March 27, 2013
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN — You think Gus Malzahn, you think fast-pace offense.
Malzahn was up to his old Auburn tricks in the opening minutes of his first spring practice as the Tigers' head coach Wednesday. But for every hurried offensive snap, for every new unit that runs on the field to run the no-huddle plays, a defensive unit has to respond in kind.
Day One, the defense did.
"Really, it looked to be the defense was a little faster than the offense today," Malzahn said.
That's OK, in a way, because "pace will be a big factor for us, offensively and defensively." But Malzahn will be looking for the offense to catch up.
Receiver Trovon Reed agreed the defense had the edge.
"They did real well. The defensive guys actually line up faster than us today. We give those guys credit because we thought we had an edge on them. Today, they really had the edge on us," Reed said.
Kiehl Frazier and Jonathan Wallace were the principal quarterbacks, leading one group on the field, then another. It was fast -- but not fast enough for Malzahn.
"The big thing is we've just got to learn how to practice with the pace. The Xs and Os will come. We've just got to get our minds right and play fast," he said. "We've got some work to do, but I know these guys will respond. We'll come out the next practice and be faster."
Malzahn said he didn't spend much time watching the quarterbacks, opting to take in the entire practice to get a big-picture perspective.
Malzahn confirmed LaDarius Owens and Chris Landrum have moved to linebacker. Owens, who was recruited as a linebacker, had been a defensive lineman at Auburn. Malzahn said Owens requested the move.
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