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'A very successful' Auburn A-Day, says Gus Malzahn

By Charles Goldberg

AUBURN, Ala. -- You probably played in Auburn's A-Day Game if you were a starter with a plan or a walk-on with a dream. Gus Malzahn played aspring game Saturday that was designed to entertain, and maybe tease, players, fans, coaches and opponents alike.
Quarterback Jeremy Johnson did his part on the big stage when he lit up the stats sheet in the first half before Gus Malzahn turned to backups. The team that featured most of the first-team offense in the first half won 24-14.
"I think our guys played extremely hard both sides of the football," Malzahn said. "We played everybody, kind of mixed and matched. The effort was good. The attitude was good, and that was kind of our message throughout spring.
"I really like where we're at at the end of the spring. I think we're in a good spot. Now, we've got all kinds of things we need to improve on, but at least, as coaches, we know what they are."
Malzahn may not have showed much of his offense, but Auburn fans showed they cared, as usual. More than 62,143fans watched, though the weatherman had threatened them early in the week with forecasts of thunderstorms.
"Sixty-two thousand and there was a 100 percent chance of rain most of the week. That's says a lot," Malzahn said. "Our people love football."
The offenses doubled up on the stats in the first half, since the first and second teams took turns against the defense. But the defense did push them with gang tackling, something new defensive coordinator Will Muschamp has stressed.
"They were playing hard," Malzahn said. "What is this? This is the lowest scoring spring game that we've had. There were so many punts. I thought they did some really good things."
Johnson, the backup to starting quarterback Nick Marshall last year, hit 14-of-22 passes for 252 yards with a 36-yard touchdown pass to Duke Williams and a 43-yard touchdown to Myron Burton.
"I thought Jeremy did some good things," Malzahn said. "He has really good command of our offense. He probably held the ball a little too long a couple of throws, but, overall, I thought he did a good job."
Johnson played with the first team. Sean White hit 15-of-19 passes for 109 yards. But neither played in the second half. True freshman Tyler Queen and walk-on Tucker Tuberville finished up.
Myron Burton led the receivers with seven catches for 95 yards. Roc Thomas led the running backs with 62 yards on only four carries. Peyton Barber had nine carries for 47 yards. Jovon Robinson had six carries for 19 yards.
"Roc, and all three of our running backs, were very good with the ball in their hands," Malzahn said. "All three made some good runs. Roc made a couple of spin moves and came out of some things, and that was really nice.
"I think they've improved throughout the spring."
It all resulted in a passing grade.
"We came out of this thing without no major injuries, that's always a positive thing," Malzahn said. "Overall, I like where we're at and I thought it was a very successful day."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:


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