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Understanding the standard': Auburn concludes preseason camp

Jeff Shearer 

AUBURN, Ala. – Facing a schedule packed with six nationally ranked opponents, Auburn concluded preseason camp Sunday focusing on gaining advantages in close games.

"It was more situational," Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. "We wanted to cover every possible situation as far as special teams goes. Offense, defense: end of game scenarios. This fall camp the emphasis has been on the last two minutes of the game, with all of the difference scenarios with the thinking that there could be some close ones that we've got to be prepared for."

For the past two and a half weeks, the Tigers have combined practices with team meetings. With many of their fellow students out of town, and summer classes concluded, camp created ideal conditions for team bonding.  

"Being up here all day long, just watching film, being together, practicing together, eating together, everything – I feel like we're gelling more as a team," sophomore receiver Seth Williams said. "We're getting better. We're trying to take the next step. Special teams, defense, everything. We're not working as one unit separately. We're working all together. We're all going to click as one this year."

"The defense is ready," linebacker K.J. Britt said. "Trying to find the little things that can be a weakness and strengthen it. We're ready to play."

The preseason's top priority – identifying Auburn's starting quarterback – could be nearing its completion.

"We're going to go back now that fall camp is over, really all positions, and just evaluate each position," Malzahn said. "It gives us a good chance to really put the pieces to the puzzle, not just quarterback but even some other positions are far as depth is concerned. That's what we'll be doing the next 24-48 hours as we're game planning for Oregon.

"If we can figure out who gives us the best chance of beating Oregon, when we get to that point, we'll name the starter."

The Tigers will not practice on Monday while the players attend the first day of fall classes.

"I feel very good about our team standpoint of understanding the standard that we're looking for," Malzahn said. "I think our leadership confirmed what we thought they would be. I think we're in a good spot. We'll start getting in our game-week routine this week. It's flipping the page to full throttle on Oregon."

The No. 16 Tigers take on the No. 13 Ducks in the AdvoCare Classic in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Aug. 31 at 6:30 p.m. CT.

"Game mindset," Williams said. "Everybody is locking in on Oregon. We have one goal and that's to beat Oregon right now.

"Very good team," Malzahn said. "It'll be a good measuring stick of where we're at. I know our guys are excited that we'll start preparing for another opponent."

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