Post-Game Quotes: AU 38, ASU 9

 
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Opening Statement...
"First of all it feels good to be 2-0. We beat a good football team. We talked about needing to run the ball to be successful against these guys, and I felt like we were able to do that. Penalties shot us in the foot a couple times, we definitely need to correct that. But, overall real happy to be 2-0 and to have beaten a good football team."

On the offense...
"Just coming off the field right there, putting some points on the board, I think we had a missed opportunity or two. My big deal is just consistency. We need to be more consistent with our execution. I do feel like we improved from last week. And that is what we have been talking about: improving each game."

On the tempo...
"The tempo, at times, was a lot better. There was a drive going to our left that we got it going, and we ran the power and counter a couple of times. Got some momentum, scored a touchdown. I thought it was better tonight."

On playing a team with a similar style...
"The fact that we knew a lot about those guys and they knew a lot about us, that is always a challenge, that guessing game and all that. But they were a good team and we beat a good team tonight."

On Cameron Artis-Payne...
"I thought it was good blocking up front. He held on to the football, he is a north-south back. I feel like he will get more comfortable each game, behind our schemes.

On Nick Marshall...
"That big pass play was huge. I mean that kind of gave us a sigh of relief right there, so we could open up and play. Obviously the turnover down there was very critical. He did some good things. He improved from the first game."

On defensive stops...
"That is two weeks in a row our defense has stood up down there, and had the fourth down stop again. And that is definitely a good thing."

On playing a lot of guys...
"That is what we are trying to do, trying to get some depth there and keep our guys fresh. And I feel like our guys were fairly fresh in the second half."

On Nick Marshall getting comfortable...
"Well he is getting more comfortable each practice. He was a little more comfortable this game than last week and I feel like that will improve. The guy didn't go through spring. He is still learning as he goes. He is very hard on himself, and he has a chance to improve each game."

On if he thought he would hold Arkansas State without a touchdown...
"No, I really didn't, they have phenomenal skill guys that will have the chance to play at the next level. And, like I said they have the second longest winning streak in college football, so they are used to winning. I am very impressed."

On benefit to Marshall with three running backs...
"It definitely helped. Anytime you have a quarterback that is a run threat, you know he had a couple of reads right there, and he kept the football. And if you do that a couple of times and have some success it opens everything else up. You know I thought that was a big factor tonight."

On deep pass touchdown to Coates...
"It was a well-executed play, the line did a good job on their blocks and we got the safety down. He ran a really good route at the top and it was a really good throw. That's what it is supposed to look like."

On secondary's performance...
"We didn't give up the big play. I think that is half the battle of playing defense and the secondary did a good job."

On Chris Davis not coming back into the game...
"Well we were up you know. We were up and were playing some young guys. I'll tell you this too, it was real positive we played a lot of people. We got a chance to play some of those young guys and put them out in front of a crowd and see how they did."

On big plays tonight...
"We definitely play a lot better when we have explosive plays and anytime you can have more than a few, that's a good thing."

On seeing his former players...
"It was pretty emotional. It was a pretty interesting deal when you coach against a team that you're close to players. They have some great kids over there, great competitors. It was interesting, but it was good to see those guys. I wished them nothing but the best going forward."

On team improvement...
"Well we're getting better each week, I think we will improve in that area. Offensive execution, tackling and everything that goes with it."

On Justin Garrett and Dee Ford not playing...
"They practiced, but didn't play and we will see how they are next week."

On playing Jonathan Wallace tonight...
"Well Jonathan, he's a very good quarterback within his own right. We just felt like we wanted to give him a package right there and keep him involved. He did an excellent job when he was in there. He even, towards the end, executed well. Jonathan is a very solid quarterback."

On playing Wallace to spark Nick Marshall...
"Well, not really, we had a package for him and wanted to keep him involved and, like I said, it wasn't anything more than that."

On Cameron Artis-Payne...

"Well to be honest with you, we have our starters. But you see where you get the ball in certain situations and it was over in that situation, he just happened to be in there. We have three running backs that are all starters in their mind."

On LaDarius Owens...
"You know he's got a nose for the ball and I think his time was coming. I think right now he's getting more confidence and he's got more opportunities than he had in the past and he's making the best of it."

On linebackers playing against a run-heavy team...
"There's no doubt. We played a team that throws it just about every down and then we went to one of the better running teams. It was good for our defense to be able to adjust like we did."

On the defensive line...
"We have high expectations for that group and I thought they did some good things. Like I said in all areas we need to execute better. That's one of the areas we'll continue to focus on and we're a work in progress. We are happy to be 2-0 and I think this team has potential. Like I've been saying before each practice and game we've got a real chance to do that."

On a breakout receiver...
"You know I don't know. When you spread the ball around, we had some third down catches which was big. I thought our receivers did a solid job when they were thrown to."
 
