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Gus Malzahn Press Conference Review: November 8

Head Coach Gus Malzahn (Photo: Matt Gaught)

Head Coach Gus Malzahn held his weekly press conference on Tuesday, to discuss the victory over Vanderbilt, as well as preview the game against Georgia this upcoming Saturday. To open, Malzahn said that he was proud of the way that his team fought, and thought that they handled adversity well in their win over Vanderbilt. He quickly moved on to this week’s game against Georgia. He mentioned the lack of success that Auburn has had in Athens, with their last win coming in 2005. “We gotta fix that,” Malzahn said of the streak. Injury Report: Following the game against Vanderbilt, Auburn had questions when it came to injured players. Quarterback Sean White did not play in the first half due to an unspecified injury, linebacker Tre Williams and receiver Tony Stevens have been banged up recently, and late in Saturday’s game, running back Kamryn Pettway showed signs of a leg injury. Malzahn is hopeful that each player will return to the lineup on Saturday at Georgia. As far as specifics, White did not practice last week, and Malzahn feels that he is still not at 100%, but he was able to lead the team to a victory on Saturday, which showed signs that his health was improving. Malzahn did not get too specific on Pettway’s injury, either, but did say that Pettway is a fast healer, and his status will be evaluated this week in practice. Sean White’s leadership: Last week, Vanderbilt led Auburn, 13-10 at halftime. Auburn was outgained 206 yards to 124, and only managed to pass for 9 yards. When White returned to the field for the third quarter, the entire team saw a rise in production. White completed 10 of 13 passes for 106 yards and a touchdown. Auburn would ultimately outgain Vanderbilt 386-341. What is it about Sean White that makes him a game changer? Malzahn says it’s all about how his teammates and coaches view him. “When you have a good team, your quarterback is usually a leader. His teammates have a lot of respect for him, and so do his coaches. That’ll help him moving forward. I’m sure that had to feel good for him.” What did Malzahn learn about his team last Saturday?: Along with White’s leadership rubbing off on all of his teammates, Malzahn learned a lot about his team during the win over Vanderbilt, especially the way that they handle adversity. “Any time you are playing well, you are going to be the target of everyone. You are going to get their best. We got Vandy’s best. They had a week off and played extremely hard. We were down at halftime at home when we were expected to win. When you have that feeling, you can overcome it. I think that does nothing but help your team.” Kirby Smart’s Defensive Philosophy: Whether it be from his days playing for Georgia, or when he coached the defense at Alabama, Georgia Head Coach Kirby Smart has a history of going against Auburn. Malzahn was asked about Georgia’s defense, primarily about any differences that he has noticed in Smart’s strategy. Malzahn says that most of his strategy has carried over from Alabama and that having talented players will make it effective. Jacob Eason: One of the most highly-touted recruits over the last decade has been Jacob Eason. Eason took over the offense in game two against Nicholls and has improved every game this season. Currently, he ranks 7th in the SEC by passing for an average of 207.7 yards per game. “Any time you have experience in something, such as a big game and everything that goes with it, you get more comfortable. He’s at the end of the year. You can tell he has had more snaps, and you can tell he’s more comfortable.” Malzahn said that they have a plan in order for stopping him. Auburn’s success with recruiting in Georgia: Many of Auburn’s top players are Georgia natives: Carl Lawson, Montravius Adams, Josh Holsey, Tray Matthews, and a host of others will be returning to their home state this weekend to battle the Bulldogs. Malzahn was asked why Georgia has been a successful state when it comes to recruiting, “I credit it to Auburn being a special place and a great school. And Rodney Garner having Georgia ties. Traditionally, we’ve always recruited well in Georgia. That’s a big state for our success.” Auburn continues their preparations for Georgia, which will kickoff on Saturday at 2:30 P.M

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