May 28, 2013
By Charles Goldberg
DESTIN, Fla. — Auburn's Gus Malzahn is taking in his first SEC spring meetings this week, discussing such things as the possible move to a nine-game conference schedule, but even in this beach location his offense isn't far from his mind.
He said Tuesday he'll be looking for his team leaders to set up a summer workout schedule. In the short term, the players are working with strength and conditioning coach Ryan Russell.
And then? "They'll start working out on their own, the throwing and catching and their skill-specific stuff."
It could make an impact. Malzahn said his post-spring depth is "very flexible."
"The main goal in the spring was getting the guys in the right positions," he said.
"We've got some young guys coming in and some junior college guys coming in that will have a shot."
One arriving in June is junior college quarterback Nick Marshall, the one-time Georgia defensive back.
"Good ball skills and very athletic," said Georgia coach Mark Richt in a quick scouting report Tuesday.
Richt said he liked Marshall at cornerback, but "he certainly has tremendous quarterback skills. I wish him the best."
What's that mean to Auburn's quarterback race? Nothing in May. Malzahn says he'll take a wait-and-see attitude about his quarterbacks.
"We're going to open that thing up," he said.
Malzahn was talking his offense. And Alabama coach Nick Saban was talking Malzahn's offense, too, in this story on Auburn's football Facebook page.
Malzahn attended a meeting with his fellow SEC coaches Tuesday. He's one of four head coaches in his first year in the league.
"There are a couple of topics that will draw some interest, but I'm going to sit back and really take it in," Malzahn said.
One of the hot topics is whether the SEC will move to a nine-game conference schedule. Malzahn said he favors the current eight-game schedule.
"But our commissioner will ultimately decide that," he said.
It'd be a split vote, if the coaches voted. Alabama's Nick Saban is a strong advocate of it, though he conceded Tuesday he's in the minority. Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze, for example, sides with Malzahn, saying adding another conference game guarantees more losses.
"When you add a ninth game, that's seven more losses for our conference," he said.
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