About coach constantly rotating the line...
"He just wanted to keep us fresh. If we were out there for more than eight plays he would sub some guys out.
 
About how much better the d-line is this year...
"We're just a lot better. We are a more technique-sounded unit. We come off the ball faster, but we still have some things to work on. We are on the rise though."
 
About the true freshman playing d-line...
"It's good. They're out there playing hard and making plays."
 
About having a solid running game...
"It helps out a lot. Having a quarterback that can run and get us out of trouble is a big plus. Especially in our offense, we need to be able to run the ball effectively."
 
About the three-man running back rotation...
"It's pretty exciting going in because you never know whose going to stand out that night. Overall, we just come in and fight for each other and whoever stands out, stands out."
 
On if he was more comfortable tonight...
"Yes sir, way more comfortable. I just went out there and did what I do best. I talked to Jonathan Wallace before the game and he told me just to be cool, calm and collective so that's what I did."
 
About the deep touchdown pass to Sammie Coates...
"It was a play we played in practice against the same defense we used in practice and coach told us to run it."
 
About his performance tonight...
"I think I did well, but there's still some room for improvement. The mistakes I made tonight, I'll work them out in practice."
 
About having a multiple running backs that contribute...
"You never can go wrong with having more fire power in your arsenal. Those guys are fresh and I'm looking forward to the rest of the year."
 
The offensive line and their improvements...
"They're great. They are veterans up-front and they know what they are doing."
 
About the difference between this week and last week...
"Little mistakes that we made, but I think we corrected those mistakes this week in practice. I'm looking forward to that being contagious and happening all year."
 
About Nick Marshall's game...
"I saw what I expected. That's my boy, he's like my brother and he's a threat. I know other teams need to watch out for him because he's dangerous."
 
On confidence in running game...
"We were very confident. We went out there and put the game away, running the play even though they knew it was coming. It was something we were very confident in going into the game." 
 
On more carries in the second-half...
"That was the game plan going in. With the lead we had, we just wanted to pound them. We just wanted to try and make them quit, and we accomplished that."
 
On the offense...
"We took a big step forward. We still have some things we need to work on. We're going to get back at it tomorrow and see where we need to improve. We're just going to keep getting better."
 
On touchdown...
"It felt good to get in the end zone. I missed out last week, so it felt good to step up and help out the team."
 
On his performance...
"I did okay. I felt that I could have done better with some blocking. I think as a team we played well. We took a step forward from last week. We're going to use each and every week to keep getting better."
 
On the offense...
"We just keep getting stronger. We keep making big plays. We improved this week from game one, and we're going to keep working hard for next weekend."
 
On Mississippi State....
"It's our first SEC game. It's going to be a big game. We're ready for this. After last season, everyone thinks that we aren't ready to face SEC teams. We're ready to prove them wrong."
 
On defense...
"Our main focus was to not let them come into Jordan-Hare and run the ball. I think the whole unit did awesome. We had our issues, but that is what practice is for. We will come in tomorrow and fix it."
 
On holding Arkansas State with no touchdown....
"We had an edge not to let them in the end zone going into the game. Like Coach Johnson says, when you face a team, you don't let them in your end zone. It has nothing to do with the play calling. It was the heart of all the guys on the field. I feel like we just had an edge. We were just playing like a brand new team."
 
On Mississippi State...
"We're going to come back here tomorrow morning and just get to it. It's a grind. Next week is our first SEC game. The whole team is looking forward to it."
 
On the win...
"We take it week by week, game by game. We are happy today but tomorrow we are going to get on the field and correct our mistakes that we made."
 
On the defense's performance...
"Limiting explosive plays is always a big thing on defense and not letting them get into the end zone is real big as well. Holding them to three field goals, we played good tonight, but we still have room to improve."
 
Opening Statement...
"First of all, I thought our guys fought hard. We knew we were playing a good opponent and we were going to have to do our best. Without watching the film, I thought those guys came out and fought. I am proud of our defense early, those guys were battling especially in that second quarter. Offensively we have got to take advantage of our opportunities especially down in the red zone. Those are probably the biggest things that stood out. Overall, I thought there were some good things in there, but not good enough. We have got a lot of things we have to go back and improve on. Every week is about that, whether we win or lose, it is about getting better. We will go back and study this tape to find the improvements we need to make. We have a short turn around against Troy this week on Thursday so we are going to have to make those corrections quickly. I appreciate the way our guys came out tonight, the way they performed this week, but we have got to improve in all those areas."

On missed opportunities...
"The way Brian (Davis) was kicking tonight, looking back you can say that we could go get points on the board and we do need points. At the same time, part of our philosophy down there is to take opportunities. If we get a first down, down there, we are in good position. I was very happy with Brian tonight. I think that every time we called on him, he did a great job. Our punters did a great job tonight. We have got a very good kicker and we can lean on him when we get a good opportunity."

