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Auburn 41, Georgia Southern 7 - Quotes
Sept. 2, 2017

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NO. 12 AUBURN VS. GEORGIA SOUTHERN
September 2, 2017
Jordan-Hare Stadium Auburn, AL

Auburn Quotes

Auburn Head Coach Gus Malzahn

Opening statement...
"First thing, we lost an Auburn great (Jackie Burkett) last night. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. Also we held out three of our players, Kam Pettway, Sean White and Kyle Davis. That's completely between me and them. Kam Pettway and Kyle Davis will be back next week and Sean White will be back week three. Overall, I thought it was a really good win. What stands out to me right now, though, is our defense. Our defense was unbelievable, they were outstanding. Third option scares you to death. They know how to coach it, they know how to run it and just looking at the stat sheet, 0-15 on third down is really something. Our defense got a chance to play a lot of younger guys and just did a super job. Offensively, the sore spot was our three turnovers, but very pleased with our guys in the run game and in the pass game. In both of those areas I feel like we were balanced out and did a good job. It was good for Jarrett to get a game under his belt, too. It's been two years since he's played in a college game, so it was good for him to get out there with his new teammates and all that. I am very pleased with our team, that's a team that has given some bigger teams some fits in the past. We were definitely concerned about it, and so it was good to get off on a good start. We played nine true freshmen. We talked about getting all of those young guys out there and that will help us with nothing but our depth moving forward. Good win and we'll enjoy this tonight, and get ready for Clemson tomorrow."

On preparation...
"It says a lot about Kevin Steele, our defensive staff, and our defensive players. I think they got a chance to be that outstanding defense, we got a chance to talk about that during pregame. They answered the bell because there is a lot of stress that went into that. There is so many ways that they can present the triple option to you, and they know how to coach it and teach it. So there was some stress involved in that, but our guys went out there and executed the plan. Again, Kevin Steele and our defensive staff did a super job."

On Jarrett Stidham's performance...
"I thought he did really well at times. There was one turnover that was supposed to be picked up, but there was some miscommunication which was a tough one. I thought that it was good for him to get out there and experience game action. I thought he managed the game well. He dealt with some pressure at times, but it was good for us coaches too to see him out there. I thought he did a solid job."

On Jeff Holland...
"I thought he did a super job. He's really taking ownership in that position. He had a very good spring and a very good fall camp. You can just tell he's playing at a whole other level right now and that was good to see."

On Tre' Williams...
"He's a guy that our coaches are talking about how he's raised his level. He's really fierce out there. There were some big hits and he was the one getting out of the pile on them. He's one of our team leaders and I couldn't be happier for him."

On Marlon Davidson...
"He's mature beyond his years. He's a young guy that plays like an old guy. He's a great competitor, he's got great technique and he's tough. We're real pleased with him."

On the offense...
"Offensively the sore spot was just three turnovers in the first half. That was the thing that really stood out. Overall, we were very pleased with our guys. The run game and the pass game were balanced. It was good for Jarrett to get a game under his belt after only playing four games of college football ever, and even that was two years ago. We are very pleased with our team. I mean, this is a team that has given some big teams a fit in the past and we were definitely concerned about it, it was good to get off to a good start. I think it was nine freshman we had on the field."

On the defense...
"They were really physical, and playing assignment football you've got to take the dive, you've got to take the quarterback. I thought we took all of that, put them in some passing situations, made them uncomfortable. We had some big-time sacks, and just seeing that was really impressive from our defensive side."

On Kerryon Johnson...
"We talked about our depth awhile back, and I think that stands true. We just about got a chance to see everybody tonight. I was pleased to see that the other running backs got some work in too. Kam Martin stepped up in that situation. Obviously, Kerryon Johnson is a big-time player, and that was a tough blow, but we will check his status. But I was very pleased with the work put on by Kam."

Jarrett Stidham, So. QB

On being hesitant early in the game...
"I think that's something I have to work on this week. Just trusting it a little more. No excuse, just have to get better."

On tonight's game...
"I think we did some good things and some bad things. Obviously, I think we ran the ball really well. In the passing game, we have to get a lot better. We made adjustments at halftime, came out in the second half and ran the ball really well, and it worked for us."

On his debut in Jordan-Hare Stadium: "It was incredible. The fans here are unbelievable. This is a great stadium to play in. It was super exciting for me."

On Will Hastings' big night...
"Will is obviously a really quick, fast guy. You put him in space against a linebacker and he's usually going to win. The touchdown he had, it was a great route, and I just tried to put the ball in place to where he could catch it."

Kam Martin, So. RB

On getting the call to play after Kerryon Johnson left the game...
"When my opportunities come, I have to make plays. All week I've been practicing to just get in there and make plays."

On losing his aunt during Hurricane Harvey...
"It's been a really difficult week. Earlier this week my aunt died in the hurricane. She was in Port Arthur. It was really tough this week. I'm dealing with it kind of hard for the whole city. A lot of my friends were affected by it. My house got flooded."

On what Kerryon Johnson said as he left the field...
"He said he trusted me and he believed in me. Just go in there and make plays."

Tray Matthews, Sr. DB

On the prep before the game...
"Our coaches did a great job of preparing us and we just went out and executed. Everybody did their job."

On how much of a burden the defensive signals were on him...
"It wasn't that difficult just because we are a really smart defensive team. So anybody really on our defense can make any call."

