April 5, 2014
Auburn's Gus Malzahn says the Tigers are ahead of last year (USA Today photo)
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- Gus Malzahn didn't reveal what's lurking in his playbook in Saturday's scrimmage. Didn't have to. The Auburn coach says he knows so much more about his football team this spring over last year than he opted to use the scrimmage to take a look at his younger guys.
He knows about his experienced guys and says Auburn is ahead of the game.
"Last year this time we were coaching the first and second steps. And now we're able to coach the third and fourth steps. That's always a good thing," Malzahn said.
Malzahn says he's comfortable enough with his veterans that the young players were the ones who took center stage in the practice, the first in Jordan-Hare Stadium this spring.
"We haven't arrived, but we do know a lot about our guys. We've got two more weeks, and we've got to put the hammer down and make sure we get better," he said.
"We've been very physical this spring, but we had more information about our team. Now, we're starting to get our specific on building depth and making sure you've got guys who are prepared once you get to fall camp."
But how low key was Saturday?
"We didn't kick extra points so that should tell you something," Malzahn said.
It was still a big week for Auburn. Approximately 1,000 high school coaches were on campus for clinics, fellowship and the scrimmage.
"It was great to see such a great turnout," Malzahn said.
Auburn is slowly moving to its annual A-Day Game on April 19.
Malzahn called Saturday's work "half practice, half scrimmage."
"Really, it was an emphasis in building depth. It was good to get some information on some guys."
•Malzahn said he appreciated Lou Holtz speaking to his coaching clinic.
"He did a great job talking to our coaches, and he got a chance to talk to our team, and he did an outstanding job doing that."
•Malzahn said redshirt freshman Peyton Barber is improving.
"He's getting a whole lot of reps, which is good. He wants to be good. He's a tough guy."
•On quarterback Nick Marshall…
"The standards are very high for him. It should be. He's definitely improved. We've still got some areas to improve in. We've still got two weeks to do it."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: