Gus Malzahn Press Conference Review: November 15
Head Coach Gus Malzahn (Photo: Matt Gaught)
Last week’s loss to Georgia was a sting to the coaches and players. Many felt that there were questions that needed to be answered, while others played out many “what-if” scenarios in their head. Head Coach Gus Malzahn answered some of those questions and even gave updates on certain injuries that plagued Auburn in their game with Georgia. This week, Auburn steps out of out conference play to battle Alabama A&M on Senior Day. Malzahn took the time to say that this week’s game will be dedicated to the seniors who have put in the time to this program for the last 4-5 seasons. “I have been talking about their leadership and the character that they have and I am really excited for those guys in their last home game. We are looking for win number eight on the season to take those guys out on a positive note.” Injury Report: Auburn is preparing to face their 11th opponent of the season. As most programs do at this point in the season, Auburn has seen their share of injuries. Malzahn updated the media on key injuries heading into week 12 of the college football season. Marcus Davis: The senior will miss the remainder of the regular season due to a shoulder injury, causing a hole at the punt returner position. Stephen Roberts will return punts on Saturday, with Ryan Davis possibly seeing time at the position. Josh Shockley: Shockley, a key player on special teams, will miss the remainder of the regular season due to a shoulder injury. Kamryn Pettway: The running back has been ruled out of the game against Alabama A&M, Malzahn citing that he hopes to give Pettway another week to recover before traveling to Tuscaloosa next week. Kerryon Johnson will see carries, with Kam Martin getting looks as well. Rudy Ford, who enrolled at Auburn as a running back but was later moved to defensive back, will practice with the running backs this week, in case they need him. Freshman Malik Miller will return to practice this week following an injury he suffered against ULM earlier this season. Chandler Cox: Cox suffered a leg injury in the loss to Georgia, and will miss the Alabama A&M game to rest for the Alabama game. Who will get the start at H-Back for Auburn on Saturday? “We’ve got Jalen Harris, Spencer Nigh, Keenan Sweeney -- all three of those guys have had reps at that H-back position.” Stanton Truitt: Like Pettway and Cox, Truitt will not play against Alabama A&M, just to rest an ankle that he tweaked against Georgia. “He tried to keep fighting through, but couldn’t go in the second half; it swelled up pretty good,” Malzahn said of the injury. Sean White: It was evident that White’s shoulder was bothering him on Saturday during the Georgia game. Because of that, White has been listed as “day-to-day” for the Alabama A&M game. Malzahn was asked about White’s health on Tuesday, and why he elected to keep playing him if he knew that his injury was hindering his playability. “He had an excellent year. Obviously, we knew he wasn’t 100 percent, but it was a close game.” Malzahn said of White, “He wanted to be in there and I know his teammates wanted him to be in there. He’s one of our leaders.” From a coaching standpoint, you want to put your team in a position to win. However, you want to keep everyone’s best interest in mind. Malzahn was asked about the way that he handled White’s injury, and he said that White had a look in his eye that said: “I want to play.” Malzahn does regret that he did not take further steps to make the right decision, but a lesson was learned by both him and White on Saturday. “I would have liked to have known if he was worse. It would’ve been good to know. Like he said the other night, he’ll communicate better moving forward. He’s a tough guy. He’s trying to win a game. It was a one-score game. He felt like he could do it or he would’ve said so.” If White can not play on Saturday, Malzahn says that he is not ready to make a decision on who would get the start at quarterback. He says that Franklin has taken the second team reps at practice and that Johnson has seen time in that area as well. Carl Lawson: Junior Carl Lawson enters the game with Alabama A&M with 9.5 sacks, which is two away from Nick Fairley’s single-season record of 11.5. Lawson, who has battled injury issues during his time at Auburn, has stayed healthy all season and has shown his full potential in every game. Malzahn compared Lawson to Fairley, by saying that both are “impact players” and that they are game changers. Auburn battles Alabama A&M on Saturday inside Jordan-Hare Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 P.M.