After Auburn’s first day of fall practice, Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn admitted that he slowed things down a bit when the new players hit the field.

“We just wanted to give them a chance early in practice to watch, and then we put them in there and spent some quality time with them,” said Malzahn.

It will be one of the few times Auburn will be doing anything slow this season.

Being fast, precise and cohesive last season was what got Auburn to the national championship game; a place, this time last year, most thought wasn’t even a distinct possibility.

“Last year at this time we weren’t on anybody’s radar,” said Malzahn. “It was easy to be together with something to prove because they were embarrassed the year before. “We’re in a completely different state now.”

With a No. 5 ranking in the coaches poll and 16 starters returning, expectations are high and Auburn is going to get everyone’s best shot.

“This year we’re going to be circled, we’re going to have to be that much better,” Malzahn said. “We’ve got players receiving attention, which we had zero last year. You have to be aware of everything that goes with that.”

Other first day practice notes:

  • Thomas involved in minor car accident: Freshman running back Roc Thomas was involved in a minor car accident on Thursday. However, the highly touted player from Oxford, Alabama did practice on Friday and had no limitations.
  • Mincy won’t start: Starting boundary cornerback Jonathon Mincy will not start in the season-opener against Arkansas. Malzahn did not give any indication how much time he would sit. Mincy was arrested on June 27 for possession of marijuana.
  • LB Kris Frost on first day: “The first day went great. Everybody is on track as far as their responsibilities and knowing what all we’re supposed to do makes us feel like we have more control over practice and control of the defense,” he said. “I can definitely speak for the linebackers when I say it was a great day for all of us.”