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Auburn 44, Ole Miss 23 - Quotes
Oct. 7, 2017

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NO. 12 AUBURN VS. OLE MISS
October 7, 2017
Jordan-Hare Stadium | Auburn, AL

Auburn Head Coach Gus Malzahn

Opening Statement...
"I'm extremely proud of our team. This was a game that a lot of teams could have come out and flopped around in the first half with what happened last week with us and them. I'm really proud of our leadership and that we answered the bell. We played extremely well on all three phases. Our defense was playing well in the first half, our offense got in a rhythm, and our special teams in the second half. It was just putting the game away in the second half. We were able to play some younger guys in the second half which helps. That's three weeks in a row that our twos and threes got to play which does nothing but help us. What stood out to me was no turnovers. That was big. It was a point of emphasis obviously after we had five week three. We've improved in that area. Kerryon Johnson is a warrior. I'm very proud of him. He was probably close to 90 percent. He'll probably get healthier and healthier as the season goes. We were smart with him this week. He's just an impact player. Daniel Carlson is now the leading scorer in the history of the SEC, and I think that speaks for itself. We're very proud of him. I told our team that I'm really happy with where we are at the midway point. We're starting to come together. We have to figure out a way to get better each week, but really the message was that this was a setup type game that a lot of teams wouldn't have come out and played their best football, and I feel like our team did in the first half and put the game away."

On the offense...
"We had that one lineup last week and I was saying that as long as we keep up that experienced group we'll get better and better. I thought that we did some good things today running the football. Our goal there is to rush 300 yards every week and it looks like we rushed for 326. I thought they did a better job; we just have to keep improving every week in that area. Obviously if we can run the football effectively, then our pass rush and everything else will get a little easier."

On Kerryon Johnson's performance...
"He's played pretty well the last three weeks, really. The thing about Kerryon is that he's one of the toughest players that we have. I don't know of a lot of players that week one will be running for a touchdown, and they pull a hamstring bad enough to where they have to go down and then be able to come back two weeks later and be able to play at the high level he is right now. It says a lot about him. We'll get him 100 percent in the near future. I really like how he's playing right now."

On Kerryon's journey to getting back to full health...
"He's a heck of a running back. If you watch him pass protect and everything, he does everything right. He's a complete football player."

On the wide receivers...
"We're starting to play with confidence. Each game we need to get a little bit better. My focus is blocking. We have to get to where we block consistently, and I think we've improved. Obviously you can see they're attacking the football better, and they're wanting to get open. They're playing with a lot of confidence, but we have to keep improving and keep improving on the blocking."

On the tempo...
"We pride ourselves in running the ball with tempo. I really think Chip (Lindsey) is doing a super job with his tempo game and a super job with mixing the run and the pass. In the second half you're up by 35 points and you want to get the game over, but I thought he's done a super job the last three weeks and starting to get in a groove with his offense."

On Kam Pettway, Javaris Davis, and Tre' Williams being limited...
"We held Kam Pettway out because we're going to try to get him healthy. What we've been doing isn't working, letting him play a little bit, so we're going to try to get him healthy. Javaris wasn't healthy enough to go. Obviously he's one of our best defenders, so when you're playing a passing team like that it's extremely tough. Tre' has been battling that same injury for a while, but he's a tough guy and trying to get out there and compete."

Moving forward...
"We have a tough one next week on the road, at a place (LSU) that we haven't won in a while on the road. We'll be motivated for that one though, I promise you that. Then we go on the road again and then a break. We're trying to take this week in segments. We have two weeks until our break. We're going to be very smart in practice. I like where we're at, and last time we played on the road, we played well."

On stopping Ole Miss QB Shea Patterson...
"First of all, he's a really good quarterback, and those receivers are really talented. We put our twos in there pretty late, so I thought our ones did a great job dealing with their passing ability."

