Gus Malzahn Press Conference Review: The Clemson Game
Gus Malzahn shakes Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney's hand following Saturday night's 14-6 loss to Clemson. (Photo: Auburn Athletics/Todd Van Emst)
After an offensive performance that saw Auburn gain only 117 total yards on Saturday, Gus Malzahn had plenty of questions to answer following Auburn's 14-6 loss to Clemson on Saturday night in Clemson, South Carolina. Mostly, regarding the offense.
Malzahn was pleased with how well his offense was moving the ball to begin the game, but felt that plenty was left on the table.
"Not being able to score a touchdown in the red zone, that really hurt us. From quarter two, three, and four, negative plays killed us. I think we got sacked 11 times."
Like in most games over the last two seasons, the defense played well enough to win.
"Our defense, I thought, played outstanding. They kept us in the game, we had numerous chances at the end, we just did not respond."
Clemson's defense turned up their intensity following Auburn's second field goal of the game, Alex Bryant recorded four sacks, and Dorian O'Daniel added 11 tackles.
"Their defense is one of the best defenses in college football. Offensively, we just did not get it done."
Eleven sacks on the stat sheet is hard to swallow, but Malzahn feels that the problem lied in other places, not just the offensive line.
"We have to be able to run the football a little better. We can't be in obvious passing situations. I think there was a lot of third down and eight-plus situations that were tough. We will get better, I promise you that."
Last week, Kerryon Johnson went down with an injury, and could not participate in the game against Clemson. Kam Martin filled in, and rushed for 136 yards. He did not record a carry this week. Why is that?
"We were really concerned about the size of their linebackers. They do a lot of blitzing, and they did. When you don't perform offensively like you should have, there is a lot of different things that the offensive staff will look at and try to get a good plan moving forward."
On why the offense struggled against Clemson.
"Tonight, we had too many negative plays. We did not protect the quarterback like we needed to. We were not able to effectively run the football. We have got to figure out ways to get that done."
On what the offense should have done better.
"We did not get it done offensively. Clemson is very good up front. You gotta be able to run the football, and you got to have yourself in manageable third down situations where it is not third down and long."
Why Jarrett Stidham is struggling through two games.
"Jarrett is a good quarterback, he just needs experience. Many times, there were no guys open. That had something do to with him holding the football."
Nate Craig-Myers caught one pass for 23 yards, he was only targeted one more play after that.
"Nate is going to be fine. We will get the ball to Nate. We gotta find ways to get our best guys the ball in different ways."