On Saturday, at the Tigers' first major scrimmage of the spring, Malzahn and his coaching staff got an extensive look at Tunde Fariyike playing center.
He is the third player to receive extensive work at that position this spring following junior Reese Dismukes, the returning starter, and redshirt freshman Alex Kozan, who has also been practicing at guard.
"I was playing left guard earlier in the week and Kozan was playing center earlier in the week so we are mixing it up," said Fariyike, a 6-2, 307-pound junior from Thomaston, Ga. "Mixing it helps with depth issues and things like that."
"I have been working on snaps this spring--a lot of snaps, some footwork, and a lot more snaps," Fariyike said. "It has been snaps, snaps, snaps. That snap from the Ole Miss game haunts me sometimes."
Tunde Fariyike (65) is shown in action at last year's Auburn at Ole Miss game.
Asked if he feels like he is making progress, the lineman said, "Definitely. When I talked to the quarterbacks they said it was pretty good. I had two or three that went right at their head, but apart from that the others were right there at their chest just where they want it."
Fariyike and the Tigers were scheduled to go through their eighth practice of the spring on Monday. Instead they will spend additional time meeting with their position coaches before returning to the field on Wednesday.
Asked how he thought the scrimmage went, the junior said, "I would say it was pretty good. We had our ups and downs with some penalties, turnovers, formations and things like that we still have to clean up. We made some good plays and some not so good plays."
Commenting on what the offensive coaches told the players they want to see, Fariyike said, "The coaches are looking for us to play up-tempo. They are looking for good body language, they are looking for effort--all of the things you would expect from a good football team."
Asked if the offense or defense is ahead at the halfway point of spring drills, the lineman said, "Normally it takes offenses a little longer to mesh together so I would say right now the defense is ahead of us, but we are right on their tail. We are meshing. We aren't there yet, but we are getting there.
"Our pace is not quite as fast as it could be," he added. "It starts with the offensive line. There are times when we don't get down as quickly as we should and there are still some alignment issues we are having. It is fast, but it is still not Malzahn fast."
Fariyike and the Tigers have completed seven of their 15 practices. Their annual spring football game is scheduled for April 20th at Jordan-Hare Stadium.