On Daniel Carlson...
"Daniel is one of our team leaders. He's earned that, and he has respect from both sides of the football and the coaches. He's not looked at just as a kicker on our team. He's one of our leaders and one of our spokespersons. I can't say enough good things about Daniel Carlson as a person, but he is a super competitor. You could put him at wide receiver, and I believe he could be an incredible wide receiver. He's got that mentality."

On the team's potential at Game 7 going into the second half of regular season...
"In the offseason we knew we had a pretty good chance to be a good team. We got off to a rough start and had to go through some growing pains in some areas. I think at this point of the season, we are really starting to see them come together as a complete team. We haven't arrived yet by any means, but you can see that our team is really trying to improve each week, we're practicing with urgency and they have shown up with force for every game so far. The challenge here is continuing that same work ethic and improving each week. Very few teams around the country consistently get better all season, and that is going to be our challenge going into the rest of the season. That's a challenge to our coaches and a challenge to our players. We've got to hammer down and continue to send that message."

On the pass defense...
"Our first defense held them to 10 points, and I think if we had kept the first defense in then we could have held them to 10 points the whole game. I don't think we need to read too much into that situation because our defense is one of the best in college football. We were up against a team that liked to pass the ball, and I think we competed well with that. The team executed outstanding defense in the first half of the season, and with that level of performance they can compare to any group in the country. Our defense has an edge about them, and I am thankful they are playing for Auburn."Jarrett Stidham, So. QB

On the offense today...
"I thought we executed really well on some things. Obviously we didn't play a perfect game, but we ran the ball well and we threw the ball well.

On Kerryon Johnson's big day...
"First of all, you have to give the credit where the credit is due, not only to him but to the offensive line. They played great. Super proud of those guys. Anytime Kerryon rushes for (204) yards, hats off to the offensive line."

On his first TD to Ryan Davis...
"We repped that play all week, and we wanted to start the drive with kind of a screen to see where we could get them in. Sure enough, I threw a two-yard pass and Ryan took it for about 75. Probably the easiest touchdown pass I'm ever going to throw."

Kerryon Johnson, Jr. RB

On his big day...
"It felt great. I feel so close to normal that I just couldn't hide it. In the open field I was making people miss, and I was able to get up to a faster speed than last week."

On if he is fully healthy...
"I was close. I'm definitely (95 to 100 percent), I felt that way all week. I know I'm getting better."

On what made him so effective...
"Obviously, our blocking was improved even from last week. And I think we made even more emphasis to run the ball this week. When you get 28 carries and the blocking is that good, it's pretty easy to get to 200."

Daniel Carlson, Sr. PK

On what his brother said to him after breaking the SEC record...
"He just congratulated me after the record. I was giving him a hard time because I was telling him that he was going to have to try and beat that now. So, I hope I can keep racking up some points and then in the next four years my little brother can go and break that."

On what the record means to him...
"For me, just a lot of consistency over the years. The offense and the team has to put me in the position to kick a lot of those. A lot of them are extra points. Just to be consistent over four years just shows that a lot of hard work is paying off."

On Auburn scoring on their first five possessions...
"That's how I want it. It's great when we start off strong like that and keep rolling. It makes my job a lot easier when I just kick extra points and kickoffs. Big win for us and hopefully we can keep it rolling."

Deshaun Davis, Jr. LB

On how the game felt...
"It felt good. That's three big wins back-to-back, I feel like we've got momentum going. Right now we're getting into this final stretch in this run that we have to put together. We're in a good spot as a team right now."

On what the prep will be like for LSU...
"We're going to do the same thing we do each and every week. We're playing a good team. Any team we play, I don't know what it is about us, but any team we play always plays their best when they play us. We know we're going to get their best. What I feel like we're doing as a team is that we're not worrying about our opponent. Auburn has to get Auburn better each week, and I feel like we've been doing that."

Marlon Davidson, So. DL

On keeping intensity after earning a big lead...
"When you get up on them, you expect to just pull off the trigger. But our coaches preach to us, keep our foot on the gas and just keep going no matter what."

On playing LSU next week...
"I feel like we have a good chance of going down there and having fun, playing good defense and team as a whole just to go and get the job done."

