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In just less than nine weeks, Auburn will open the season against Washington State at Jordan-Hare Stadium. There is much to get done before then.

Garner hosted some big-time DL this weekend.

The process of molding this team into a hard-nosed unit began during winter workouts and the strength and conditioning coaches will continue to push the players throughout the summer and into August.

The newcomers, from high school and junior college, start out working on their own but pretty soon they’ll join the veterans. In the second week of July, they will start organized, player-led workouts. Three weeks after that, practice will start.

The start of practice is still a month away but the quarterback race is already generating a ton of interest. I imagine it’s going to get a little crazy once we get into the third week of August and everyone starts anticipating the starter being named.

I couldn’t say who’s going to win the job but there’s a good chance whoever does returns as the starter next season. That will be the first returning starter Gus Malzahn has had since his days as head coach at Springdale (Ark.) High School.....

If you’re looking for a distraction to get you through the next few weeks, I recommend checking out the 100th Tour de France on NBC Sports Network. Lance Armstrong got me hooked on the sport and even though its been plagued by scandals and Armstrong turned out to be a doper and an all-around bad guy, it’s still thrilling to watch them race 10 kilometers up a mountain or reach speeds of 50 mph in a sprint finish.

Even if professional bike racing is not for you, there’s one big positive you can take out if it. When the race ends in the twilight on the Champs-Elysees in Paris on July 21, there will be less than six weeks until kickoff.....

Four of Auburn’s top defensive line targets visited this weekend in 3-star defensive end Raashed Kennion along with 2015 standouts: 5-star defensive end Natrez Patrick, 4-star defensive end Arden Key and 5-star defensive tackle Trenton Thompson.

Auburn defensive line coach Rodney Garner was here to host all four. That’s not surprising in itself. But the fact that he cut his vacation short to return and spend time with the recruits ought to tell you all you need to know about how important recruiting is to Garner.

By the way, Garner turns 47 today. Happy Birthday to the captain of Auburn’s 1988 SEC Championship team that was just a couple of plays away from winning a National Championship.

Oh, the memories...

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