Auburn’s very dear to us. I’ve spent a total of six years here, two different times. All four of our kids were born here. We just love everything about Auburn. The Auburn family is always going to be very dear to us and a part of us.

“The opportunity to work for Randy Edsall, who has had success at a high level and success at UConn, and just have the opportunity to run the offense, and that’s something he’s given me to do. I’m grateful for that.

“I’m obviously very close with Coach Malzahn. Our relationship will always be good. He’s been very supportive. I’m very appreciative to him for the opportunity he gave me at Auburn.”

The “opportunity to run the offense” is the biggest key in Lashlee’s statement. Lashlee and Malzahn are tight, and ultimately, he wants to become a head coach. Lashlee (probably) thinks this is the best path to ultimately achieve that dream.

Another aspect that comes to mind is Malzahn is all Lashlee knows as a coach. To add to his resume, perhaps Lashlee wants to broaden his experience under a new head coach, which will further add to his development as a coach.

The Tigers’ offense has an opportunity to very good in 2017, even without Lashlee calling the plays, and whoever Gus Malzahn entrusts to run his offense, one has to think he will be a very good coach.