On Ole Miss QB Shea Patterson...
"He's very quick. He can get the ball out in two seconds. Their receivers would be down the field. They have a great team and I see them playing like a powerhouse team."

Darius Slayton, So. WR

On his touchdown catch...
"The corner was pressed up on me, and I looked at Jarrett and gave him a signal to go. I just tried to win outside and get over top of him, and (Jarrett) gave me a really good ball."

On the progression of the passing game...
"I think we've made great strides in the past few weeks. Jarrett is playing really well. The offensive line is doing a great job giving him time, and we've been able to make plays for him."

On the confidence of the receiver group...
"We have the utmost confidence in Jarrett's ability to get us the ball, and obviously, as you play games and you make more and more plays, the confidence in ourselves as a unit grows."

Derrick Brown, So. DL

On how a one-dimensional opposing offense affects the defense...
"It makes my job different. It's not making it harder because we practice every single day that way. So if we have to get off the ball and chase the passer, then that's just what we got to do."

On getting in the backfield...
"Definitely rushing the passer is going to be the ideal situation. But just like coming off 200-, 300-pound guys, they're playing lower and you're trying to stop them from the double team."

On Kerryon Johnson...
"It's hard for a guy to predict where he is going to make the tackle. When he jumps in the air, he commands himself to touch the ground again and make another move."

Tray Matthews, Sr. DB

On how the win over Ole Miss felt...
"It felt good because it's SEC play. It's hard to get those W's. We came out there and fought. It was a dog fight in the beginning. They've got a pretty good offense, but we won and that's all that matters."

On chasing the Ole Miss receivers all day...
"That quarterback is elusive. He scrambled a lot, and we did a whole bunch of drills to cover that and to plaster the receivers. We did a pretty good job of that in practice as well as in the game."

On how the team is coming along this season...
"I think it is coming along well. The offense is clicking. The defense is still doing its thing. Special teams is lights out. We are excited about the future."

On the play of the first team defense...
"We did pretty well. We still have a lot of things to clean up on. We could have had a lot tighter coverage in certain situations, but we were in a lot of zone at the beginning so they had a lot of windows to throw into. But we did pretty well for the most part."

Darius James, Sr. OL

On how the line did against the Ole Miss defensive front...
"I think we did well. Our goal was 200 yards and we ran for 325."

On Stidham and the receivers clicking together...
"They all look good in practice. We strive every week to get better every day and better every game and it seems like they are coming along."

On where the team is at this point season...
"I think we are in a good place. I think we are striving to be where we want to be. We are getting better every week and we are just trying to build."

On the running game this week...
"I don't think we have done anything different. We try to be physical and fast every play and let the running backs do what they do. I think it's improved. We have gotten our hats on hats better. We have been working on our techniques every day. Our thing is to be consistent."

Ryan Davis, Jr. WR

On his 75-yard touchdown reception...
"It was exciting. It was well-executed from everyone. Great blocking. I was just able to make something happen and I got an opportunity."

On the feel of the big play
"It was good to break out a long one. It was finally my first really long run. It felt good."

On Auburn scoring touchdowns on five straight possessions...
"I didn't realize that we were scoring back to back like that, but it was real great. We still aren't perfect and we still have room for improvement. But there is definitely excitement and we expect to score every drive. We expect everyone to do what they are supposed to do, and doing all of our assignments the right way. That is what I think should happen. We should be able to score every drive.

On what Kerryon Johnson means to him and to the football team...
"To me, he's my brother. He's important to me as a person off the field. And also, on the field, he's obviously very important. He brings so much to the game and so much to the offense. He's explosive, he's like a receiver running routes. He's pretty much an all-around running back.

Ole Miss Head Coach Matt Luke

Opening comments...
"[I'm] disappointed. Give a lot of credit to Auburn, they took it to us in the first half. We struggled to score points in the red zone today, missed a field goal, had to settle for a field goal, and gave up too many explosive plays. Positives, I was proud of seeing a difference in the second half as a team. As opposed to last week, they came out and fought and we have to build on that moving forward. We've got three home games in a row and we are looking to build off the second half."

