May 7, 2013
By Charles Goldberg
HUNTSVILLE -- Gus Malzahn played the big room -- the really big room -- Tuesday, and he knew just what to say.
"Rocket City, as fast I like to play football, it's a perfect fit."
Welcome to the first stop of Tiger Trek 2013.
Auburn's new head coach signed autographs, shook hands and talked about his Tigers at the Space and Rocket Center under a 363-foot Saturn V rocket stretching the length of the building. It was the first of eight stops for Malzahn on this year's tour of Auburn clubs. More than 500 faithful turned out to hear their head coach and for a little small talk.
Malzahn signed photos, football and hats; and seemed especially happy to sign one cap that told of Auburn's 2010 national championship, the championship that Malzahn helped win when he was the offensive coordinator.
"It's so nice to have you back," said more than one fan.
The fans had turned out already. A crowd of 83,000 were on hand for the A-Day Game last month.
"That shows our players and coaches and the rest of college football that you don't keep Auburn down," Malzahn said.
Malzahn talked football, ripping off details as fast as he runs plays. He said this is what he told his players.
"I was real honest with where we're at," Malzahn said. "I told them we've got work to do. I'm happy with their attitude and where we're going. But we've got a lot of work to do this summer."
"Ya'll ready for me to tell you who the starting quarterback will be?" Malzahn said. "I don't know yet."
Malzahn said he'd like to name a starter "as soon as possible, but every situation is different. Until we figure out who gives us the best chance of winning, and we're 100 percent as coaches on that, we'll make a call. Until then, it will be open.
On players returning for the fall:
"Our guys are all intact getting ready for summer school."
On his assistants and recruiting: "They're all on the same page. I think you saw what they did the last four weeks of recruiting (in February), and things are looking good right now. I'm excited."
"We did have some guys buy into what we're doing. It takes a lot of guys to lead a team, and we're getting there. We're not there yet. We'll stay on our guys."
On running backs:
"That was a position going into the spring I was a little worried about depth, but Cameron Artis-Payne had a great spring. Corey Grant came on. And we already knew what Tre (Mason) could do. He was a little banged up, but it may have been a blessing in disguise to get those other guys a lot of reps. We feel like we have some depth there with them, and the two guys coming."
The seven other Tiger Trek stops are:
For information on the Auburn Alumni Association or Auburn Clubs across the country, visit www.aualum.org/clubs. For networking and interaction with local clubs nationwide, visit http://www.aualum.org/clubs.
2013 Tiger Trek Schedule
Alabama Gulf Coast Regional
Thursday, May 9
Atlanta Auburn ClubTuesday, May 14
Daphne Civic Center // 2603 U.S. Highway 98, Daphne, Alabama
(serving the Mobile, Baldwin, Clarke-Washington, Escambia and Monroe Counties)
Click here for information // Register
STATS // 300 Marietta Street NW, Atlanta, Georgia
(serving the Greater Atlanta area)
North Alabama Regional
Thursday, May 30
McGulkin Civic Center // 510 5th St. SW, Cullman, Alabama
(serving Cullman County)
Click here for more information
Tuesday, June 4
The Lodge at Lakepoint State Park // 104 Lakepoint Dr. Eufaula, AL
(serving the Barbour County, Dale County, Wiregrass area)
Thursday, June 6
Marriott Shoals Conference Center
(serving the Shoals Area)
Wednesday, July 17
Cahaba Grand Conference Center // 3660 Grandview Pkwy. Birmingham, Alabama
(serving the Greater Birmingham area)
Tuesday, July 30
Montgomery Biscuits Stadium // 200 Coosa St. Montgomery, Alabama
(serving the Montgomery, Autauga County and Elmore County are)
Follow Auburn on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine