May 12, 2013
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN — Coach Gus Malzahn is spreading the word of Auburn football during his Tiger Trek tour of the Southeast, and one of the highest compliments he's handed out is calling a player an "Auburn guy."
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Running back Cameron Artis-Payne and offensive lineman Patrick Miller are among who have won such praise, indicating Malzahn likes their toughness.
That all goes to Malzahn's theme of a spring, and soon to be summer, devoted to "getting our edge back."
"What I mean by 'edge' is that mental and physical toughness," Malzahn says. "We really tried to break them down and build them back up in the spring. When we're in that stadium this year, we're all going to be together, we're all going to be on the same page and other teams are going to know it."
Malzahn has made two of his scheduled eight Tiger Trek appearances Next stop: Atlanta on Tuesday night.
Other Malzahn observations since the end of spring practice:
•He said he saw only one missed open-field tackle in the spring, and he credited defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson for bringing a more disciplined approach.
"Coach Johnson is one of the best in the business," he said.
•No player received more praise in the spring than hybrid safety Justin Garrett. Who else did well on defense?
"Jermaine Whitehead probably had the second best spring," Malzahn said.
•Malzahn said the incoming freshman class will have a chance to win playing time.
"We had a great recruiting class," he said.
As far as the 2014 signing class goes, receivers coach Dameyune Craig has moved to No. 3 nationally in the 247 Sports' recruiter rankings.
We posted a story about Craig, and his thoughts on recruiting, earlier this week.