Dec. 23, 2013
Gus Malzahn adds to his trophy collection with the AP Coach of the Year honor (Todd Van Emst photo)
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- Gus Malzahn simply wanted his team to improve every practice, and while that may not have generated earth-shattering headlines during the week, it brought a lot of excitement on Saturdays.
Auburn, the suprise team in college football this season, finds itself playing Florida State for the BCS national championship on Jan. 6, and Malzahn finds himself collecting more trophies on the way to Pasadena.
Malzahn was named the Associated Press' national coach of the year Monday. Why not? The Tigers, 3-9 last year without Malzahn, won the SEC championship and head to the BCS title game with a 12-1 record. The AP trophy will fit nicely with Malzahn's Home Depot and Eddie Robinson national coach of the year honors and his SEC coach of the year trophies he's won since Auburn won the conference title on Dec. 7.
Consistency has been the name of Auburn's game.
"I can probably count on one hand the number of practices that coaches were actually not happy with our guys. That's hard to do. It's hard to be consistent," Malzahn said, reflecting on the season.
Next stop for Malzahn is the title game pitting his No. 2 Tigers against No. 1 and 13-0 Florida State.
Auburn is enjoying some time off for Christmas. The Tigers will report back as a team on Thursday, return to the practice field Friday and fly to California on Dec. 31 and resume practice Jan. 1.
"The last week we had a real good practice. We got our young guys work and at the same time kept our old guys fresh in what we do well," Malzahn said.
"We'll come back after the break and have two or three good practices before we go to the bowl site, and then you'll start getting into a routine."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow im on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine