Auburn freshmen will make big impact, says Gus Malzahn

Sep 5, 2013

TigerTalk

Gus Malzahn, left, answers a question with Tiger Talk host Rod Bramblett (Todd Van Emst photo)

By Charles Goldberg
AuburnTigers.com

AUBURN, Ala. -- Montravius Adams brought an energy to Auburn last week with a sack on his first-ever college play. Coach Gus Malzahn says other freshmen contributed in the opener, and more are lining up to play as well. 

"We're definitely proud of our freshmen," Malzahn said during Thursday night's Tiger Talk radio show. "What you'll see, more and more freshmen making a bigger impact as the season goes on. I think you'll see a few more even on the field this week." 

Twelve players -- including five true freshmen and three redshirt freshmen -- made their Auburn debut in the Tigers' 31-24 win over Washington State. 

Next up is Arkansas State at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in Jordan-Hare Stadium. 

Can more guys suddenly make plays? Hybrid safety Robenson Therezie did. He started over injured Justin Garrett, and intercepted two passes and was named the national defensive back of the week. 

"I told our team the other day that's a great example of when you get your opportunity, show what you can do," Malzahn said. "I think the big thing for our guys, especially the young guys, is to just believe in yourself. Picture yourself making plays. Therezie did that."

 

Malzahn will be relying on one of his newcomers -- junior college transfer Nick Marshall -- to continue to grow into the role as starting quarterback. Marshall was 10-of-19 passes for 99 yards in the opener. Malzahn said Marshall delivered. 

"I was worried about us turning the ball over. That's one thing he didn't do. I was proud of that," Malzahn said. 

Eventually, Malzahn said, Marshall found "his comfort zone." A question from the audience wanted more. 

"Are you going to open up the passing game some this weekend?" 

"I would sure like to. That's the plan," Malzahn said. "The more we feel more comfortable with our quarterback, I think the very first game we learned a lot about him. I didn't want to put him in a tough situation he wasn't prepared for. He did a solid job. We'll have more confidence with him, and will get more yards in the air." 

Other notes from Tiger Talk: 

•Malzahn said his players "had a solid week of practice. Preparation has been solid so far." 

•Of course, the talk turned to Arkansas State, where Malzahn coached last year. 

"I've really tried just to worry about us. The bottom line, we're facing a very good team that is used to winning," he said. 

•On Corey Grant and his 146 yards rushing. 

"He doesn't talk much. He just does his job. We'll definitely rely on the run game and bring our quarterback along." 

•On H-back Jay Prosch, who didn't touch the ball in the opener: "He has a lot versatility. He graded out pretty good. He's a guy that we'll find different ways to get the ball as the season gets going." 

•On quarterback-turned-safety Kiehl Frazier, who didn't play in Game 1: "Kiehl is still learning the position. It's just a matter of him getting more comfortable. I think it's just a short period of time where you'll see him on the play. He came close to playing a couple of plays." 

 •And the most re-tweeted moment from Tiger Talk? Gus Malzahn's explanation on eating a late post-game victory meal at Waffle House. 

"Sometimes, you just want to relax and get away and eat a good ham and cheese omelet."

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