Some Fuss From Gus

Auburn's head football coach said he was not happy with what he saw at Auburn's day seven practice.

Auburn, Ala.--It took the seventh day for it to happen, but on Thursday the head coach of the Auburn Tigers, Gus Malzahn, publically fussed at his football team for the first time this preseason.

"It's the first practice of the day and I pulled the team up afterward and just told them that, bottom line, I wasn't happy with the way we responded," said Malzahn, whose team is preparing for an August 31st home opener vs. Washington State.

"I didn't feel like our approach was good and we are going to have to make sure we are mentally and physically ready to practice each time," Malzahn said.

"Our focus today was on corrections from the scrimmage, cleaning up," he added. "We also focused on the red zone and as a team, playing together. But, bottom line, the message was today we have got to be more prepared mentally and physically to practice.

"Our standard is very high and I just want to make sure our players understand that," said Malzahn, whose Tigers will practice again in the evening with major emphasis on special teams play.

Prior to the Thursday practice Malzahn had consistently approved of his team's effort and noted he was seeing signs of improvement on both sides of the ball.

Malzahn pointed out that the coaching staff spent an extensive amount of time after the scrimmage on Wednesday night and again on Thursday morning video study with the players. "We just felt like it was important that each one of the guys understand the expectations for each position that the coach has and make sure the expectations were clear, not just technique-wise, but effort-wise and things that go with it," Malzahn said.

With the Tigers still yet to name a starting quarterback and four players in the mix with newcomers Nick Marshall and Jeremy Johnson challenging returnees Jonathan Wallace and Kiehl Frazier, the head coach did have some praise for the QBs as a group.

"You know what, each one of them I felt like handled the pressure well," Malzahn said. "We had some guys hanging in the pocket. All four of them showed toughness and I think that is one of the No. 1 things that you look for in a quarterback. Can they hang in the pocket when the pressure is on? They all took pretty good licks.

Nick Marshall is a juco transfer from Garden City Community College who was Jayhawk Conference Offensive Player of the Year last season.

"I think we got some good information," Malzahn said. "At the same time there were some mistakes, but what we are doing is we are specifically looking at certain mistakes by each quarterback and we are going to try to put those guys in the same situation--not only today, but in our next scrimmage. The plan will be after that next scrimmage, hopefully, we can start to narrow some things down."

The head coach noted that all four quarterbacks showed the coaches an attribute in the scrimmage that he and quarterback coach/offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee are looking for in their starter. "I think the biggest thing is I was impressed with their toughness," Malzahn said. "Hanging in the pocket they took some licks and they hung in there--all four of them."

In the first scrimmage the quarterbacks wore blue jerseys, which meant the defensive players could hit them just like in a regular game. Asked if that will be the case in scrimmage two on Saturday, Malzahn said, "I don't know yet. I am still trying to work through that. Me and Coach (Rhett) Lashlee will decide that sometime tomorrow."

The Tigers will not have practice on Friday before hitting the field for two practices on Saturday. On Sunday they will practice once and then attend Auburn Fan Day 2013, which is scheduled for 3:30-5:30 p.m. at Auburn Arena. Doors to the facility will open at approximately 3 p.m. to allow fans to get in lines for autographs. Malzahn will be at the event along with members of the football team plus Aubie and the cheerleaders. The university will provide free football posters at the event.

Rules for the event allow fans to have a player sign just one item. Players will be set up at tables around the arena.

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