On what team needs to change in order to be competitive in these types of games...
"We have to not give up explosive plays, can't miss tackles, can't settle for field goals when we get in the red zone. That's where we are at right now. That's what we've got to do. We're starting to see some of the young guys grow up. I really thought in the first half it came down to them catching the fade ball, not us. I felt like today the ball went to the right spot a lot, and if that keeps happening over and over again, we are going to make those plays. I am starting to see some young guys grow up, gaining confidence, playing with an edge, not out there playing tentative. You know when you are doing the right thing and being aggressive. That's where we need to improve."

On problem with concentration and effort...
"I think some of it was some alignment and missed tackles. On the really long play, it was a missed tackle and we can't miss tackles. There's good players in this league and they are going to make you miss some. But when someone makes you miss, you have to have two or three other guys show up. So we can't miss tackles and can't give up big plays. We did a better job of that and challenged them in the 2nd half."

On fixing mistakes...
"I think every coach talks about that every week. Alignment, assignment, blocking, tackling, catching, that's what you do to win football games. So whether you're winning or not, those are the things you are practicing. We have to continue to get better and go to work. The harder we work it'll eventually turn our way."

On what changed in the second half...
"No schematic changes. I told them I want to see a difference from last week. I want to see improvement and I want to build off this and this be the turning point in our season."

On what helped the quarterback protect the ball better today...
"We simplified the game plan and knew where the ball was going a lot faster. Our tempo at times was the way I wanted it. We played faster at times. We got their D-line tired at times and really helped in protection. I think we just really have to build on that."

Shea Patterson, So., QB

On the difference between the first and second halves...
"Going through the first half we went through some adversity. I think it was the adjustment we made in the second half. We really made a statement that we wanted to finish the game whether we win or lose with a good vibe coming out of the game. I think offensively we were rolling. I think we feel a lot better than we did last week coming out of the second half. So we can build on that momentum."

On if he was more intentional in targeting A.J. Brown...
"Not really. A.J. gets open and when he gets open I am going to give him the ball. He had a great game and made some great plays for this offense. We are really glad to have him back healthy."

On how tough this stretch of losses has been on him...
"We have a lot of competitors on this team, and I am one of them. I hate to lose. Whatever it is, I hate to lose. If you run to that door I am going to get there faster than you are. It hurts. That's the way this team is. We have been through so much adversity. We can handle anything."

Zedrick Woods, Jr., DB

On problems against the run...
"We came out not focused. That is what it was. It wasn't anything special that they were doing. It was more misfits on our part. We didn't execute. The second half we saw we could do it though, and we are just prepared to dominate the rest of the season."

On Kerryon rushing for over 200 yards...
"It is a lack of focus like I said. It is misfits and tackling. In the SEC, you can't spot a team and expect to come back. We are going to keep working and fighting."

On why they weren't focused after last week...
"Probably just out there playing scared to make a mistake. We didn't want to repeat last week. We have to focus in and keep fighting."

On getting better at alignment and tackling...
"We have to train harder and emphasize it. We have to harp on it every week and we will get better."

A.J. Brown, So., WR

On being part of the gameplan this week...
"We practiced all week with a lot of players involving me and my job was to get open and make plays when my number was called."

On being competitive earlier in games...
"Come out with edge, start fast, get rid the problems of the second half. Start fast, it's the SEC. When you don't start fast in the SEC, it's kind of hard to get back."

On mood between the halves...
"The mood was positive the whole game actually. We were trying to lift each other up. We were trying to make plays for the defense; the defense was trying to make players for us, so we were trying to lift each other up."

On inability to score in red zone early on...
"We're just killing ourselves. It comes down to one-on-ones and I guess in the red zone we didn't really win as much as we needed. That's the most important area so we've got to get in the end zone."

On bringing team closer...
"We're lifting each other up, we're not pointing fingers. It's all like 'We got you.' We're going to go to work one day at a time."


 

 

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