2013 Tigers In A Better Mindset, Coach Says

Scott Fountain and the rest of the Auburn coaching staff having been trying to wash away the negativity of AU's 2012 football season to make sure the Tigers are mentally ready for success his year.

Auburn, Ala.--Nobody on Gus Malzahn's coaching staff is better qualified to analyze the mindset of the 2013 Auburn football than Scott Fountain with the Tigers a week out from their season opener vs. Washington State.

Fountain, who coaches the tight ends and H-backs while also coordinating the special teams, is in his fifth season with the Tigers. The previous four he handled a variety of roles as the football team's operations director after returning to his home state with former AU head coach Gene Chizik, who brought Fountain to Auburn with him from his staff at Iowa State for the 2009 season.

"I think the kids are really into it and coming together as a team," says Fountain, who had to endure a nightmare of a season during the 2013 campaign when the Tigers won just three times and finished 0-8 in SEC play.

"Getting them all to come together as a team--that's the hardest part, and that's important," Fountain says.

When former AU?offensive coordinator Malzahn returned to Auburn to take over as head coach last December, Fountain had been on the road trying to hold together the recruiting class during the interim period when the Tigers were without a head coach.

Malzahn, who had previously tried to hire Fountain to join his staff as an on the field coach at Arkansas State for the 2012 season, relied on Fountain to keep recruiting while putting together his new Auburn staff.

When Malzahn's running backs coach hire Rich Bisaccia decided he want to return to the NFL?to coach with the Dallas Cowboys, Malzahn asked Fountain to become an on-the-field coach again, taking the role that Tim Horton was hired to do.

Horton, a long-time running backs coach, changed assignments to work with the Auburn backs and so far the staff has been working smoothly together, says Fountain, who notes that he is thrilled to be a position coach once again.

"I am very excited about being on the field and it's been an awesome deal--it really has," Fountain says. "I kind of feel like I'm back in my element and doing what I enjoy doing."

Fountain, who is from the small South Alabama town of East Brewton, began his coaching career in-state as a high school coach. He has 14 years of experience as a college assistant coach at FSU, Georgia Southern, Middle Tennessee State, Central Florida and Iowa State.

He notes that one of the major assignments for Auburn's coaching staff is rebuilding the confidence and team chemistry after last season's meltdown. "I think it is getting better each day--i really do," he says. "That was a big part of the struggle (last season).

"I think going out there that first game it is going to be an important game for our kids psychologically," he adds. "It just is.

"I think that's going to be the last hurdle that we've got to get over as far as getting last year out of their heads," he adds. "They've done a good job so far trying to wash all of that away."

Scott Fountain has seen the Tigers at a high point during the 2010 BCS championship season and at a low point last season.

Fountain says he is seeing good chemistry with the group of men that Malzahn brought in to coach the Tigers and says that bringing in former Tiger lineman Rodney Garner to coach the defensive line and former AU quarterback Dameyune Craig to work with the receivers was a "positive" move in Malzahn's team-building efforts.

"With Rodney and Dameyune coming here they knew Auburn and they really loved Auburn," says Fountain, who notes that was immediately obvious after Garner and Craig joined the staff.

"Coach Malzahn had them speak to the group about what Auburn meant to them and you looked and could see the passion, the yearning in their eyes for Auburn," Fountain points out. "That was good for me to see and we've had some different coaches in the past who played at Auburn, but these two guys really are vocal about it and I like that. I think it's been good for our team, it's been good for our coaching staff, and also I think with the Auburn fans it gives them a direct connection."

Fountain says he sees good chemistry on both the offensive and defensive staffs, which he adds makes sense because so many of the coaches have worked together prior to joining Malzahn's Auburn staff. "It's a good staff and a tight staff and they are all really good people who work hard," he says.

The coach says he believes the players have done a good job of adjusting to their new coaches and are in a much better place mentally than they were last season. "I think they're more relaxed team, but more importantly a more focused team," he says. "I'm real pleased with where they're at and where they're headed. I think they are as well.

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