Kickoff time is set for shortly after 2:30 p.m. CDT from the soldout Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The game will be televised on CBS.
Gus Malzahn has a record of 20 wins and seven losses as head coach of the Tigers.
Malzahn’s Tigers are looking to bounce back from a disappointing finish to the season that ended with an 8-5 record. Coach Bobby Petrino’s Louisville team posted a 9-4 mark last season.
“I feel really good about their effort,” Malzahn said of his team’s work in preseason, noting there has been good attention to detail.
“They want to be coached,” he said. “They want to please their coach and they want to do everything to help us win. I?really feel good about where they are at.”
Saturday’s contest will be just the second time Louisville and Auburn have met in football. The Tigers won 16-3 in 1974.
Coach Bobby Petrino’s squad is unranked coming into the contest while the Tigers are sixth and seventh in the major polls.
Malzahn said the Tigers are backing off the physical work this week to make sure the team is fresh for the opener, but said overall it has been a physical preseason, something that the team’s new defensive coordinator Will Muschamp emphasized.
“With Will coming in he really felt strongly that we needed to get our defense more physical,” said Malzahn, who noted that type of practice is good for the offense, too.
“We only have four returning starters on offense. We have some guys we think are going to be good on offense, but there is nothing better than the physical part, just seeing how they are going to respond--who will bite--so it has been good on both sides.”
The Tigers, who are 94-26-2 in season openers, will take on a Louisville team coached by Petrino, who is familiar with Malzahn having coached against him. He also knows Auburn having served as an offensive coordinator for the Tigers.
Commenting on what he sees his team needing to do to beat the Tigers, Petrino said, “I think defensively we need to stop the run. They have always done a great job running the football and working hard on the tempo.
“They go fast so we’ve got to be able to get lined up, get the call and play our technique within the call at a very fast pace so that is what we have been working real hard at. Then when we do force them to throw the ball, we have to put pressure on the young quarterback, give him different looks and make him not exactly see what the coverages will be.
"Offensively, I think it’s real important to eliminate stupid penalties, you know that we don’t go backwards. As long as you are moving forwards offensively you always have a chance to get first downs, move the sticks and keep them on the field. That is what you try to do, keep their defense on the field and you can’t do that if you are hurting yourself.
“Then we need to be able to take care of the football, making sure that we don’t turn it over and get some chunk plays. That was the fun thing about last Friday night, our receivers made a lot of what we call chunk plays which are big plays. Whether it was going up and catching balls or running after the catch, they all did a nice job of it and some of the young receivers really showed out so it was fun to see.”
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