By Jeff Shearer
AUBURN, Ala. - Ten days away from the season opener, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn says the Tigers continued to practice with intensity after the start of fall classes.
“There’s not one time that I don’t think our kids really didn’t answer the bell, as far as being into it and wanting to get better and wanting to be coached,” Malzahn said after Wednesday’s practice. “I think that says a lot about our character of our team.
“Traditionally, that first day after the first day of school is a little bit different, but our guys responded well,” he said. “We had a good two-hour practice. It was hot. I thought they responded well today, too.”
Malzahn said he expects the players who have dealt with injuries during camp to be ready to play against Georgia Southern on Sept. 2.
“We’ve had two solid days of practice so far,” he said. “We’ve really tried to make this as close to game week as we could to try to get two full weeks of preparation in. I think our guys have done a very solid job in all three phases.”
Auburn’s newcomers continue to receive an audition to make an immediate impact, particularly on special teams.
“There are a handful of guys I think can help us in that area,” Malzahn said. “As a group, I would say the freshmen group has done a very good job. We’re really trying to focus on those guys who have a chance to give us depth on offense and defense.”
“I think it’s been a very good thing for him,” Malzahn said. “There’s nothing better than getting out there with the ones and seeing how people respond. I think he’s continued to get better.”
After Thursday’s practice, Auburn will have a dress rehearsal on Friday to coordinate sideline logistics and substitutions leading up to the Georgia Southern game.
The Tigers have a few more chances to impress their coaches in a bid for playing time.
“We’ll have a depth chart on Tuesday,” Malzahn said. “Everything will be finalized by then.”
Auburn’s first opponent, with its old-school triple option offense, present a unique challenge, Malzahn said.
“I think the good thing is we have a long period to prepare,” Malzahn said. “Some teams only have a week to prepare and it’s a little bit challenging. [Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele] has a good understanding of the triple option and has defended it before. I think experience does nothing but help.
“Does that mean they’re easy to stop? No. They’re good at what they do. You can see they’re a talented team. That definitely concerns you. We need to play well.”
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @jeff_shearer
Ticket InformationA limited number of single-game tickets ($35) and Family Pack Tickets ($25) remain for the ULM game on Nov. 18. To purchase visit AUBTIX.com.