Gus Malzahn Press Conference Review: The Georgia Game
Head Coach Gus Malzahn (Photo: Auburn Athletics)
Auburn hit the road for the third time this season on Saturday, to face the Georgia Bulldogs in another installment of “The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry”. Unlike the previous two road games of 2016, the Bulldogs got the best of Auburn, by a score of 13-7. In a game dominated by the Georgia defense, the Bulldogs held Auburn to only 164 yards of total offense. That was the center of Head Coach Gus Malzahn’s Press Conference following the game. He addressed the offense’s issues, as well as provided insight on a variety of topics, including quarterback play. Malzahn opened by saying that the loss was rather disappointing. He first complimented the Tiger defense, which shut the Bulldog offense out of the end zone in the game. When it came to the deciding factor in the game, Malzahn simply said: “the offense did not get it done today.” He credited Georgia’s defense for having a great game plan but says that execution was a key in the offense’s performance. Second Half Performance: The second half stats were definitely eye raising. Quarterback Sean White was 2-11 for 8 yards, the offense did not gain a first down, and it seemed that the play calling followed a similar trend in the second half. Malzahn says that the offense’s third down performance was probably the worst outing of the season, only converting 2 of 12 opportunities. “We didn’t get it done,” Malzahn said of the game from the offensive side of the ball. “We didn’t execute very good, we didn’t do a very good job offensively. That was obvious.” Sean White and Quarterback play: Last week, quarterback Sean White missed the start at home against Vanderbilt due to an undisclosed injury. He would later play in the second half to push his team to a victory. Questions this week were centered around injuries, and if players such as White were healthy enough to play. White completed only 30% of his passes against Georgia, (6 of 20) for 27 yards. Malzahn was asked why he continued to play Sean despite his struggles, Malzahn stood tall, saying that “He is our quarterback.” He then revealed a stunning revelation. Not only was White not 100%, but he did not throw a pass at practice this week. Malzahn says that his injury was affected early when he took a hit in the first quarter. Because of that, Malzahn was asked about the running game, and why it was not used more. “We will evaluate everything that happened today, obviously. Anytime that you do not get it done, you need to evaluate everything.” On the other quarterbacks, Malzahn says that senior Jeremy Johnson is “ready when needed” and has no issue with Johnson or John Franklin III’s passing ability, but had more faith in Sean White, and is sticking with him at quarterback. Running Game: In Kamryn Pettway’s absence, Kerryon Johnson scored a touchdown, and rushed for 99 yards on 22 carries. After him, the next highest individual rushing total was 16 yards. He credits that with the running back position being one of the most beat up groups on the offense. Pettway not playing today, Kerryon Johnson still nursing an injury, and Stanton Truitt going down early in the game, it is tough to find the solid rotation of backs that Auburn is known for having this season. When it came to changing the gameplan, Malzahn says that it was just a matter of not finding rhythm during the game. “We have been pretty good on offense this year. It’s kind of a next man up mentality. I thought KJ (Kerryon Johnson) ran hard, he did some good stuff. We never really got in our pace, we were fighting uphill.” Auburn will host Alabama A&M in the home finale next Saturday inside Jordan-Hare Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 P.M.