Jan. 3, 2014
Auburn players were treated to the Lawry Beef Bowl on Friday night, where a big meal was provided and a big sign reminded everybody why they're here
By Charles Goldberg
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- In a world in which his offense leads the nation in rushing, and in a season in which he praised defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson as one of the best, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn remembered what got the Tigers to the BCS Championship Game.
"This is a player’s game," he said. "I’m very happy with our coaches too. They’ve worked extremely hard to develop relationships and trust with our players, and they’ve done it together. That’s been the fun thing."
Auburn plays Florida State for the BCS title Monday night in Pasadena. The Tigers have been in California since Tuesday, practicing here since Wednesday.
"Practice has been very good," Malzahn said Friday night before eating their way through Lawry's Beef Bowl, an outing for the players. "Our guys have been focused. We're starting to get into a routine. The closer the game is the more focused our guys have been.
"I think our guys have been bright-eyed and I think they have wanted to practice and wanted to get better. I like where we're at right now."
Malzahn also touched on other topics…
•He said Johnson "has been one of the better defensive minds in all of college football for a long time and we were real blessed to have him. He's done a great job with our players and our defense."
•On returning to the BCS title game as a head coach after winning it in 2010 as Auburn's offensive coordinator.
"You’re in charge of the whole program and everything that goes with it. The unique thing is it was just two or three years ago I went through this experience, and it’s really helped prepare me."
Making this far in his first year as Auburn's head coach makes it sweeter, he said.
"Auburn’s a great place and I’m blessed to be a part of it. Auburn is a championship-type program. We’re here and we’re looking forward to it."
•And on job openings across the country…
"I’m happy at Auburn and I think I’ve made that clear."
•On playing Florida State's top-notch receivers.
"They’re one of the best in the country. The good thing is we’ve faced some other good receivers and we’re hoping that helps out."
There's more Gus Malzahn in this video...
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: