April 24, 2013
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN — Gus Malzahn, the man who wins praise for his creative offense, didn't let his Xs and Os run wild this spring.
Auburn's new head coach worked on the attitude of his football team instead, and came away impressed with the body of work after the final day of spring practice Wednesday.
"The attitude, the team-togetherness, that was my big thing," Malzahn said. "The Xs and Os and the schemes will come with time, but the attitude, I really feel this team got closer. We talked about hard-nosed physical edge, and we put them through it, and they survived it, and I feel like they got better in that area. We still have work to do in all areas, but I really feel like we improved."
Malzahn said he and his coaches will be in "evaluation mode" the next several days before considering releasing a depth chart. No matter, "I like where we're at right now as far as our attitude. It will be just a matter of how hard we can work during the summer and hopefully they'll come back improved from today."
Malzahn said his players are still buoyed by the fact that a record 83,401 watched last Saturday's A-Day in Jordan Stadium.
"That meant the world to our players," Malzahn said. "They out to be very encouraged, very motivated. The teams that are successful and win, they find a way over the summer."
Auburn saved two practices for after A-Day. One was Tuesday. It was physical and was team oriented. Wednesday was in shorts and featured teaching I groups.
"We really focused on fundamentals, we focused on techniques, all the little things," Malzahn said. "We even went back to the first of spring because we wanted to make sure our guys fully understood the base offense, the defense, and the techniques so they can actually get better this summer when they work on their own instead of developing bad habits."
Malzahn said quarterbacks Kiehl Frazier and Jonathan Wallace will go into the summer still battling for a starting job.
"We'll evaluate them a little bit more thorough now that we're done," Malzahn said. "We'll have all the compiled stats and put everything together. We'll meet with them. We'll talk about the things they need to improve on in the summer. In the fall camp, we'll open the positions up.
"The quarterback position you want to name a guy sooner rather than later. I believe Chris Todd two weeks into fall camp. Cam (Newton) was a little bit quicker. It's all specialized as far as the situation. It'll be one of those things in fall camp the earlier the better."
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