Gus Malzahn: Tigers 'are going to be circled' in 2014

The Anniston StarMay 14, 2014 

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn admitted his team won't be able to 'sneak up on anybody' this fall after their turnaround season in 2013.

JOE PAULL — jpaull@ledger-enquirer.com

SHOAL CREEK, Ala. — Auburn coach Gus Malzahn plays golf at the same speed he wants his football teams to play offense: fast.

Before teeing off at the 2014 Regions Tradition, Malzahn briefly spoke with reporters.

“I’m going to play fast,” Malzahn said Wednesday. “It doesn’t take me long to put that ball down. I don’t stand over it and concentrate like I should, but I enjoy playing fast.”

Playing fast helped earn the Tigers an SEC Championship and a spot in the BCS national championship game last season. It’s been described as one of the more miraculous turnarounds in college football.

But Malzahn doesn’t want the team to become complacent because of its success.

“Auburn’s a great place. I’m just blessed to be a part of it,” he said. “The future is very bright. I’m very proud of what our guys accomplished last year, but we have to flip the page. We have to move forward. I told our guys the other day that we’re not going to sneak up on anybody this year. We’re going to be circled. Our guys understand that and we have to be prepared.”

The play of Auburn left tackle Greg Robinson during that run propelled him to being selected No. 2 overall by the St. Louis Rams in the NFL draft last week.

“First of all, we’re extremely proud of Greg,” Malzahn said. “He had a dream of going to the next level and taking care of his family. To be there at that moment at the draft with him and his family was very special. It’ll do nothing but help us in the future. The fact that you can come to Auburn and you can be a first round pick, second pick overall, does nothing but help.”

With Robinson and others moving on, Malzahn said one of the team’s concerns is building quality depth. That was something the coaching staff monitored during spring practice and will continue to watch as the Tigers approach summer conditioning and fall practice.

“One of our goals this spring was just overall depth at every position,” Malzahn said. “I can’t sit here and say there’s one position that we really need to focus on. I think it’s just a combination of all parts. Anytime you think depth, you think special teams. I think the more depth we have, it’ll help us in that area also.”

One position that is secure for the Tigers is quarterback, as Nick Marshall returns for his senior year.

While he isn’t opposed to letting other players work with private coaches, Malzahn has stated that he doesn’t want Marshall working with a private quarterback coach while he has eligibility left. This spring, quarterback guru George Whitfield Jr. expressed interest in working with Marshall during the summer, but Malzahn shot it down. Malzahn remained firm in his stance when asked Wednesday.

“I’ve always worked with quarterbacks and we’re very specific on what we do within our offense,” Malzahn said. “Our offense is definitely unique in what we ask our quarterbacks to do. We’ve had a lot of success with our quarterbacks doing it the way we’re doing it. So that’s what we’ll do.”

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