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Coffee and Magnolia: August 28th

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Thursday readings

Zach Bland/Auburn Athletics

The SEC kicks off tonight and that's awesome, y'all.

Gus Malzahn gave his final remarks to the press before Saturday's game yesterday, and said he's feeling good about the intensity the players are showing, as well as their preparation. Here's the post-practice press conference video.

Malzahn said there isn't "one thing" he's not comfortable with when it comes to putting sophomore quarterback Jeremy Johnson behind center this weekend. Brandon Marcello shared a few quotes from coaches and some of JJ's fellow offensive players.

When asked about the possibility of rain (somewhere around 50% as I type), Malzahn said the team is doing as much as they can do to simulate wet conditions.

The Tigers also talked about not buying into their three-score spread over the visiting Hogs, and said they know it'll be a test. Old Man Jeff Whitaker led the way: "With the rivalry of us and Arkansas anyway, it's always been nut-cutters -- a few plays here and there determine the whole game."

Auburn wasn't the only place where players and coaches were talking about Saturday's game, and the beats have us covered there, too. Bret Bielema spoke on the SEC coaches' weekly teleconference and, naturally, it was a lot of talk about Auburn.

Bielema said he respects both QB options Gus will have, and that he has a separate game plan for either player.

As I mentioned yesterday, Shon Coleman is getting a lot of attention as he nears his anointing as a starter on the Auburn O-line, and PMarsh wrote a long feature accompanied by some interview video about Coleman and his road to Jordan-Hare.

Some quick hits before I bounce:

- Wesley Sinor posted a look at how Auburn's newly announced starters were rated by recruiting services when they came out of high school or junior college.

- AL.com's big preview magazine featured this story in which crazy old Ellis Johnson goes and shares the secret recipe to our offensive special sauce.

- CBSSports' Jon Solomon has an article about the pros and cons of all these neutral-site season kick-off games.

- Auburn Athletics' website announced live radio feeds for a number of sports (including football, M&W basketball, baseball and softball) will be available for free online this year, and the football and men's basketball streams will also be free on the Gameday smartphone app.