Dec. 28, 2013
Corey Grant and the rest of the Tigers prepped for the BCS title game on Saturday (Todd Van Emst photo)
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala.-- Gus Malzahn says he's been impressed with his players' focus since returning from Christmas break. Likes their excitement, too.
But the Auburn coach is also guarding against doing too much soon as the Tigers slowly wind their way to the BCS Championship Game against Florida State on Jan. 6. It's a familiar course for Malzahn, who was Auburn's offensive coordinator when the Tigers won the BCS title in 2010 when he waited a month between games, just like this year.
"There's a fine line," Malzahn said after Saturday's practice. "The fact that we've done this before kind of gives us a pretty good perspective, but it's all about trying to play your best once the game gets here and stay sharp. The positive thing for my standpoint is our players are really excited about practicing, they're buying in to everything the coaches are asking them to do as far as getting themselves in playing shape and the plan as far as that goes, so like I said I feel good about where we're at.
"We have to finish these last nine days of preparation, but like I said our guys are doing what we ask them."
So far, Malzahn said, preparation has been a lot like all the other work that has carried Auburn to a 12-1 record.
"They're going about their business; they're preparing and they're still working hard," Malzahn said.
Auburn practiced before Christmas and has worked the last three days since returning to practice. The Tigers will practice through Monday in Auburn before flying to California on Tuesday.
"We've got to finish before we head out west," Malzahn said. "We've got two more practices and we've got to get better; we've got to have a good foundation by the time we get out there."
Malzahn also said Saturday…
•There are no issues with his team. Everybody is eligible. Malzahn also said the injured players who are destined for a redshirt season will make the trip.
•Malzahn said quarterback Nick Marshall is benefitting from the extra practice time, especially in the last weeks without the pressure of a game week looming.
That brought Malzahn to volunteer that "Nick can flat out throw it, he just needs to get more comfortable doing it. I believe this off period has helped."
•Auburn will practice on the campus of California-Irvine. Practices are closed.
Video: Gus Malzahn takes a look at his Tigers after Saturday's practice...
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine