April 30, 2014
Nick Marshall and Gus Malzahn will be together again in 2014 (Anthony Hall photo)
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- Nick Marshall promises to be the best returning starting quarterback Gus Malzahn has ever coached in college.
Of course, Marshall will be the first returning starting quarterback Malzahn has ever had in what will be his ninth year as a college coach.
What does that mean? In spring practice it meant Marshall was ahead of the game, Malzahn said during an SEC teleconference Wednesday. Malzahn said he was pleased with Marshall's "comfort level" with the offense that he took over last August.
"He was a lot more reactive this spring. You could tell he wouldn't really have to think hard about progression of everything. It was coming more natural. We're hoping it will be even better than that in the fall," Malzahn said.
A veteran Marshall allowed Auburn, Malzahn and offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee to concentrate on other elements of the offense.
"What it allowed us to do was really worry about other positions," Malzahn said. "I know Coach Lashlee still worked hard with Nick, but it allowed us to work with other positions as far as the whole offense is concerned."
Malzahn also touched on news of the day...
On the SEC's decision to keep the eight-game conference schedule featuring one cross-division rival. For Auburn, that's Georgia:
"I was for the eight games. Of course, we really enjoy our rivalry with Georgia. We've been playing for a long time.
"That's a rivalry that's very important to the Auburn people and very important to the Georgia people."
The SEC had concerned a nine-game conference format.
"I would have done whatever they decided and been fine with it, but personally I like eight games. I think our conference speaks for itself with our track record. We'll learn a lot about this new playoff system over the next few years."
On a rash of spring practice injuries:
"We were banged up toward the end, specifically on defense. We're really hoping that will be a blessing in disguise next fall having more quality depth, because last year we were very thin in some key areas."
On being the honorary pace car drive for Sunday's Sprint Car race at Talladega:
"I think I'll get there early and do a little practicing. I'm excited about it."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: