Preseason polls say things are look up for Gus Malzahn and Auburn
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- Two big-name preseason polls like Auburn as a Top 5 football team this fall. Coach Gus Malzahn says that's OK with him, but check back in the fall when it really matters.
"We want to win championships every year. That's the expectations," he said on a Southeastern Conference teleconference Tuesday. "From a coach's standpoint, you don't get too caught up in preseason polls. Everything defines itself the second half of the season. That's when we tell our players: 'You'll earn it in the second half of the season.' Everything kind of falls in place to what you earn."
The Sporting News preseason poll pegged Auburn at No. 3 last week. ESPN said No. 4 before that. Both polls indicate a bounce back from last season's 8-5 season, and both likely speak to the expectations the defense will be better with Will Muschamp calling the shots and the offense will keep rolling along with Jeremy Johnson taking over as the starting quarterback.
Malzahn is good with expectations.
"We want to be a team that thinks about winning championships every year," he said.
The teleconference served as recap of spring practice and where Malzahn says Auburn stands:
"Overall, I think spring was very successful. Our guys really responded well to Coach Muschamp and our new defensive staff. Offensively, we had some young guys who really stepped up. We felt good overall."
On Jeremy Johnson: "Jeremy had an outstanding spring. Of course, we knew a lot about him already.
He got a lot of quality experience in games, but, more importantly, he got a lot of reps with our ones the last two years. This spring he really stepped up. He's taking charge that this is his team, not just the offense, but our defensive players have responded to him."
On Will Muschamp: "It helps me to have a guy who has been a head coach in our league. He brings a lot of experience, and lot of trust. We've worked hard on our coaches and players developing trust over the spring. His expectations are extremely high.
"Our defensive guys really responded, and they've taken on his personality."
On receiver Jaylon Denson, who graduated last Saturday, and is out after his second knee surgery. "He won't be ready" for the fall," Malzahn said. When asked if Denson would play again, Malzahn said "it doesn't look like it at this point."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine