Auburn SEC Media Days News, Notes & Quotes

The Auburn Tigers were on the agenda for day two of SEC Football Media Days and talked about their expectations for improved play this year.

Hoover, Ala.--Senior fullback Jay Prosch, who joined Coach Gus Malzahn plus players Dee Ford and Chris Davis in representing Auburn at SEC Football Media Days, said that Tiger fans can expect to see a well-conditioned team this fall.

"It is incredible to see the difference in the way we are working out," said Prosch, who noted that he can tell his teammates are excited about getting back on the field after a dismal performance last season.

He said that is apparent in conditioning drills and in strength training. "In the weight room we have this bell in the middle," he said. "Every time you PR (personal record) you get to ring the bell. Every week guys are getting strong. Every day you hear the bell ringing."

The fullback said that in the summer voluntary workouts there is a sense of urgency to get ready for the first day of practice on August 2nd. "Guys are listening and working," he noted. "They are working together and teaching each other, teaching young guys. It has been great...We are practicing and playing harder than we ever have."

Prosch said there is no reason the Tigers can't have a winning season despite winning just three games last year. "We have got an extremely talented football team," he contends. "Nothing that happened last year had to do with the amount of talent on the team. It was a cluster of a ton of things, but we have an extremely talented team and we definitely have the ability to compete in the SEC."

Prosch said he can't say there was one reason for Auburn's struggles last year. "If you could ask every guy on the team they would give you a different reason why. No one knows why. Football teams have bad seasons and Auburn had a bad one last year and we are learning from it. We are excited about it."

A big theme offensively for Malzahn is playing fast. In fact, the head coach said on Wednesday his goal is to have the fastest pace of any offense in college football.

"We are going to go as fast as physically possible," Prosch said. "If we aren't the fastest we will be fast enough. We will be moving at an extremely fast pace."

Other Auburn news and notes from media days:

*Players are scheduled to report on August 1st and begin practice the next day. Practices were in the mornings in the spring, but will be in the afternoons in preseason and the fall.

*Punter Jimmy Hutchinson will report on August 1st as a scholarship freshman rather than grayshirting as originally planned. Malzahn said he hasn't made any decisions yet on whether or not any of the current walk-ons will receive scholarships for the 2013 season.

*Malzahn is expecting a healthy football team for the start of practice. Even defensive end Keymiya Harrell, who had ACL surgery in the spring, will be able to practice with the team in August, the head coach said. When Harrell will be ready to play in games is still to be determined.

*Malzahn said all members of incoming signee class have a chance to avoid a redshirt season and see action this fall. Wide receivers Dominic Walker, Tony Stevens and Marcus Davis have an especially good opportunity, the coach noted, with the Tigers looking for help at those positions.

Prosch said Davis, Walker and Stevens have all been catching the ball well in seven-on-seven workouts this summer and that the new quarterbacks, Jeremy Johnson and Nick Marshall, have strong arms. The fullback also noted that each of the new wide receivers have impressed him with their speed.

*Auburn's other wide receiver signee, Earnest Robinson, did not qualify academically and will attend East Mississippi Community College. Malzahn said that there is a chance that the other signee who hasn't qualified, quarterback Jason Smith from McGill-Toolen, could make it in although there is a good chance he is headed to prep school at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia.

*After finishing with media days Malzahn spoke to the local Auburn club. He noted that his reception has been very warm from Auburn fans who have been eager to be supportive. His take is the fans are in rally mode, which he notes is what a real family does when things are tough like they are after a three-win season.

Gus Malzahn is shown at SEC Media Days.

*Malzahn said that the QB battle is wide open and that he hopes to get a starter named as soon as possible. He said in August 2009 when a starter was still to be determined in took nine days of preseason practices for Chris Todd to emerge as the No. 1 guy. Malzahn said he hopes they can determine the starter that quickly next month.

*The head coach said the plan is for a physical preseason on the heels on a physical spring practice. He noted the Tigers made progress in the spring, but have work to do before opening the season vs. Washington State and he has no option other than putting his guys through a lot of contact work.

*At his first SEC?Media Days, Malzahn took a shot at coaches who want to regulate the pace of how quickly offenses can play. He said the first time he heard about the subject of slowing offenses he thought it was a "joke." His opinion on the matter hasn't changed. He added the only thing that needs to be changed regarding hurry-up offenses is to find a way to prevent defensive players from faking injuries to slow the pace.

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