That is something that he believes showed up in his team this spring as the Tigers wrapped up the 15 practice days on Wednesday. Fresh off a 3-9 season that finished in disarray, Auburn has a new attitude this spring and Malzahn says it has been great to see out of his team.
"The attitude, the team-togetherness, that was my big thing," Malzahn says. "The Xs and Os and the schemes will come with time, but the attitude, I really feel this team got closer. We talked about hard-nosed physical edge, and we put them through it, and they survived it, and I feel like they got better in that area. We still have work to do in all areas, but I really feel like we improved.
"The big thing for me was to bring our team together and to play together, to get our edge back, to get that mental toughness, and we've improved," he adds. "I like where we're at right now as far as our attitude. It will be just a matter of how hard we can work during the summer and hopefully they'll come back improved from today."
The attitude and positivity of the team was helped last weekend when a record crowd of over 83,000 showed up for the A-Day festivities at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Despite all the problems of the last year, Auburn fans showed up in droves and Malzahn says that's something that speaks volumes to him, his staff, and his team.
"We've got the best fans in the country and they showed that during our spring game," Malzahn notes. "That meant the world to our players. They had to be very encouraged, very motivated. The teams that are successful and win, they find a way over the summer to improve and we have to do that."
Since taking over as head coach last December, Malzahn says he has seen a steady transformation in the attitude and mindset of his team. Still with more work remaining, he says he believes the program is on the right track for success as the Tigers work towards the season opener on Aug. 31 against Washington State.
"It's been a process," Malzahn says. "Each day we've improved. At first we were pretty separate. Each day we got a little better. I like where we're at now. We still have work to do, but I really like where we're at."