Malzahn, Auburn hoping for strong first impression after miserable 2012

The Auburn Tigers are hoping their first impression will be considerably better than the last one.

The Tigers open the Gus Malzahn coaching era Saturday night against Washington State desperate not only to show they're improved from last year's debacle but that they have better character and chemistry.

Malzahn said Tuesday he's most curious about "our effort, our attitude, how we handle adversity, how we handle success." He says the Tigers have put last year's 3-9 mark behind them.

That includes the final three games when they were outscored by a collective 138-7. Cornerback Jonathan Mincy says this team has "a new sense of urgency."

There are plenty of new faces, led by starting quarterback Nick Marshall. Malzahn says most of the newcomers will play in the opener.