"I really felt like we needed to get mentally tougher and we've worked hard with this 6 a.m. workouts and really strained these guys," Malzahn notes. "We feel like we have a good foundation going into spring practice."
With position battles across the board on both sides of the ball, the first-year Auburn coach says he's got some specific things in mind he wants to see from his team in the 15 practice days this spring.
"Spring goals, pretty simple," Malzahn says. "Number one, I told our players today we've got to get our edge back and that's physically and mentally tougher. We're going to be very physical during spring practice. We're going to have the pads on and we're going to be getting after it with the basic fundamentals of football. Also, we're going to stress discipline on the field and that's a big part of what we're doing.
"Number two, player understanding of our base offense and defense. I think that's very critical. We want our guys, when they live spring, to have a very good understanding of the responsibilities in our base offense and defense. And the reason being, this summer, we want them to build upon things and not develop bad habits.
"Number three, two-deep depth chart. All positions are open. Every one of them. We want to leave spring with a depth chart order by positions."