The Latest: Malzahn says Auburn is hungry to take next step

ATLANTA (AP) — The Latest on SEC Media Days (all times local):

Gus Malzahn says his Auburn Tigers are motivated to take the next step after coming so close to their championship goals last season.

Auburn took regular-season wins over Alabama and Georgia when each team was ranked No. 1 last season. The Tigers won the Southeastern Conference's Western Division before losing to Georgia in the SEC championship game — costing them a shot to compete in the College Football Playoff.

Malzahn says at SEC Media Days his Tigers will be "a hungry team trying to take that next step."

Auburn will return to Atlanta to open its season against Washington on Sept. 1. Malzahn says the game will be "a good measuring stick for where this team is."

The Tigers are expected to have a strong offense led by quarterback Jarrett Stidham and running back Kam Martin.

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Gus Malzahn's Auburn Tigers are coming off an interesting 2017 season, enjoying the highs of wins over eventual SEC champion Georgia and national champion Alabama before losing to the Bulldogs in the SEC championship game.

Auburn also lost to Central Florida in the Peach Bowl to finish their season.

Malzahn returns 14 starters, including quarterback Jarrett Stidham, and will discuss the Tigers' outlook on the final day of the SEC Media Days on Thursday.

Auburn finished 10-4 overall and 7-1 in the SEC last season and will return to Atlanta on Sept. 2 to open their season against Washington.

Also scheduled to speak on Thursday will be Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason and South Carolina coach Will Muschamp.

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