AUBURN, Ala. -- They just won’t go away. For a second time in the last two weeks, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn responded to reports linking him to the Texas job.
Malzahn plans to remain at Auburn/Todd Van Emst photo
“I'm a good fit for the Auburn Tigers, that's why I signed the contract the day before the SEC championship. Like I said before I'm tickled to death to be here,” Malzahn said.
Malzahn signed a letter of agreement on a six-year contract extension Dec. 6 that will pay him $3.85 million in 2014 with a $250,000 raise each year.
Malzahn said his focus will be on getting raises for his assistant coaches.
“We’re going to do everything in our power to keep our staff intact,” he said.
After a week off for final exams, No. 2 Auburn practiced for the first time Monday in preparation for playing No. 1 Florida State in the BCS Championship game.
“It was good to get back on the practice field after a week, our guys were excited,” he said. “We focused a lot on our younger guys which is always good and they were flying around having fun.”
Malzahn said they’ll focus on the younger players for the first half of the week before turning more attention in preparing for the Seminoles. Auburn will practice through Saturday before taking off for Christmas.
Malzahn said it’s important for the team to put in plenty of work with strength and conditioning coach Ryan Russell to stay in peak condition with a month layoff between the SEC and the BCS Championship games.
“Any time you have a 30-day window that you're off, one of the biggest things is staying in shape,” he said. “And that's one of our big advantages: that we're in great shape. We've got to continue to do that. Coach Russell has a plan that he feels good about. So that will be a big factor.”
Malzahn said he believes his players should all be academically eligible following the end of fall semester.
Earlier Monday, Malzahn was named the Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year, his fourth major award of the year.
"That's a true blessing and it's a tribute to our assistant coaches, which have done a wonderful job, and a tribute to our players," he said. "When you win you get awards. But this is a group award. Anytime you get a head coaching award it's a group thing."