Auburn's head coach had just walked in from the team's morning practice, the first of two sessions scheduled for Thursday. Known for his promptness, he may have had a valid reason for running late to his post-practice meeting with reporters.
He was too busy lighting into the Tigers for what he considered a lackluster effort.
"I pulled the team up afterward and just told them that, bottom line, (I) wasn't happy with the way we responded," he said. "I didn't feel like our approach was good and we're going to have to make sure we are mentally and physically ready to practice each time."
The morning practice was spent correcting mistakes made in Wednesday's scrimmage. Malzahn and the rest of the coaching staff broke down film of the scrimmage and passed along their critique along to the players.
"We just felt like it was important that each one of the guys understand the expectations for each position the coach has," Malzahn said, "and make sure the expectations were clear. "
QUARTERBACKS: Malzahn came away from his film study pleased with the way the quarterbacks handled pressure in Wednesday's scrimmage.
"We had some guys hanging in the pocket. All four of them showed toughness and that's one of the No. 1 things that you look for in a quarterback," he said. "Can they hang in the pocket when the pressure is on? And they all took pretty good licks. I think we got some good information."
Each of the four quarterbacks competing for the job — Kiehl Frazier, Nick Marshall, Jonathan Wallace and Jeremy Johnson — had their share of gaffes, though, as the defense picked off multiple passes.
The signal-callers weren't necessarily at fault for all of them.
"There was some pressure, there was some routes on some that weren't right, so it wasn't all the quarterbacks," Malzahn said, "but at the same time, the bottom line is the quarterback is the most responsible person for any kind of mishaps. "
FRESHMEN DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Quarterbacks were far from the only players auditioning for playing time during the scrimmage. That's the the case at nearly every position, after all.
"It's very good to see how the (newcomers) react and see how much they improve," Malzahn said. "We have pretty good information on our old guys (after) going through spring, but they're also getting good reps."
Malzahn noted the highly-touted trio of freshmen defensive linemen -- Carl Lawson, Montravius Adams and Elijah Daniel -- have also been showing signs of progress.
"They're getting a lot of reps," he said. "I know (defensive line) Coach (Rodney) Garner is getting a good look at them. Saturday will be big trying to figure out these guys -- who can handle it mentally and who can't."
ON THE MEND: Demetruce McNeal, who has yet to take part in fall camp following a minor surgery caused by an infection, did not participate Thursday. Malzahn didn't expect him back for Thursday's afternoon session, though he said the senior safety "possibly" could be suited up for Saturday's scrimmage.
McNeal has missed 12 straight practices dating back to the spring.
Offensive line coach J.B. Grimes was also absent Thursday morning. He missed Wednesday's scrimmage after undergoing an unknown medical procedure earlier in the day.
Malzahn confirmed Grimes would be back with the Tigers for their second practice Thursday.