Gus Malzahn Press Conference Review: The ULM Game
Head Coach Gus Malzahn (Photo: Auburn Athletics)
Auburn picked up a key win on Saturday over ULM of the Sun Belt Conference.
It was a game that Auburn needed. Red Zone woes had kept Auburn from winning a few close games, and many players needed to gain experience for later in the season.
Auburn was able to work on both of those.
47 players participated in the game for Auburn. Eight players had a carry, six players caught a pass, three quarterbacks were used, and 22 players recorded a tackle. Auburn entered the game 7-for-22 in red zone touchdowns. Today, they were able to score 4-of-5 times. All of which, made Gus Malzahn a happy man at the end of the day.
What did he say following the game? Well, here you go:
Malzahn praised the fans for showing up, and showing out. He also said that the goal coming into the game, was to get better on offense, defense, and special teams, which he feels his team did.
Red Zone Performance:
Auburn’s offense in the red zone entered the game 7-for-22 on touchdowns, which is something that Malzahn, and Offensive Coordinator Rhett Lashlee both wanted to improve on. Auburn finished the day 3-for-4 in the red zone. “We have been focusing on it and that is going to be an emphasis moving forward. We have to keep carrying that over and score touchdowns down there.” said Malzahn, “Primarily it’s about running the ball down there. If you are going to be a good red zone team, you have to be able to run the football in, and today we were able to do that. We just have to keep working and keep building on that.”
Sean White threw for two touchdown passes this afternoon, both from 48-yards out. John Franklin III also unloaded a 39 yard bomb to Nate Craig-Myers in the third quarter for a touchdown. Malzahn wanted to give his players more chances, and did so today. He feels that Sean White is getting more comfortable as the season goes on, and liked his effort today.
Auburn needed to make changes to their offensive line today. Center Xavier Dampeer played banged up last week against LSU, and was not able to go to out today. Instead, Austin Golson moved to center, and Darius James got the start at left tackle. “I thought they did a good job. They presented a lot of different things with their pressures. They were blitzing from different angles and I thought our guys did a good job of passing the zones off and get our running backs to the second level.”
Even though the game today was against a 1-2 ULM team from the Sun Belt Conference, Coach Malzahn and Defensive Coordinator Kevin Steele challenged the defense to give it their best effort today. ULM’s offense could only put one touchdown on the board, and only managed to gain 251 yards. “They did a great job today. They’ve been playing good all year. I know coaches challenged the guys to play their best game today, and there was a lot of good stuff out there defensively, especially after the turnover. When they got the turnover after the sudden change we had, that was a huge play in the game.”
John Franklin III:
Franklin entered the game in the third quarter at quarterback, and did not shy away from showcasing his abilities. His first touchdown was an 80-yard rush on an option keeper, the second was a 39-yard pass to Nate Craig-Myers. Is there a possibility that Franklin could be used in different scenarios throughout the rest of the season? “He’s our number two quarterback, so he’s got to be prepared at any minute. When needed, we’ll definitely have him. He’s getting better and the more that he can get out there and play like he did today, that really helps him. He brings a different dimension than Sean does, and I think it’s good to have both of them.”
Auburn hits the road for the first time all season next Saturday, when they travel to Starkville for a date with Mississippi State. Kickoff is slated for 11:00 AM.