Gus Malzahn Press Conference Review: The Texas A&M Game
Coach Gus Malzahn (Photo: Auburn Athletics)
Auburn football opened SEC play on Saturday night against a tough opponent, Texas A&M.
The Aggies were known to be tough threat offensively, and have been since they began competing in the Southeastern Conference.
The game ended with a trend continuing, the road team has won every game since 2012. For Auburn, they have not won a conference game at home since 2014, a win over South Carolina.
Gus Malzahn opened his post-game press conference by discussing the tough loss, and saying that the third quarter played key in the final decision.
On the quarterback play:
Sean White went a perfect 6-for-6 in the first quarter, and ended the game by completing 18 passes for 126 yards. Late in the fourth quarter, John Franklin III entered the game, and completed 4 passes for 37 yards. This game was the first time Auburn fans got to see the JUCO transfer actually pass. Does John Franklin entering the game mean that Auburn could see a new quarterback next week? “We felt like there were some opportunities for Sean (White). We felt like we needed a shot in the arm, so we gave John Franklin a chance and he did a good job moving the football. We will talk about things next week.” Did replacing Sean White have an impact on his confidence? Malzahn says that he was straight up with his sophomore signal caller: “We were just honest with him. We just told him we needed a shot in the arm and we’re going to give (John) a shot. That’s all you can be, just honest with him and tell him what you’re going to do.” Malzahn did say that it was not White’s fault that he was pulled, Malzahn just felt that the offense needed to get a rhythm going.
Were there any bright spots in the offense?:
Malzahn mentioned in his opening statement that he felt the the third quarter provided a key opportunity to put some points on the board. Texas A&M offensively could not put up points, they had to rely on kicker Daniel LaCamera, who made 5 field goals in the game. “Like I said, in the third quarter we didn’t get it done and we had opportunities. That’s the only thing on my mind. We just didn’t get it done offensively tonight, and I think everyone saw that. It’s frustrating for me as a head coach, and we’ve got to find a way to get better in that area.”
What will Auburn need to do to perform better against LSU?:
LSU will enter Jordan-Hare Stadium next Saturday at 2-1, their lone loss was to Wisconsin at Green Bay’s Lambeau Field. There have been issues at the quarterback position for LSU, but they do have one of the most explosive running backs in the country in Leonard Fournette. Last season, LSU dominated Auburn in Baton Rouge, 45-21. Linebacker Deshaun Davis mentioned postgame that this game has been circled on their calendar since last season. What does the team need to do in order to keep from performing at the level in which they performed tonight? “You’ve got to work hard, you’ve got to coach them up, you’ve got to give them a good plan and we’ve got to go out there and execute. We’ve got to improve. The thing about this offense is that we will improve. We’re playing some young, inexperienced guys, but like I said, I feel like we had some opportunities tonight, we just didn’t’ get it done. That’s the only thing on my mind right now. We’ve got to find a way to fix that, obviously, playing a very good LSU team like you said. We’ve got to figure out a way to come out and play better on offense and play better as a team.” Malzahn says that one area of improvement will need to be on the offensive line. “Right now our whole offense is a work in progress. We were inconsistent to say the least and we have to figure out a way to get better as a group. Our offense, coaches and everyone involved have to get better.”
Malzahn was also asked about the state of the program, and he says that he is focused on making the team as good as he can make them, and that he is already focused on a tough LSU team that is coming to town next Saturday.