Gus Malzahn Press Conference Review: The Arkansas Game
Head Coach Gus Malzahn (Photo: Auburn Athletics)
Head Coach Gus Malzahn and the Auburn Tigers won their fourth straight contest on Saturday night, with a 56-3 win over the 17th ranked Arkansas Razorbacks. Saturday’s game provided plenty of fireworks from the running game and defense. Auburn ran the ball 57 times for 543 yards, while the defense allowed only 215 total yards to a team who had the conference’s leading rusher, and passer. As one would imagine, Malzahn was very pleased with the effort of tonight’s win. He complimented the team for playing a complete game, and by sticking to the motto of “improve every game.” Malzahn said that he challenged the defense to force Arkansas to become a one-dimensional team, and he feels that they answered the call. Physical in the trenches: Malzahn was pleased with the offense tonight, and he says that the bye week helped them most of all. “We got fresher and healthier up front. Offensively, we just kind of carried over from the Mississippi State game about the physicality up front and getting a push.” He enjoyed watching Pettway and others have a big day on the ground, and was glad that the game allowed Kerryon Johnson to rest for another week. The Offense’s performance: Malzahn felt that the offense fired on all cylinders. “Rhett (Lashlee) really had it going. He and Herb Hand had a good plan and got the tempo going. You guys have watched us before; when we get the tempo going, especially being able to tempo and downhill run, we are at our best.” He also focused on Sean White’s running ability, and how well he moved the ball on Saturday night. He feels that the offensive line is starting to gel, which opens the door for the offense to make more plays. The Offensive Line: Center Xavier Dampeer suffered an injury a few weeks back, which caused a shakeup on the offensive line. Left Tackle Austin Golson moved over to center, and Darius James slid into the left tackle spot. Will it stay this way? “We felt like we played very well the last game out. We felt like we would stick with that lineup. Xavier Dampeer is a very good player in his own right, and it gives us six guys who have started before. That was kind of the thinking going into this thing.” Stanton Truitt: Wide Receiver Stanton Truitt scored three touchdowns in the win over Arkansas, two of those were on the ground. Malzahn used him, and a handful of others, to make up for Kerryon Johnson not being able to play. Malzahn said that his play against Mississippi State opened up possibilities for Truitt to receive more playing time. On holding Williams to 22 yards rushing: Razorback running back Rawleigh Williams entered the game as the conference leading rusher with 785 total yards. On Saturday, Auburn held him to only 22 yards rushing and held the team to 25 total rushing yards. “That’s a wow thing, really, to be able to hold him to 25 yards rushing.” In his career, has he been a part of a more dominant performance?: “This would be the game. I’ll have to have time to re-watch everything and break it down, but when you beat a Top 20 team that played well last year against a conference opponent, that shows something. We played pretty good in all three phases.” Playing a complete game: Malzahn credits depth when it comes to playing a “complete game.” “We put a lot of twos in there. We continued to play good defense and we continued to play good offense. So it says something about our depth. We challenged them at halftime and they came out and played well.” Auburn will begin preparations for their next opponent, Ole Miss, next week. Kickoff at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford is scheduled for 6:15 P.M.