AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn coaches will be quite familiar with Arkansas State’s product on the field Saturday.
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn spent the 2012 season as head coach of Arkansas State. There are 10 fifth-year seniors remaining on the Red Wolves who Malzahn recruited.
“Playing Arkansas State, a team I’m very familiar with obviously when I was the head coach there in 2012,” Malzahn said. “Still have a few of the players that we recruited that are seniors that are outstanding football players.”
In 2012, Malzahn recruited a 28-player class that ranked No. 63 nationally and No. 1 in the Sun Belt Conference.
It has translated into wins. Arkansas State has won the conference four of the last five years. Malzahn called the school a “very good team, a very good program.” But what he remembers most are the on-field and off-field caliber of the student-athletes.
“We were very excited about that class. What I remember is not only good football players but good people with good families. You know, it doesn’t surprise me at all that those guys have had very good careers,” Malzahn said. “Of course, they’ve won a lot of championships with they’re there. They know how to win. They’re very good football players.”
Auburn wide receivers coach Kodi Burns will also have strong knowledge of the other side.
Burns worked under Arkansas State offensive coordinator Buster Faulkner’s staff last season when the two coached at Middle Tennessee State. The Blue Raiders offense finished 32nd in the country in total offense during the 2015 season.
While Burns’ focus has primarily been on the offensive side of the ball, Malzahn said he and Faulkner have a tremendous familiarity with one another.
“I know Kodi has a lot of respect for what he does,” Malzahn said, “and they were able to do some great things together.”