Auburn, Ala.--As the Tigers put the finishing touches on the pre-Christmas preparations for the Sugar Bowl the team’s attention is now squarely focused on the Oklahoma Sooners and Auburn's head coach, Gus Malzahn, gave a thumbs up to what he saw on Tuesday.
“We had a very good, spirited practice,” Malzhan said about the Tigers’ sixth practice as they get ready for their Jan. 2nd game in New Orleans. The session was in shoulder pads and shorts with much of the work at the team’s indoor facility.
“Our guys, the whole bowl practice, have come ot practiced with great energy, great focus,” Malzahn said. “We transitioned really fully on Oklahoma about three practices ago. Our guys, offensively and defensively, have done a super job.”
Last season the bowl practices produced a crisp performance as the Tigers defeated Memphis. Asked what his team can take from the Birmingham Bowl preparations that can help them vs. Oklahoma, the head coach said, “I think the big thing is before you leave and go off for Christmas you really need everything set.
“All you do when you get to the bowl site is really fine-tune everything,” he said. “That’s really was our plan last year and it will be very similar this year.
“We will have four good practices once we get to the bowl site, but the main preparation as far as the coaching aspect and the scheming aspect is put to bed before you leave,” Malzahn said.
Kamyrn Pettway runs the football in Tuesday's practice.
Commenting on how quarterback Sean White has been throwing the football, Malzahn said, “We had one day off, and we’ve thrown a lot, and he’s been able to handle the volume. I think that’s really good because there was a period of time he didn’t throw for about a month but just sporadically so getting his arm back in shape has been really good.
“I know it’s been good for him and his timing and really our overall offense,’?Malzahn said. “He threw the ball well again today so his arm is starting to get in shape. We are expecting him to be 100 percent or really close to it by the time we play.”
Auburn’s coach said that he is enjoying the final practices with his 2016 senior class. “It is very important. I have said it all along that this is one of the best leadership groups we have had. It is going to be nothing but better for the juniors, sophomores and freshman to be able to see the example.
“We have had ups and downs this year and you find out your true character and the true character of your leaders so, moving forward, the players that are younger have had good examples to look up to. That is the real exciting thing to me to watch these guys grow and keep building upon what we're doing.”