Finally, after being hired Dec. 4, Malzahn will get to see his Auburn Tigers in full pads on Wednesday when they begin spring practice.
Malzahn addressed the media on Tuesday, and spoke several times of being "excited" to see the team in pads, and that the team was "starting over."
"Spring goals, pretty simple. Number one, I told our players today, we have to get our edge back, and that's physically and mentally tougher," Malzahn said. "We're going to be very physical during spring practice. We're going to have the pads on and we're going to be getting after it with the basic fundamentals of football. Also, we're going to stress discipline on the field, and that's a big part of what we're doing."
The Tigers will begin spring practice weeks after most SEC teams have done so, and Malzahn gave two reasons for that. One, he said the players needed to get stronger, and says the team strength coach has "assured" him of that. Two, he wanted to make sure players were mentally ready for the grind.
The new coach said every position was wide open. That means most fans will pay attention to the quarterback spot, arguably Auburn's biggest deficiency in 2012.
After Clint Moseley left the team, Malzahn has just two scholarship quarterbacks on the roster in Phenix City-Central alum Jonathan Wallace and last year's opening day starter Kiehl Frazier.
"The good thing is, they're going to get a lot of reps, and we'll start out with equal reps," Malzahn said. "Probably the biggest concern that you worry about is their arms. You have to protect their arms. We went through this the last year I was here, with only two scholarship quarterbacks in spring, so me and Coach Lashlee will really keep an eye on both those guys, but the positive is they're getting a lot of reps, and they both need that."
Auburn begins practice Wednesday morning at 8:00 a.m. CST.