Nov. 6, 2013
Gus Malzahn has Auburn on even keel after nine games (Todd Van Emst photo)
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn has made a steady climb in the polls in the last month, but coach Gus Malzahn says the Tigers have not gotten complacent over that success.
"That is a challenge sometimes, but this year has been quite a bit different," Malzahn said after Wednesday practice. "Our guys have been extremely locked in this week. That's been very encouraging to me. There's been good intensity. There's been good leadership. That's usually a good sign."
No. 7 Auburn has been a turnaround story this season, now 8-1 overall and 4-1 in the SEC; and will take those happy thoughts to Knoxville for an 11 a.m. game Saturday against Tennessee.
The Volunteers, 4-5 overall and 1-4 in the league, have designated this their homecoming game.
Malzahn said practice has gone well this week.
"I think our guys are attentive. They know we're playing a good opponent," Malzahn said.
The practice featured quarterback Nick Marshall's continued return from a sore shoulder that slowed him leading into last Saturday's win at Arkansas. Marshall barely threw before last Saturday. But this week, "he's been doing everything," Malzahn said.
That means Marshall and Jeremy Johnson share meaningful snaps in practice.
"It's pretty much like it was before, so we're getting back in a routine," Malzahn said.
"Last week, he had very few reps. This is Week 10 so we should have our base stuff down, it’s just a matter of getting reps in practice and trying to get better."
Avery Young, who started the last four games at left tackle, finally was listed as the starter on this week's depth chart. He's ahead of Patrick Miller.
"There’s still really good competition upfront. Avery has done very well, but at the same time, Pat is a good football player in his own right," Malzahn said.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: