Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn believes this year's team can achieve greatness

Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn believes this year's team can achieve greatness

Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn poses for selfies with fans at SEC Media Days. "The last two times we beat them, we won the league and we played for the national championship, winning one of those and coming close to a second time".

In his first season at SC previous year, Will Muschamp made a bold move when he turned the offense over to freshman quarterback Jake Bentley six games in. He came to Columbia, S.C., one year ahead of schedule after graduating high school early.

Auburn won that game 18-13 after D.J. Chark's catch in the end zone was waived off after LSU didn't get the snap off in time and Les Miles was sacked the following day.

Alabama's toughest challenger this season could come from within its own state, with Malzahn's Tigers returning 16 starters from last year's team that ascended to No. 9 in the country and played Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl.

"They're hungry and they've got something to prove", Malzahn said during his opening statement at SEC Media Days on Thursday. "I think we look good this year".

If it wasn't already obvious, Stidham is the best quarterback option the Tigers have had since Nick Marshall led the team to the BCS national title game in 2013. "We can model for a lot of people what it can look like for people that genuinely care for one another and look at what we do have as a blessing, and then set an example of how you go through hard times". The Auburn head coach told members of the media in Hoover, AL, that highly touted quarterback transfer Jarrett Stidham will have to compete with Sean White.

Malzahn declined to name a starter at the position but called having depth at the position "the biggest comfort". What he's done since he's been at Auburn, just his leadership. "He's done a good job trying to win over his teammates with his work ethic". "I'm very fond of Cam, not just what he's done on the field, but off the field". When White is healthy, the head coach - who rated White's health at 100 percent - said White plays at a high level.

"Probably the thing I'm more excited about is we have quality depth at our quarterback position", he said. "Like I say, that's been our Achilles' heel the last two years".

"He's a different kind of player", Matthews said.

"The difference, it'll be a little bit more balanced but we'll still be run heavy", said Smith.

Newton has been publicly critical of the league and their referees over some of the hits he's taken, and at one point last season, he even sat down with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss it. "We have a chip on our shoulder and we're ready to get after it".

"We've got them at home". We want to be great. "We haven't finished how we wanted to so we want to get that done". Malzahn promises he and new offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey will have that battle settled quicker this time.

The Auburn senior safety from Newnan lasted only one season at Georgia-where he was in the middle of one of the most insane plays in the last decade-and now is working on his master's degree and being praised for being a top team leader.

"I went to a kicking camp, Kohl's Football Kicking Camp, in January 2012, and did really well", Carlson recalled.

"I know our players are hungry".



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