Gus Malzahn may be a darn fine recruiter.  He may be great with Auburn fans.  But it's pretty clear SEC Media Days is not his idea of a great time.  Seems like a fine fella, friendly... but dry as bone.  Not Gene Chizik dry, mind you, but dry nonetheless.

Some of the takeaways from his chit-chat with the media:

 

* Quarterback Nick Marshall will "face consequences" for his pot possession citation last week.  Malzahn wouldn't say if those consequences could include a suspension from Auburn's opener with Arkansas.  Speaking of Arkansas, the Tiger coach said opening with the Razorbacks was "definitely a challenge."  He also admitted that his squad "snuck up" on teams last year.  This year his team will be "circled" on schedules and the Tigers will have to "play better and play better early."  (Here's guessing Marshall will be playing in that opener with Arkansas.)

 

* A spin-off question from the Marshall issue got a quick, dismissive answer from Malzahn.  Asked if he sees a lot of marijuana use and how he tried to prevent it, he simply tersely: "We have school rules and I have team rules and we abide by them."  Fair enough.

 

* Asked about his relationship with Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, Malzahn said "it's real professional" and that he has "a lot of respect for him."  As for their communication during SEC meetings, Malzahn said, "We communicate."  Warm.

 

* Auburn's coach was asked about improving in the passing game.  "That was our #1 priority in the spring, to be more balanced," he said.  He mentioned no quarterbacks or receivers by name but he did say he feels "pretty good" about the passing game and his team's ability to "stretch the field" and make teams pay when they load up to stop AU's prolific ground attack.

 

* Asked about the new College Football Playoff, Malzahn said -- correctly -- that "we'll learn a lot this first year."  He believes it's safe to say that the SEC champion will get a berth in the four-team playoff, but he didn't sound particularly confident that the league would often land two teams in the system.  He did say in recent years there would have been two SEC teams in the top four.

 

* Malzahn announced that star defensive end Carl Lawson will hopefully be able to play toward the end of the season due to ACL surgery, something that had not been spoken of previously.  Stealthy... but a big potential hole in the Tiger defense for much (all?) of the season.

 

* Of Alabama, Malzahn said "You usually have to earn what you get."  Done.  That was it.

 

* Auburn's coach also said that he, AU athletic director Jay Jacobs and the family of Philip Lutzenkirchen are looking at ways to honor the former Tiger tight end who died in a car accident last month.