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Gus Malzahn likes passing game in Saturday scrimmage
Aug. 15, 2015

Jeremy Johnson looks to pass as Cassanova McKinzy closes in during Saturday's scrimmage

By Charles Goldberg

AUBURN, Ala.  Gus Malzahn delivered on his promise Saturday, staging a scrimmage that produced plenty of passing as well as one that saw quarterback Jeremy Johnson on the mark.

After a Monday scrimmage that was mostly centered on the run, Saturday's scrimmage was 65-70 percent passing, Malzahn said. Malzahn called the scrimmage "a good one." Auburn ran approximately 100 plays, many while the big video board showed highlights from last year's games.

Malzahn said Johnson "performed well."

Malzahn said after Monday's scrimmage that the defense dominated. Saturday, the offense caught up.

"It was closer today," Malzahn said. "There were some good things on defense and the offense looked better."

There were two long completions.

"The offense did make some plays in the passing games, but also the defense did a good job on some of the passing situations, too," Malzahn said. "It was good to see some big plays out of the offense, but at the same time there was also some big plays the defense did today."

While Johnson was sure to grab some headlines, Malzahn said part of the practice was to determine which younger players could contribute this season.

"This was a big evaluation day for some of the guys," he said.

"That was part of our plan going in. We talked about challenging some of those young guys, and some of the veteran guys have not gotten to where they wanted to get."

Junior college transfer running back Jovon Robinson fit that newcomer bill. He had more carries than any of the other running backs.

"We feel good about evaluation about our running backs after two weeks of fall camp," Malzahn said.

Roc Thomas and Peyton Barber top the running back race, running backs coach Tim Horton said Friday.


• Receiver Duke Williams scrimmaged. "He's in the process of every day getting better," Malzahn said. He left midway through the scrimmage after turning his ankle.

Running back Peyton Barber said Williams was good while he was on the field, performing "like the old Duke. Catches everything. Smart."

• The young defensive backs "got a lot of looks," Malzahn said.

"We're focusing on some young guys, and we're going to have rely on some young guys. There's nothing better than getting out there and performing in a scrimmage situation. That's how you can really evaluate," Malzahn said.

• Malzahn said it was good to practice while the new video board showed highlights from previous games.

"Our guys are getting used to it. It's big. It is a factor. We'll be over here again, take it the next step, with some field cameras, turn the music on, the sound system on. It's a good thing."

Advantage, Auburn, considering no visiting team has anything like it?

"We're getting used to it. I'll put it that way," Malzahn said.

• Malzahn confirmed the addition of Jamel Dean, a defensive back who signed with Ohio State in January. The Buckeyes said he was medically ineligible because of a bad knee, but Dr. James Andrews later cleared him to play. He'll sit out this season because of the NCAA transfer rule.

"He's a guy that we planned on him getting here, and he got here the first day of fall camp. He seems like a very pleasant young man. He's very talented. He's a good addition to our team," Malzahn said.

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:



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