HOOVER | Gus Malzahn set the bar high in his first season as head coach at Auburn. The past three seasons haven’t been up to the same standards but Malzahn has big expectations for year five.
“We’re at the point now where we’ve had five top 10 recruiting classes in a row. Right now, we have the best quality depth since I’ve been here. We’ve got the most experienced team that I’ve had since I’ve been here,” Malzahn said.
“The fact that we have a very hungry team. They’ve got something to prove. If you look back to 2013, I feel the same way about our team. We’re in a good spot. We’ve got the seize the moment. We’ve got a chance. We’ve got an unbelievably tough schedule but we do have some key opponents at home. I think we’re ready.”
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The 2013 team won the SEC Championship and came within seconds of beating Florida State in the BCS National Championship game. The last three seasons, Auburn has finished 8-5, 7-6 and 8-5.
Auburn beat both Georgia and Alabama in dramatic fashion to end the 2013 season but is 0-6 against its two biggest rivals since.
Malzahn knows that has to change for the Tigers to get back to Atlanta.
“Our goal is to win the SEC Championship,” he said. “We’re disappointed the way we finished the last two years. We’ve got a veteran team. We have a hungry team. We’ve got both those guys at home and last time we beat both of them, we won the SEC Championship.
“I really like this team. I like where we’re at. They’re hungry. They’ve got a chip on their shoulder and I’m looking forward to coaching them.”
Senior safety Tray Matthews, an important team leader, echoed Malzahn’s sentiments during his trip to SEC Media Days.
“Georgia and Alabama are in our way of our goal of trying to win the SEC Championship,” Matthews said. “In order for us to win the SEC we have to beat those guys. We’re looking forward to playing them.”
Auburn’s preseason practice is scheduled to begin July 31.