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Impact hits: Defense wins the day in Auburn scrimmage
April 4, 2015

The hits were aplenty at Auburn's scrimmage Saturday

By Charles Goldberg

AUBURN, Ala. --  Gus Malzahn said he was encouraged by all the impact hits in Auburn's scrimmage Saturday.

Safety Tray Matthews says that's the way it's got to be.

"For the most part," Matthews said, "the effort was 100 percent. Coach Muschamp says if you don't run to the ball, and he sees you loafing, you're not going to play here."

Auburn's defense played for coordinator Will Muschamp on Saturday in Jordan-Hare Stadium, so much so that Malzahn said, "the defense got the best of the offense."

"There were probably more hits today than any of the scrimmages that we've had since we've been back. That was definitely a bright spot with a lot of energy."

Malzahn said Auburn's first spring scrimmage consisted of "about 90 plays" and also featured live punt returns and a Daniel Carlson 57-yard field goal. Kamryn Melton and Rudy Ford were among those with interceptions.

Malzahn said there was plenty of physical play.

"We're going in the right direction. There were some impact hits, the type of hits that gets everybody excited. That was real encouraging.

"I was very excited with their defense, with their intensity; they were flying around, they were having fun out there."

And there were those impact hits. "I like to say momentum hits that the whole sideline gets excited on."

Malzahn, an offensive guy, was OK with the defense winning the day.

"I don't look at it as a negative. I look at it as a positive that the defense came to play," he said. "In spring, it's a constant competitiveness. One day, one wins. One day, the next wins. That's the beauty about it. But I'm encouraged from the other side of the ball."

This was Auburn's eighth of 15 spring practices, and gave Malzahn a chance to assess the spring as it passed the half way point.

"Big picture, I like our kids' attitude overall," he said. "I think all of them want to be coached. I think they're all trying to get their teammates to count on them, and the expectations are very high. Overall, I'm happy. 

"Usually you find out more from one scrimmage going 90 plays than you do two or three practices of thud, tempo and just kind of mixing and matching. I think after the evaluation of this scrimmage, I think offensively and defensive we'll have a really good judge of at least where we're at and what we need to focus on the last half of practice."

Malzahn also said...

· Running backs Jovon Robinson, Peyton Barger and Roc Thomas "got equal reps."

"We rotated with both groups and tried to give them as equal carries as we could."

There were "a lot of short runs, but there were a few that busted" for long gains.

· Auburn held out defensive lineman Carl Lawson and offensive lineman Alex Kozan, a precautionary move after both missed last season with injuries. Not to worry.

"They've practiced quite a bit to this point."

Kozan is has otherwise "gone full speed against defensive guys. He's moved well pulling. So far, so good. He says he feels good. That's definitely a positive."

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter



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