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March 7, 2013

Auburn notes: Gus pleased with player-coach cohesion, Garner to visit Phenix City in May

BY AARON BRENNER | abrenner@ledger-enquirer.com

@WarEagleExtra

AUBURN FOOTBALLAUBURN, Ala. – Still nearly three weeks away from his first official spring football practice, new head football coach Gus Malzahn expressed satisfaction at ongoing mat drills.

“Our kids have gotten better and better every morning workout,” Malzahn said Wednesday following Auburn’s Pro Day. “We’ve been straining them, trying to get them to think like we need them to think. We’re a work-in-progress, but I really enjoy being around our players.”

Players and coaches tweeted from a bowling outing Sunday.

“Yeah, you know, we’ve got a new staff, and we’re trying to find ways to get our players and coaches together away from this building, to develop relationships,” Malzahn said, “which I think is very important.”

Without names specifically being named, Malzahn was asked about bringing in reported support staff from the region’s high school ranks, including former Carver (Ga.) coach Dell McGee as well as Chip Lindsay of Spain Park (Ala.) New recruiting regulations have sparked an “arms race” at some institutions, including Auburn and Alabama.

“We hired some off-the-field positions to help in different ways,” Malzahn said. “There are some high school coaches – of course me being a former high school coach, that’s very important to me. Just trying to give some of these guys some opportunities to be in the same situation I am some day.”

Garner to visit Phenix City in May: The Columbus-Phenix City Auburn Club has announced Rodney Garner as the guest speaker for its spring meeting on Monday, May 6 at Green Island Country Club.

Garner is Auburn’s assistant head coach, defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator, hired Dec. 21 after 15 years with the Georgia Bulldogs.

The former Auburn lineman will be the featured face at this banquet three months to the day after he captained the Tigers’ coaching staff to a top-12 recruiting class on National Signing Day, bolstered by five-star defensive linemen Carl Lawson and Montravius Adams from the state of Georgia.

Social hour opens at 6 p.m. ET, with dinner to follow at 6:30. Reservations cost $23 for adults and $10 for children under 18.

Contact Mike Tarleton at (706) 888-0980 or mike@gamedayforheroes.org for more information. Reservation purchases will be handled through PayPal.

Extra donations will be collected for the Auburn University Foundation, going toward an annual Auburn scholarship for local students.

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