On holding Georgia Southern to 78 total yards...
"It feels great. But it's the coaching as well. We have really great coaching. Ever since the first day of camp they drilled that into us. Nobody is going to run the ball, no one is going to pass the ball on us. That was the mindset we had today."

Jamel Dean, So. DB

How it felt to get back on the field...
"It felt great. It's been almost three years since I've played in an actual game! Being out there for the first time, it was actually amazing. I was nervous at first, but when I started getting the flow of the game, that's when my confidence built up. I was excited, but I was just trying to take it one day at a time. I didn't want to look further ahead. Make sure that I was able to focus at practice and understand the game plan that we had."

On how the defensive as a unit played...
"We played great. I feel like this game is going to help us later on down the road."

Jeff Holland, Jr. LB

On his mindset...
"I just work hard every day. I know my coaches are going to do everything to make sure that I am successful out there on the field."

On holding Georgia Southern to 78 total yards...
"It says a lot. But we still have to work hard. The coaches put us in great positions to make great plays that we made."

Carlton Davis, Jr. DB

On holding Georgia Southern without a third-down conversion...
"Coach talks about it in practice all the time. He really emphasized third downs, so we came out and executed."

On preparing for the triple-option...
"We knew they were calling a wing look, a wing here a wing there type of thing, and just run the ball option kind of thing. We prepared ourselves very well."

On Jeff Holland's performance...
"Jeff does it in practice. He had to hide behind Carl Lawson, he never really had his chance. Now he has his chance and he's making the most of it."

Will Hastings, Jr. WR

On his touchdown...
"When I stuck at the top I knew I was going to be open, I just didn't know if he was going to throw it. But when I saw the ball in the air I was like 'All right, this is going to be a touchdown.' I was just making sure I was in bounds."

GEORGIA SOUTHERN QUOTES

Head Coach Tyson Summers

Opening statement...
"Excellent job by Coach (Gus) Malzahn and his staff. They played really well defensively tonight. You have to give them and Coach (Kevin) Steele credit for that. Their front four was great. They played like a top five defense tonight. I certainly think that this is going to be a learning opportunity for our offense and our backfield in particular. That is a good defense and we didn't play particularly well. We have to be able to run the ball. We will come back improved after we learn from this. Our defense played really well early. They kept us in the game. They had three big takeaways and a touchdown. Those things were very important to give us a chance. On special teams we have to do a better job of being more consistent with our specials. We had two really great punts, but two really poor punts as well. We missed a field goal and we can't do that with a veteran specialists group. My hat is off to Coach Malzahn. They did an excellent job and played well. I promise you that we will be back though."

On his offense...
"I still think we have a chance to be a very good offense this year. That is as good of a defense as probably anywhere in the country. We didn't play very well. We had chances and didn't follow through. That is what film is for, and we will come back after this game and be better."

On the offensive line...
"We didn't play our best. We have to learn from the film. There were times where we were out-talented and didn't execute. We need to finish better. No one is going to back down. We knew we were going to play with a freshman tonight. I thought he played well from a leadership standpoint. He continued to fight and lead. We are going to have to make some better decisions at times, but that is why we play the games so that we can get better."

On Auburn's defensive front seven...
"Their defensive line is very talented and certainly showed that tonight. Coach (Rodney) Garner and Coach Steele did good job with that group. We have to do a better job getting some push though. We have to run the ball inside. That is what we do and we have to continue to get better at it. My hat is off to them though. They played really well in the front seven. I thought they tackled well in space."

On capitalizing on takeaways...
"We have to take advantage off those three turnovers. We had the one touchdown that was obviously defensively. The other two turnovers we had opportunities. We missed a field goal. We had chances to have better punts that are going to give us a chance to play with a longer field. The battle of field position is so important when you are playing a good football team. We had some missed opportunities for 20 or 30 yards of difference on punts."

On getting better on first down...
"We are going to have to get some yards, obviously. We tried a number of different things tonight from a play selection standpoint. Ultimately, we are going to have to be able to run the ball. We are going to go back to the drawing board and figure it out. I think they're pretty dang good is part of it."

On the game being 10-7 in second quarter...
"We talked all week about going into the half with it a ball game. The third quarter can be the difference in a team being able to win a game and not be able to win a game. We thought if we could win the third quarter that we would have a chance and we didn't do that."

On pressuring Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham...
"I think we played well defensively early on. The defense gave us a chance. Their field goal kicker is phenomenal and missed a couple tonight. We had some big stops, and we have been good in the red-zone in the past. I'm proud of those guys. I thought we did a good job of trying to slow the game down. Playing with a young team and having only three penalties is monumental for us."

Jeremiah Culbreth, OL

On the game as a whole...
"Our defense came out really strong. It's all on the offensive line; It's all on us today. We are going to get better. Auburn had a good defensive line, but I still feel like we still had potential to come out on top."

On going forward...
"It is as simple as overcoming adversity. We had bad offensive drives. We just have to come back stronger the next time. We have to learn from our mistakes and come back stronger."

On what Auburn was doing defensively on first down to cause trouble...
"They stunted a lot. As an offensive line we didn't come off of the ball as we needed to, but that's just part of it. It was the stunts and different pressures that we weren't used to."

Shai Werts, QB

On what he learned from the game...
"I wasn't really used to that kind of pace. Especially against the SEC. But it is what it is, we lost and we are going to come back next week and we will be alright."

On playing at Jordan-Hare Stadium in his first start...
"This atmosphere was crazy, especially for my first start. It was loud and everything I expected. But like I said, we have to come out next week against New Hampshire and execute."


 

 

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