Gus Malzahn Press Conference Review: Ten Days Until Kickoff
Gus Malzahn on August 23 (Photo: Auburn Athletics)
Head Coach Gus Malzahn spoke briefly to the media on Wednesday for what will be his last appearance before game week.
Malzahn says that practice has gone well over the last two days, stating extra preparation for the 2017 opener against Georgia Southern.
"We have had two solid days of practice so far. We really try to make this as close to "game week" as we could, to get two full weeks in preparation. I think our guys have done a solid job in all three phases."
Malzahn says that he and his staff will continue to treat practice as close to game week as possible over the next few days. Working on logistics and communication.
"We will have a practice tomorrow, we will have a dress rehearsal type situation on Friday. We will see where we are at as far as the weekend goes."
Coaching Duties on Gameday:
Malzahn addressed where assistant coaches will be on game days.
"We are getting closer (to finalizing plans). That will be a meeting that we will have tomorrow. Both staffs, really all three areas have a good idea, but they will test it out on Friday. There may be a few tweaks after that, but they have a good idea of where they would want to be."
What about new head coach Chip Lindsey? Malzahn says that he will start out on the sidelines, much like former OC, Rhett Lashlee.
Malzahn was asked about the status of several injured players, including sophomore Marlon Davidson.
"Everybody is back out at practice. We expect everybody to play."
Big Kat, with a K, Bryant:
How has highly-touted freshman Big Kat Bryant performed since he has arrived on campus? The head guy is pleased with his efforts, and many other freshmen.
"Any time it's a fall camp, they are going to get strained, they are going to experience different things and he has done a solid job. As a group, I'd say that the freshman group has done a very good job. We are really trying to focus in on those guys that have a chance to give us depth on offense and defense. The special teams aspect, that's always an area that true freshmen have a chance to help with right away."
Big Kat and T.D. Moultry are expected to be the future leaders of the Auburn defensive line, does Malzahn agree?
"They both have motors, they both have a lot of ability. Both of them could help us. As they year goes on, even help us more. I like both of their attitudes."
A name that has risen drastically since fall camp began is Nick Coe at Buck. He has gained more experience during the absence of Marlon Davidson.
"Nick is with the one's quite a bit with Marlon's (Davidson) absence. I think that it has been a very good thing for him. There is nothing better than getting out there with the one's and seeing how they respond. I think that he has continued to get better."
Third-string running backs?:
Devan Barrett? Kam Martin? Malik Miller? Who will earn that third-string running back spot?
"We will have a depth chart on Tuesday. Everything will be finalized by then."
Offensive Line Rotation:
What about that offensive line? Same. Expect the results on Tuesday, the next time Malzahn speaks with the media.
Red Zone Offense:
How does Malzahn hope to improve his offense within the 20-yard line?
"To be one of the best, you have to be able to run the ball in. You have to be very good on third down, and throwing the ball in the red zone. That has always been a big key. When we have been good, we have been really good in the red zone. I know Chip (Lindsey) has worked extremely hard with red zone vs. the defense, and a lot of situations. Chip will add a few new wrinkles, too, which is always good."
How does having tight ends Sal Canella and Jalen Harris help the offense?
"C.J. Uzomah, he was very successful. Any of those bigger bodies that are experienced do nothing but help, because the field condenses. Those windows are very small, you have to earn it in the passing game."
First impressions of Georgia Southern:
What does Malzahn think of the season-opening game with Georgia Southern? He is concerned with the one thing that makes the Eagles tick.
"They present challenges with the triple-option, there is no doubt. Three years ago, they beat Florida. They took Georgia to overtime. They played a lot of big teams, good. You can see that they are talented. That definitely concerns you. We need to play well."
Malzahn also says that he will have to evaluate Eagle quarterback, Shai Werts, by his high school tape, since he will be a first time starter.