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Auburn spring will build 'defense from the ground up'
March 3, 2015

Auburn's Gus Malzahn looking to spring practice

By Charles Goldberg

AUBURN, Ala. -- Auburn's Gus Malzahn has a built-in pause to spring practice this season, a change of pace to last year's sprint to the A-Day Game.

The Tigers will practice five times over two weeks, and then take time off for spring break, a time that will allow new defensive coordinator Will Muschamp a chance to assess his players and the speed in which he will implement his defense the rest of the spring.

Auburn begins spring practice next Tuesday and will practice again Wednesday and Saturday. Then it will practice the following week and then take a week off for spring break with the rest of the school. The Tigers will then resume practice, working toward this year's A-Day Game on April 18.

"We decided to split it up a little bit: Go five practices, have our spring break and then come back and have 10," Malzahn said.

He said he doing it because it gives the Tigers "a little bit more time to put our defense in and to teach everything."

Auburn needs a new starting quarterback, and new starting running backs. But it also will feature a new defense with Muschamp.

"He's going to install his defense from the ground up, and spring is going to be that foundation where he's laying the foundation, so it's very important," Malzahn said during Pro Day activities Tuesday.

Malzahn said Muschamp will have the freedom to play his defenders as he chooses.

"He'll decide all that. He's been there, done this before, and like I've said numerous times before, I believe he's the best in the business at doing it, so we're looking forward to spring, and him implementing his defense," Malzahn said.

He also said he may announce changes to his roster next Tuesday.

Malzahn acknowledged Jeremy Johnson, the backup to Nick Marshall, will have the first shot at starting quarterback in spring drills.

"The first day, he'll take the first reps, but every position is going to be open," he said. "That's the great thing about spring. We're going to put the ball down, let guys compete. You know, we've got a bunch of young, inexperienced guys that we think are going to be very good football players, but in the spring, that's when you evaluate everything and give everybody a chance to compete for positions."

Malzahn said defensive end, and top pass rusher, Carl Lawson will participate in spring practice after missing last season recovering from a knee injury.

"The doctors have cleared him, ready to go, but Coach Muschamp will have a good plan of exactly how much he'll do," Malzahn said.

Offensive lineman Alex Kozan missed last year with an injury as well.

"He'll participate some in spring, I don't know exactly how much at this point, but he will be a part somewhat," Malzahn said.

Tweet from the Auburn weight room Tuesday...

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:



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