On how the players handled playing against Malzahn...

"I think they were aware of it and ultimately it still kind of boils down to that, that is not who is on the field playing. They understand that. Their mentality was trying to prepare themselves to play against a good football team. Whoever that opponent was over there was what they were most concerned about. There are emotions surrounding it, but I think within our program it is just business as usual as far as getting out there and playing the game. We understand that, but it really has nothing to do with anything once you kick the ball off."

On fourth downs...
"That is a good play for us. They played it well. That is one that we have been very good at and one that we have practiced quite a bit. We have to give them credit as well. Anytime something does not work you can say you wish, but those are the plays that we went into the game plan with and that our players know we are going to call in those situations. We will go back and look at it. We have to execute those plays. They out executed us in those situations and those are things that we have got to improve on."

On running the ball...
"They are good up front. I think their defensive line played better and we knew that they were going to be an improved football team from last week. The mentality that they are going to have going into that game after what we did the previous week by running the football. We still need to find ways to run the football and get the football in our playmakers hands."

On Adam (Kennedy)...
"I thought Adam played well. I thought he made good decisions. I thought he executed and operated the offense the way we wanted him to. I do not know if there were opportunities where he missed something until we go back and study the film. I do know that he ran the football in critical situations and got positive yards. That is really where we felt like Adam would come out and be that type of guy. We just have to surround him with some better plays and that comes from me. "

On expectations of Auburn...
"We knew they were good. I think the first three games of the year it is hard to examine exactly what the teams are that you are going to play because they still are trying to figure themselves out."

On penalties regarding uniforms...
"I knew about it. That was my decision. I think it was something for our team and that was the decision I made and I would not change it."

On Coach Malzahn...
"He said that we have a good football team. I told him likewise. He said good luck to us and if there was anything we could communicate on or something he could help us out with to just let him know. I talked to him prior to the game and he cares about the program as well. He has been here and said that. He was very good about our football team, the game, and to myself."
 
On how he was feeling after the game...
"Obviously, we are a little bit disappointed. We came in here wanting, needing to win, as any team should. It didn't work out for us. Physically I am fine. It was an SEC defense, so you are going to take some shots."
 
On being under pressure...
"They definitely heated it up at times. I thought the offensive line was fantastic. I think there were a couple of times were I created the pressure by scrambling when I didn't have to. Overall, I felt pretty comfortable in the pocket."
 
On Auburn's defense stopping the run offense...
"I think it was their defensive line. I think their line is big and fast. They were plugging up holes and creating lanes for their linebackers to shoot through. Obviously, after what we did last week, I am sure they made it a priority to stop the run, and they did so."
 
On how the defense felt heading into halftime...
"We came out with the mentality that the game was still 0-0. We came out and did what we could."
 
On Auburn's 68-yard touchdown pass...
"It hurt us. Rocky Hayes pulled his hamstring as he was covering, so that hurt us a little bit."
 
On Auburn's rushing attack...
"We needed to fill our gaps. If we can do that, we will be successful.
 
How do you think the team performed against the Auburn defense?
"We were running the ball. It wasn't difficult. We shot ourselves in the foot on a couple of plays and as far as offense, and I'll take the blame and I just talked to my teammate we take the blame for not getting the ball in. We got down there three times."
 
What do you think happened on those plays?
"It's just simple things and that's what you have to fix the things you need to fix. When you play a team like this, you can't have those. Like I said that falls on me because I'm the leader for the offense, and I'll take the blame for that. If it's me personally or if it's all of us together it doesn't matter, which one it is because when we get down there in the red zone Coach Harsin tells us it's time to get in, and we didn't get in. Me carrying the ball twice, I know on one of them, that's my fault and I will take full responsibility for that."
 
Is that deflating for an offense?
"It's deflating, but at the end of the day, you still have to get back out there. I mean the game is not over because of one series. We didn't lose it. We got three points out of it. Losing would be not getting any points or fumbling while we were down there. To me three points is good, but you don't want to settle and that's basically what it is."
 
What happened with the one blitz play?
"The blitz didn't really get there on time. We blitzed from too far back and the timing of that was wrong, and we were already playing three deep and they sent four verticals. It just put some stress on me. I could've made a better play. I kind of hesitated because I thought he overthrew it, but that's just on me. I need to do a better job."
 
Are you disappointed in the way the team played tonight?
"Somewhat disappointed, I know we had a couple of good stops and everything we just need to get control on the run defense. They have three really good running backs, and we knew that coming into the game and a really good offensive line. We knew that, too, and yes you could say we are disappointed, but all we can do is learn from it and just take the strengths and weaknesses from it and just move on."
 
Change in defensive mentality from Auburn to Troy?
"Really just going to have to focus a lot on the secondary we were playing more we need to make sure we are really disciplined against Troy."