There are plenty of members of the Auburn University War Eagle Nation in Georgia, and many of them turned out Tuesday night to hear head football coach Gus Malzahn and new athletic director Allen Greene speak at the Newnan Centre.
The evening with the coach and athletic director was part of the university’s annual “Auburn Ambush fundraiser.
The purpose of the fundraiser is to engage Auburn alumni and raise scholarship funds for future generations of Auburn students.
Tuesday night’s event was the final stop on a four city tour for Malzahn.
Malzahn also spoke to Auburn boosters in Montgomery, Fort Walton Beach, Fla. and Huntsville as part of the Ambush program.
Auburn comes into the football season after finishing last year with a 10-4 record including a 34-27 loss to Central Florida in the Chick-fil-A Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
Last season was a roller coaster ride at times for Auburn. The Tigers rolled past Georgia in the regular season, but lost the rematch to the Bulldogs in the SEC title game.
Auburn returns to Atlanta again for the season opener on Sept. 1 when it takes on Washington in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic starting at 3:30.
Washington went 10-3 last season, losing to Penn State in the Fiesta Bowl.
Malzahn said he is pleased with the way preseason workouts are progressing for the Tigers.
A few year back, Auburn players began calling their preseason workouts “The Factory.”
The program was set up by strength and conditioning coach Ryan Russell.
“So far, so good. I talked with Coach Russell, met with him earlier today, and he’s been very pleased with where we’re at. The guys are working extremely hard,” Malzahn said.
“He’s been really pleased with the new guys too. Of course, those guys are working out separately … like we always do. He’s usually a pretty straight shooter as far as his evaluations and so far he’s pleased.”
Each week several Auburn players are named Factor Workers of the Week for their dedication.
Malzahn like intensity of the workouts.
“I felt like a little competition and start recognizing the guys that have been the most consistent and have earned the right to be honored with the Factory Worker of the Week,” Malzahn said. “They take great pride in it and there’s great competition that goes with it.
Jarrett Stidham comes into the season as the starting quarterback.
The junior-redshirt had shoulder surgery in the off-season and was limited to 7-on-7 drills during spring.
A year ago, Stidham passed for 3,158 yards and 18 TDs.
Junior Kam Martin is expected to start at running back after playing behind Kerryon Johnson last year.
Ryan Davis was go-to-guy at Flanker last year after hauling in 84 passes and five touchdowns. He is back for his senior year.
On the defensive side one of the pieces Auburn will have to deal with is replacing Newnan graduate Tray Matthews.
The defensive back was the Tigers’ second leading tackler, finishing with 84.
Matthews signed a free agent deal with the Minnesota Vikings.
Junior defensive tackle Derrick Brown returns for Tigers after finishing with 56 tackles last season.
New AD hits the ground running for Auburn: It’s been a busy few months for new Auburn athletic director Allen Greene.
Greene, who played college baseball at Notre Dame and then had a stint in the minor leagues, came to Auburn after serving as AD at the University of Buffalo.
Earlier this week he extended the contract of Auburn baseball coach Butch Thompson through the 2024 season.
“Butch is the epitome of an Auburn man,” Greene said. “He cares deeply about the young men in his program and the Auburn community at large. The recent successes of Auburn Baseball over the past few years indicate that Coach Thompson is one of the best skippers in the country, and we’re fortunate to have him. I’m excited to lock arms with Butch as he continues to build a program that galvanizes the Auburn fan base and captures national acclaim.”
Auburn’s baseball team finished with a 43-23 record before ending the season with a loss in the third-and-deciding game against Florida in the NCAA Super Regionals
Facyson SIGNS WITH Chargers: Former Northgate standout Brandon Facyson might have gone undrafted, but the defensive back out of Virginia Tech still has a chance for a successful NFL career.
Facyson signed a free agent deal with the San Diego Chargers and in the spring and has already impressed in minicamp.